The last few weeks (check schedule) will be
devoted to a project of your own choosing. There are very few guidelines
for the project, it just need to be something that you can complete in just a
couple of weeks -- but it is never too early to think about what you may want to
do for the project. It can take the form of something you build, either
hardware or software.
I have made up a list of
potential projects, but please don't feel like you have to choose from the
list. You can do anything that is related to anything we covered in
the course. Let your imagination roam.
I encourage you to pick something that you feel will challenge you and
stretch your abilities, rather than working on something that merely reinforces
your strengths. In the next two years you will need to develop a wide
range of abilities, in a wide range of classes. This project is your last opportunity
to really take a chance to learn to do something that you may not do
particularly well, without having to worry about necessarily being successful.
You should pick a project that will take you about 8-12 hours to complete.
If you want to work in the shop, make sure you talk to Smitty before submitting
a project proposal. You may work with with whomever
you'd like to work with, but I would like no more than 3 people to a group.
A 1 paragraph proposal is due Tuesday 11/15
On Tuesday 12/6 (which runs on a Thursday schedule to make up for
Thanksgiving day) we meet for project
presentations (a 5 to 10 minute oral presentation). You will be required to put the write-up for your project on the web, with a
link from your web page. The write-up is due by 12/9.
E5 Projects (Work in groups or individually)
You should pick a project that will take you about 8-12 hours to complete over about 3 weeks.
- Be creative and choose a project of your own design. The only stipulation is that you must design and build something; it can be hardware and/or software.
- Add a more realistic mouth to your animatronic head (the Handyboard can control 2 servos) . So, for instance, you can differentiate between the "oo" sound (lips in a circle) and the "ay" sound (lips stretched).
- Make eyes that blink controlled by a servo.
- Make eyes that turn left and right, controlled by a servo.
- Design a face using SolidWorks (separate head and jaw), mill it, and have it speak using your Handyboard program .
- Design and build a mechanism that looks like a musical instrument (e.g., a trombone) playing music.
- Animate a mechanism using MatLab code.
- Build a model of a 3-D world and use MatLab to "fly" through it.
- Write a MatLab script to find the minimum error for a least-squares fit to a non-polynomial function.
- Write MatLab code to try find the minimum of an n-dimensional surface.
- Write MatLab code that demonstrates (via animation) a minimization algorithm on a 3-dimensional surface.
- Use SolidWorks to create an assembly to animate (Tutorial related to your project, also check out SolidWorks built-in tutorial).
- Use SolidWorks to study the stresses in a truss bridge or other structure (go to Tools->COSMOSXpress).
- Write a MatLab program to display and animate a simulation of the mechanism you built.
- Use an infrared link to communicate between multiple handyboards (I have some IR transceivers).
- Build a simple autonomous robot.
- Write a program to convert roman numerals to decimal (or the other way). You could use either C or MatLab.
E5 Research Paper - Design a web-based research report on any topic related to engineering that interests you. Some examples are given below, but feel free to choose your own.
- How does satellite radio work? What are relative strengths/weaknesses of Sirius vs XM?
- Why are car manufacturers considering a higher voltage for car batteries?
- What are the engineering challenges to fixing the Hubble telescope?
- Can the space shuttle be made safe?
- What were some of the difficulties encountered in the design of Kansai International Airport in Osaka.
- Why do cooling towers have the shape they do?
- Investigate different battery technologies
- Why do eggs have the shape they do?
- Investigate electric or hybrid vehicles
- How do cell phones work and how do the standards differ (CDMA, GSM...)
- Investigate new materials (carbon composites, aerogels, ...)
- Describe how integrated circuits are made.
- Write a brief history of the microprocessor.
- Write about the environmental impact of the three gorges dam in China
- What are some of the engineering difficulties encountered in the building of the three gorges dam in China.
- How does a graphic tablet work?
- Investigate solar energy.
- How is ultrasound used in medicine?
- How does voice recognition work?
- How do optical mice work?
- How can concrete be made to float?
- Are cell phones dangerous to your health? If so, should they still be used?
- Research the dangers that radio towers or windmill farms pose to migrating birds
- Personal communication systems
- How do optical fibers work, and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
- What were some of the engineering difficulties in the building of the Petronas Towers (the tallest building(s) in the world).
- Nuclear energy, boon or boondoggle? Present both sides of the issue.
- How do fuel cells work?
- What is molecular electronics, and what is it good for?
- Research the history of micro-electromechanical systems.
- Wireless communications
- Investigate the use of advanced materials in a sport, and how that has changed the sport (broken records, changed rules...)
- Describe the operation of analog computers.
- How do the gene sequencers that were used to determine the human genetic sequence work?
- Why don't computer graphics images look totally natural?
- Why didn't the Concorde have better-protected fuel tanks?
- Why do some Firestone Wilderness AT tires disintegrate?
- How does a DC electric motor work (you must have some E&M to do this)?
- Can robots learn? How?
- What are the technological and ethical issues associated with robots that can build robots?
- How does a modern power distribution system work?
- Why is the tiltrotor Osprey aircraft so accident-prone?
- How do engineers patent their ideas? What are differences between copyright and patents?
- What are some of the recent developments in the silicon chip manufacturing industry that have permitted the continued increase in clock speed?
- Why do Ford Explorer SUVs so frequently roll over when a tire blows out?
- Why couldn't the crew of the submarine Kursk be saved?
- Lasers - how they work, what are they used for, what are the different types, etc.
- Why did the titanium-skinned Bilbao Guggenhiem Museum getting so dirty?
- Practical consideration in residential and commercial wiring.
- Why isn't Solar Energy more widely used in the US?
- Why won't your home heating system work during an electric power outage?
- How are floating point (real) numbers represented in a computer?
- Why did the Wolrd Trade Center towers fall?
- What new innovations are there in the building to be constructed at the World Trade Center site?