June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Electrical and Computer
Electrical Engineering students usually have to wait a long time before acquiring the mathematics and physics prerequisites required to take their first technical courses and even when taking courses such as circuits, electromagnetics and digital logic, they are not given an opportunity to develop a system-level understanding and the interrelation of the topics that they study in their courses. In fact in many electrical engineering programs, students have to wait until their senior year before they can work on real-life projects which require system-level understanding and interrelation of multiple different fields such as analog circuits, digital systems, signal processing, etc. This long wait time causes some students to lose their interest in electrical engineering and decide to switch majors. To address this retention problem, we have come up with the idea of designing a 4-unit project-based class for sophomore students. In this class, students are introduced to different topics that will be covered in detail in their upcoming junior and senior years. At the same time, they design a complete system as the course project that involves applying this introductory knowledge of different branches of electrical engineering into an actual engineering project.
The course project is a music following robot implemented using Texas Instruments Robotic System Learning Kit (TI RSLK) which locates the direction of a music being played in a room and moves toward it until it reaches to the speakers playing the music. The important feature of this project is that it includes various components which cover a broad range of topics in electrical engineering curriculum and their interrelation. For example, students work with two right and left microphones as their sensors to detect sound signals, they work with analog op-amp amplifiers to amplify the sound signals, they send the amplified signals to the TI MSP432 microcontroller to convert them to digital signals and finally they process this feedback signal in digital domain to control the direction of movement of the RSLK robot. On the microcontroller programming side, students work with Code Composer Studio to write their codes and to assist them with the coding, templates are provided to them which they are required to complete using their own algorithm. Some of the microcontrollers topics that students are exposed to include working with general-purpose input/outputs (GPIOs), analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), timers, periodic interrupts and Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM).
Nguyen, S., & Knoesen, A., & Rashtian, H. (2019, June), A New Curriculum to Teach System-Level Understanding to Sophomore Electrical Engineering Students using a Music-Following Robot Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/31979
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