June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.468.1 - 26.468.19
Design of an Autonomous Pace Car for Athletic Training: a Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research ExperienceOver the past three decades, major advances have been made relevant to automation, andtechnological expectations have increased in order to correct human error. Some of the mostgroundbreaking advances in automation can be found at the junction of mechanical engineering,electrical engineering, and computer science. These three disciplines, when applied together, areknown as mechatronics. For example, two important applications of mechatronics automationare the growing interest in autonomous cars and the development of health care devices. Inthe field of athletic training, however, there have been limited improvements, and theopportunities remain vast. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: first, to present an example ofmechatronics applied to athletic training, and, secondly, to share a unique undergraduatemultidisciplinary engineering research experience.The research team was multidisciplinary in nature since it was composed of an undergraduatestudent, midway through a mechanical engineering program in a small liberal arts college, and aprofessor in electrical engineering. The research project itself was multidisciplinary as well sinceit combined mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science into the designof a pace car intended to assist a runner during his athletic training. In terms of technical goals,the car needed to follow any type of line on indoor and outdoor tracks and perform differentworkouts, such as steady-state runs or interval training. To situate the line on the track, theresearch team used infrared reflective phototransistors to design sensing and control algorithms.An Arduino microcontroller was used to interact with the sensors, manage the electronics, andencode a PID controller.This research experience was a unique opportunity for the student during the summer before hisjunior year. In a small liberal arts college setting, the student had fewer resources available thanhe would have at a larger research university, but benefited from a very close interaction with hisadvisor. Furthermore, using the Informed Design Teaching and Learning Matrix as aframework, an evaluation was performed before and after the experience to monitor theevolution of the student as a researcher. The student, who was used to traditional course-basedlearning, manifested remarkable ability to progress and learn in a research-based environment.After the conclusion of the research experience, the student showed growing interest incontinuing to perform mechatronics research at the graduate level.References M. Horauer, Dr. B. Chen, and P. Zingaretti, “Mechatronic and Embedded Systems Pave the Way for Autonomous Driving,” http://sites.ieee.org/itss/2013/08/22/y13n1/, 2013, (accessed May 2014). A.-M. Amancea, I. Doroftei, A. Barnea, F. Adăscăliţei, “Design and Implementation of a Mechatronic System for Lower Limb Medical Rehabilitation,” International Journal of Modern Manufacturing Technologies, vol. 4, no. 2, Dec. 2012. E. Graether, and F. Mueller, “Joggobot, A Flying Robot as Jogging Companion,” in Proceedings of the CHI ’12 : CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Austin, TX, May 2012. Y. Li, G. C. Y. Chong, and K. H. Ang, “PID Control System Analysis and Design,” IEEE Transactions on Control System Technology, vol. 13, no. 4, Jul. 2005. D. P. Crismond, and R. S. Adams, “The Informed Design Teaching and Learning Matrix,” Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 101, no. 4, Oct. 2012.
Fevre, M., & Estrada, T. (2015, June), Design of an Autonomous Pace Car for Athletic Training: A Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Experience Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23806
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015