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An Arduino-Based Hardware Platform for a Mechanical Engineering Sophomore Design Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Mark David Bedillion Carnegie Mellon University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Bedillion received the BS degree in 1998, the MS degree in 2001, and the PhD degree in 2005, all from the mechanical engineering department of Carnegie Mellon University. After a seven year career in the hard disk drive industry, Dr. Bedillion was on the faculty of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for over 5 years before joining Carnegie Mellon as a Teaching Faculty in 2016. Dr. Bedillion's research interests include control applications in robotics and STEM education.

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Karim Heinz Muci-Kuchler South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Karim Muci-Küchler is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Experimental and Computational Mechanics Laboratory at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T). Before joining SDSM&T, he was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University in 1992. His main interest areas include Computational Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Biomechanics, Product Design and Development, and STEM Education. He has taught a variety courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, is author or co-author of over 70 publications, is co-author of one book, and has done consulting for industry in Mexico and the US. He can be reached at

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Walelign Messele Nikshi South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Mr. Nikshi is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Mechanical Engineering at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He received his B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Arba Minch University (Ethiopia), and M.Sc. in Mechanical Automation and Mechatronics from University of Twente (The Netherlands). He has 2+ years experience in high tech industries where he worked as a design engineer. His research interests include control of mobile robots, control of Mechanical systems, and Mechatronics.

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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. 10.18260/1-2--29774

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