June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Electrical and Computer
24.757.1 - 24.757.11
Innovative Engineering Outreach: Capacitive Touch Sensor WorkshopAbstract:The United States is rapidly falling behind internationally in STEM recruiting. Currently,only 16 percent of American high school seniors are interested in a career in STEM. TheModel Institutions for Excellence (MIE) chosen by the NSF have proven the efficacy ofsummer science camps for recruiting high school students into STEM fields.One such camp was hosted at our University during the summer of 2013. Amongst themany projects available for the students to complete was the Capacitive Touch SensorWorkshop. During this project, students constructed a functional touch keypad using onlyan Arduino and household supplies, such as cardboard, aluminum foil, and tape. At theconclusion of the project, students were able to take their completed keypads home alongwith a flash drive that included all of the software and information they would need toimprove or modify their device. This not only allowed students to create an exciting,useful, and functional tool from scratch, but also provided a mechanism for exploringnew ways to program the device and learn more about important ECE topics such ascapacitance and electricity.The School of ECE at our University has been actively engaged in creating a diverse setof innovative hands-on ECE activities for summer camps and outreach events over thelast five years. As a result of this recruiting strategy, ECE undergraduate enrollment atour university increased from 246 students in Fall 2008 to 428 students in Fall 2013. Thisdramatic increase shows evidence that the Capacitive Touch Sensor Workshop and otherslike it have been effective in motivating students to consider a major in ECE (a necessaryfirst step in improving STEM recruitment). This paper will provide the necessary detailsfor this hands-on activity to be replicated so that others can use it to motivate students tochoose ECE as their field of study.
Pirtle, B. L., & Davis, C. E., & Ruyle, J. E. (2014, June), Innovative Engineering Outreach: Capacitive Touch Sensor Workshop Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20649
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