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Innovative Laboratory Projects for a Measurements and Instrumentation Course

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Instrumentation Division Technical Session 3

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Paper Authors


David R. Loker Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

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David R. Loker received the M.S.E.E. degree from Syracuse University in 1986. In 1984, he joined General Electric (GE) Company, AESD, as a design engineer. In 1988, he joined the faculty at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. In 2007, he became the Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Program. His research interests include wireless sensor networks, data acquisition systems, and communications systems.

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Stephen A. Strom Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

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Stephen Strom is a lecturer in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology department of Penn State Behrend, and holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. His career includes over thirty years experience in designing and programming embedded systems and has multiple patents for both hardware designs and software algorithms

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A typical Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology program includes a 3-credit upper-division Measurements & Instrumentation course with an embedded laboratory component. There are three main sections for the course: LabVIEW programming with data acquisition, sensors and signal conditioning, and design of measurement and control systems. Laboratory activities mirror the lecture materials and are designed to reinforce the students understanding of LabVIEW and its data analysis capabilities. Laboratory projects, each consisting of one to two weeks in length, are completed by a team of students, and each team contains no more than two students. Labs covered in this course include the design of a calculator, modeling temperature sensors, and design of signal conditioning circuits. Various measurement systems are also designed, including temperature measurement systems, weighing system using strain gages, distance measurement system using an ultrasonic ranging module, and machine vision system using a USB webcam. Additionally, students design a conveyor control system using a mock-up of a three-station conveyor, and an instrumentation control system for automatically determining the frequency response of a lowpass filter using a digital storage oscilloscope with a built-in waveform generator. Several labs require the design of state machines.

The intent for this paper is to provide a detailed summary of several of the above innovative laboratory projects for the course to illustrate measurement and control applications with LabVIEW as the software development environment. For each of the laboratory projects, this paper provides a summary of the contents of student reference materials, lab handouts, and engineering requirements. Project assessment results are provided, and recommendations are included to help ensure student success on each of the projects.

Loker, D. R., & Strom, S. A. (2019, June), Innovative Laboratory Projects for a Measurements and Instrumentation Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32967

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