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A Multidisciplinary Mid-Level Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Course

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Endeavors: Mechatronics, Robotics, and Technology

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Christopher Lee Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering Orcid 16x16

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Chris Lee is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Olin College of Engineering.

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Siddhartan Govindasamy Boston College Orcid 16x16

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Siddhartan Govindasamy is Professor of Engineering at Boston College

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Diana S. Dabby Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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Paul Ruvolo Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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Linear system theory and feedback control are commonly included in the curricula of both Mechanical and Electrical and Computer Engineering programs. Both majors typically offer these subjects in similar, yet separate courses. In contrast, we have created an integrated, multidisciplinary course that effectively covers these topics for students in both majors. The learning objectives, structure, and example content, including a culminating, contextual project, are presented here. This class successfully integrates two subject-matter, specific-content courses, Signals and Systems (ECE) and Dynamics (ME), into a single course that focuses on the development and application of general mathematical modeling and analysis tools to support the engineering design process. It is taught in a studio-setting and serves as a prerequisite for advanced courses in either major. The material is motivated by the classic problem of controlling an inverted pendulum on a translating cart. We have developed an easy-to-implement but robust, affordable system based on a commercial Arduino-like platform which allows students to experiment and quickly iterate on proposed control algorithms. Our implementation of the project requires students to perform cycles of symbolic and numerical mathematical analysis followed by experimentation and iteration. Student evaluation data provides evidence of the efficacy and advantages of concept integration which helps build a shared language applicable to future academic projects and professional practice.

Lee, C., & Govindasamy, S., & Dabby, D. S., & Ruvolo, P. (2021, July), A Multidisciplinary Mid-Level Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36596

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