Asee peer logo

Hands-On Design Projects in a Sophomore Mechanical Engineering Course

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching Methods and Learning Models

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.766.1 - 22.766.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Yasser M. Al Hamidi Texas A&M University, Qatar

visit author page

Yasser Al-Hamidi is currently working as a Technical Laboratory Coordinator in the Mechanical Engineering Program at Texas A&M University, Qatar. He is specialized in instrumentation, control and automation. He worked as a Lab Engineer in the College of Engineering, University of Sharjah before joining TAMUQ. His other experiences include Laboratory Supervisor/Network Administrator at Ajman University of Science and Technology (Al Ain Campus), Maintenance Engineer at AGRINCO and Electrical Engineer at Ministry of Culture (National Theater Project, Damascus).
Yasser's professional interests include precision mechatronics, real-time control systems design, networked control systems.

visit author page


Reza Tafreshi Texas A&M University, Qatar

visit author page

Reza Tafreshi received the B.Sc. and M.Sc.
degrees from K.N. Toosi University of Technology,
Tehran, Iran, in 1991 and 1995, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, BC, Canada, in 2005.
From 1995 to 1999, he was with PoloDej Company, Iran. From 1999 to 2000, he was a Research Engineer at the Department of ECE, UBC. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, in 2006. In 2007, he joined Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar, where he is currently an Assistant Professor. His research interests include biomedical engineering, condition
monitoring, and machine fault diagnosis.

visit author page

author page

Mahmoud Hammad El Zamli Texas A&M University, Qatar

Download Paper |


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

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: © 2011 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