June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
22.766.1 - 22.766.14
HANDS-ON DESIGN PROJECTS IN A SOPHOMORE MECHANICAL ENGINEERING COURSE: Abstract This paper presents four projects initiated and implemented by sophomore students intheir Mechanical Measurements course (MEEN 260) at Texas A&M University at Qatar. Theprojects aimed to help students understand how different course topics are interrelated and givethem the opportunity to apply course concepts in practical settings. Students utilized engineeringsoftware packages such as LabVIEW and SolidWorks in an advanced and sophisticated mannerin diverse specializations and sectors where mechanical engineering is an important factor in itssuccess and implementation. The students in groups of three were given the choice to choose among several projectsprovided by the instructor or propose their own, considering the different types of sensorsavailable in the measurements laboratory. All groups preferred to go for their own ideas whichwere partially inspired by project ideas provided to them by the instructor. By submitting twointerim technical memos, students were given the opportunity to receive feedback on thetechnical content and writing quality of their work before submitting the final report. After intensive consultation with course instructor and lab coordinator, the following fourprojects were approved by the course instructor: truss bridge structural analysis which lies in thefield of constructional engineering, car safety system to monitor driver’s heart rate which isconsidered to be an Industrial Engineering, virtual length measuring device, a computerengineering related project, and car parking system, a service oriented project. Although each ofthe projects was unique, all groups needed to complete approximately the same tasks such asinvestigating different options of sensor and data acquisition system characteristics, budgetestimation, collecting data and measuring uncertainty, and implementing statistical analysis onthe acquired data. The fore mentioned projects were successfully implemented by the students whopresented their work at the end of the semester in a PowerPoint presentation. By takingadvantage of ready-made LabVIEW hundreds of functions, students were able to focus ondeveloping algorithms and building prototypes efficiently. Using Sensor Mapping LabVIEW VIin visualizing bridge stresses was a good example of such ready-made functions. Similarly,NI wireless sensor network devices used in the car parking project were fully compatible withLabVIEW and provided an easy drag-and-drop programming interface to extract high qualitymeasurement data. Wireless devices from NI provided an opportunity to reduce installation andsystem costs, increase flexibility, simplify system deployments, and address a new set ofapplications that were previously challenging with a wired approach. LabVIEW flexible platformalso allowed students in the car safety project to integrate hardware from NI with othercommercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware from Vernier. By using the handy grip heart ratesensor from Vernier, students easily built a LabVIEW code that monitors driver’s heart rate andtriggers SMS message to the operator on abnormal heart rate. The software’s graphical drag-and-drop paradigm helped students learn key programming concepts and develop analytical skillswhile gaining experience with technology used in the professional world.
Al Hamidi, Y. M., & Tafreshi, R., & El Zamli, M. H. (2011, June), Hands-On Design Projects in a Sophomore Mechanical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18047
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