Faculty of Engineering

About OPAD

OPAD is a Faculty of Engineering led initiative that brings together students and staff from across the university to work on designing and manufacturing assistive devices. Our students work in multidisciplinary teams and are mentored by PhD students or staff. Since OPAD was started in 2016, it has grown to become a cross-university initiative, with staff and students from a range of backgrounds, including all engineering departments, Medicine and Health Sciences, Computer Science, Science and Humanities.

Assistive devices are tools that help people perform daily tasks that they struggle with due to illness, accidents or disabilities. OPAD works with community and health care partners, such as Able Orchestra, Lark Hill Retirement Village and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, to give our student groups the opportunity to meet with health care professionals and potential users of their devices. This allows them to adopt a user centric design approach and develop bespoke devices to make a real difference.

To further enhance the learning of students and staff involved in OPAD, we offer training around safeguarding awareness, ethics and working with participants, as well as guest lectures about related topics. We also have robust ethical and regulatory compliance procedures in place, which have been created in collaboration with the University’s legal team and CHEATA (NUH’s Centre for Healthcare Equipment & Technology Adoption service), to ensure we provide safe and effective solutions to users.

OPAD is also a Student Union affiliated society, and the student committee works in collaboration with the OPAD Management Committee to grow the initiative and improve what we offer. This year, the committee has held weekly virtual social activities to create a sense of community and support students during this difficult time. Some of the brilliant activities they organised included a virtual pumpkin carving event, quizzes, games and a virtual Christmas decoration making event. We are immensely proud of the work and dedication the student committee has put in this year to bring the OPAD community together during this difficult time.

OPAD Showcase 2021/22

Every year, OPAD celebrates and showcases the work of our student groups. We are very excited that we can share their brilliant work with the wider university community and showcase their projects.

Explore some of our student projects

Ear defenders for Premature Babies

Joystick adaptors for Able Orchestra

We are currently working with staff and our community partners to get more projects for the upcoming academic year.

If you are a staff member or doing a PHD, we would love to have you be part of the OPAD team to support. You can do this is the following ways.

  • Join a group to work with students to address challenging problems.
  • Mentor a group to support their progress.
  • Share your knowledge and expertise by giving guest lectures.
  • Become an OPAD Expert by providing advice and guidance in your area of expertise to groups when needed.
  • Become an OPAD Ambassador to help publicise OPAD by word of mouth to gain contacts for potential projects.
  • Offering group and individual projects on related OPAD subjects.
  • Be formally involved with helping to set-up projects, relations with other disciplines and industrial partners, running workshops, etc.

If you want to sign up please fill out this form.

If you need further information please direct your emails to ez-opad@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk



Faculty of Engineering

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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