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Instrumentation and Controls Instruction for Agricultural and Biological Engineering Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Instrumentation Division Technical Session 3

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George E. Meyer University of Nebraska - Lincoln

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GEORGE MEYER, Professor, has taught graduate and undergraduate classes that involve plant and animal growth and environmental factors, modeling, and instrumentation and controls for both agricultural and biological systems engineering students for 38 years. He specializes in electronic instrumentation, sensors, controls, thermal and spectral image analysis for plant growth response, water use and stress; crop, weeds, machine vision identification and enumeration of plant species for field and greenhouse production. Winter-time greenhouse strawberry and herb production are recent funded research activities.

YUFENG GE, Assistant Professor of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska. Dr. Ge obtained his PhD in Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University. He started as a teaching assistant for the sensor and instrumentation class there in 2005, and gradually increased his teaching responsibility for the class to become a co-instructor (since 2010) and instructor (2013). He was the faculty advisor for the student robotics teams who competed for the ASABE robotics competitions in 2012 and 2013.

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Yufeng Ge University of Nebraska - Lincoln

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Modern agricultural and biological systems use electronic sensors, instrumentation, and computers for acquisition of scientific data and process control. Instrumentation is used for commercial product development, testing, and for basic research. An instrumentation and controls course for agricultural and biological engineering pre-professionals addresses sensors, measurement principles, software, and limitations of such systems with hands-on laboratory activities will be discussed. This is a core course for two ABET accredited biological and agricultural engineering degree programs. Students participate and interact in small teams for a course with enrollments of 60 students or more. The course assumes the student to be a junior, senior, or first year graduate student who has completed an introductory electronics course and most core and elective courses. Weekly laboratory activities include bread boarding of basic instrumentation circuits followed by specialty exercises on sensor response times and controls. Two signature laboratories include open channel and pipe flow water flow measurements and an internal combustion engine test exercise. Student teams also develop semester projects which are presented as posters and papers at an annual department open house. Student projects investigate electrocardiograms, temperature and humidity control, human exercise measurements, force, power, and energy consumption, detection and controls using optical sensors, and water quality, using commercially available devices. A summary of student projects and outcomes for the past ten years will be discussed. Student activities are assisted with oscilloscopes, precision power supplies, moderate LabVIEW programming, and multifunction devices. Instructional aides are presented in detailed handouts, materials written by the instructors, and other readily available sources.

Meyer, G. E., & Ge, Y. (2016, June), Instrumentation and Controls Instruction for Agricultural and Biological Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25752

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