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A Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Project Implementing A Robotic Arm For The Artificial Insemination Of Endangered Amphibian Species

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Course Innovation

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.67.1 - 14.67.11



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Paper Authors


Claudio Talarico Eastern Washington University

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Claudio Talarico is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Eastern Washington University. Before joining Eastern Washington University, he worked at University of Arizona, University of Hawaii and in industry, where he held both engineering and management positions at Infineon Technologies, IKOS Systems (now Mentor Graphics), and Marconi Communications.
His research interests include design methodologies for integrated circuits and systems with emphasis on system-level design, embedded systems, HW/SW co-design, system specification languages, and early design assessment, analysis, and refinement of complex SOCs. Talarico received a PhD in electrical engineering form the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and is a member of IEEE. Contact him at

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Esteban Rodriguez-Marek Eastern Washington University

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ESTEBAN RODRIGUEZ-MAREK is an Associate Professor in the department of Engineering and Design at Eastern Washington University. He did his graduate work in Electrical Engineering at Washington State University. He worked as a research scientist at Fast Search & Transfer before transferring to the Department of Engineering & Design at Eastern Washington University. His interest include image and video processing, communication systems, digital signal processing, and cryptographic theory and applications.

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Min-Sung Koh Eastern Washington University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Project Implementing a Robotic Arm for the Artificial Insemination of Endangered Amphibian Species


This paper presents a pilot undergraduate project started in fall 2007 and completed in spring 2008 at Eastern Washington University. The goal of the project was to expose undergraduate electrical engineering students as early in the curriculum as possible to the challenges presented by real projects. The project had to be relatively long term, multidisciplinary, and it had to require both technical depth and breadth, problem solving skills, ethical responsibilities, communication skills, effective teamwork and planning skills. The basic idea was to engage students in an activity that would emulate as closely as possible the industrial environment they will be facing soon after graduation providing students with the opportunity to gain the skills and tools needed in the day-to-day practice of engineering. Toward this end, in collaboration with the biology department, a group of undergraduate electrical engineering students were challenged with the task of building a robotic arm for the artificial insemination of endangered amphibian species. The rationale was to maximize the fertilization success rate by using an artificial insemination process resembling the natural process as closely as possible. From the very beginning students were encouraged to work on the project independently and with as little supervision as possible. They were also asked to be in charge of all phases that characterize the design and development of a typical engineering system including system specification, project planning and management, feasibility analysis, system simulation and performance assessment, prototyping, verification and validation of the system functionality and its constraints requirements, system implementation and finally the documentation of the end product.

The paper is organized as follows. Section I provides a brief introduction, followed by the history of the project in Section II. Section III describes the various steps in the development of the project. Section IV outlines the technical and pedagogical contribution of the project. Finally, Section V concludes with a summary of the achievements and lessons learned during this process.

1. Introduction

The objective of the project presented in this paper was to engage undergraduate students into a learning activity spanning over several quarters and courses’ knowledge. The underlying aim was to expose students to an experience that would resemble as closely as possible what they will likely face once they graduate. To this end we resolved the project should challenge students on the following areas: 1) teamwork and planning skills, 2) written and oral communication skills, 3) technical depth and breadth, 4) problem solving skills, and 5) multi-disciplinarity. However, when we tried to come out with a list a potential projects that would encompass all

Talarico, C., & Rodriguez-Marek, E., & Koh, M. (2009, June), A Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Project Implementing A Robotic Arm For The Artificial Insemination Of Endangered Amphibian Species Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4632

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