I find the most difficult part of what I do creating the solutions to the challenges and problems I’m designing for. The point of a PhD is to do something that no one else has done before, something unique. Sometimes that’s creating something brand new and others it’s using existing things in a totally new way. Working with prosthetic limbs is on the edge of medicine and engineering, so something that might be a great engineering solution, might be a terrible medical solution or the other way around. Balancing the two areas can be very difficult sometimes.
I think the hardest thing in engineering is knowing when to stop! With many jobs, you have clear criteria regarding what you need to do and how to do it. With engineering, you can keep researching, finding new ways of doing something, then you want to make that solution perfect, but then how do you define perfect? Sometimes I feel like I can spend many more hours on a job and make it even better, but deciding when to say ok now is enough, I think is very hard in engineering, at least for me.