Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Many institutions offer a freshman or sophomore level design class in mechanical engineering that focuses on the product development process. While nearly all modern products contain sensors, actuators, and control algorithms, the projects featured in these early design courses typically focus on simple mechanical parts. A substantial limiting factor is the students’ lack of exposure to fundamental electronics principles, which makes integrating basic sensors and actuators difficult. This paper describes an approach to integrating mechatronics systems in the sophomore mechanical engineering design experience. A hardware stack consisting of an Arduino, various shields for sensing and actuation, and a set of plug-and-play sensors and actuators were selected by the authors to minimize students’ struggles with implementation. The students were provided with several laboratory activities to familiarize themselves with the hardware, sample code that can be used to drive actuators and read sensor inputs, and a user manual created specifically for the hardware used in the class. Students benefit by being able to tackle more interesting problems for their design projects; instructors benefit by having well-defined subsystems that can be used to spur students’ thinking about design for complex systems. After describing the hardware stack and the design decisions that lead to its selection, the paper provides results in terms of students’ self-efficacy and attitudes towards the use of the hardware platform. The results show that the students have been positive about this new approach to teaching sophomore design, while offering suggestions for improving the experience in the future.
Bedillion, M. D., & Muci-Kuchler, K. H., & Nikshi, W. M. (2018, June), An Arduino-Based Hardware Platform for a Mechanical Engineering Sophomore Design Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29774
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