Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 24, 2001
June 24, 2001
June 27, 2001
6.241.1 - 6.241.4
BME Undergraduate Design Projects using Various Engineering Majors Roger V. Gonzalez LeTourneau University
For the past four years, undergraduate students in Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering at LeTourneau University have collaborated via year-long senior design sequences to design, develop, and build an ambitious biomechanical model of an Intelligent Prosthetic Arm as a stepping stone for the next generation of prosthetic limbs. While each of these engineering disciplines has their own senior design sequence with separate courses and instructors, one faculty member directs the combined undergraduate team. This unique interdisciplinary undergraduate experience provides a significant opportunity for students to understand how each of their own skills can be enhanced by the skills of other engineering disciplines. The students also gain significant appreciation for how complex projects require the expertise of several disciplines for successful outcomes. The multi-year nature of this project, plus that each interdisciplinary team works collectively for the entire academic year, compels each student to focus on three essential elements: (1) have a clear understanding of the previous year(s) research successes and failures, (2) develop a clearly defined goal for the year, for the entire team and the individual sub-engineering groups, and (3) develop a detailed documentation strategy, i.e., a research notebook, that future teams can easily understand. We have found our teams to be extremely successful in research, while at the same time developing a tremendous awareness of the advantages of working together via an interdisciplinary effort.
Undergraduate research many times takes a back seat to Industrial or Competition based projects in Senior Design or Capstone Design courses. At LeTourneau University, with its strictly undergraduate engineering student population, our two-semester senior design sequence is one of the few courses in which a faculty member has the opportunity to enlist a number of seniors to participate in funded or un-funded research. Over the last 5 years, over 30 mechanical and electrical engineering students have participated in multi-disciplinary biomedical engineering research projects. These projects have been characteristically in the areas of biomechanics & bio- controls yet incorporate a significant mechanical and electrical engineering design. During the yearlong process, students are enrolled in their respective discipline’s senior design course but report to a Project-Technical Advisor during the year. Students taking part in these research projects are required to participate at the Regional ASME meeting both in the poster and oral competition. Since the inception of the teams participating at the regional conference, the teams have performed exceptionally well by either winning first or second place in each category of the competition. These types of senior design projects not only provide engineering synthesis to our students but also the opportunity to do novel research and gain experience in team management and professional oral and written communications.
Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society of Engineering Education
Gonzalez, R. (2001, June), Bme Undergraduate Design Projects Using Various Engineering Majors Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. https://peer.asee.org/8960
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