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Interactive Sensor Package Unit A Multidisciplinary Design Project

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Projects

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.784.1 - 13.784.10



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Paper Authors


Yanfei Liu Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne (Eng)

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Dr. Yanfei Liu received the B.S.E.E. Degree from Shandong Institute of Architecture and Engineering in July 1996. She then received the M.S.E.E. Degree from the Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences in July 1999, and Ph.D. Degree from Clemson University in August 2004. She has been a member of the IPFW Department of Engineering since August 2005. Dr. Liu’s research interests include robotics, dynamic manipulation, computer vision and image processing.

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Jiaxin Zhao Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne

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Dr. Jiaxin Zhao is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. He received his BS from the University of Science and Technology of China, his MS from the University of Missouri-Rolla, and his PhD from Purdue University-West Lafayette. His research and teaching interests are tribology, machine design, solid mechanics and numerical methods including finite elements and parallel computing.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Interactive Sensor Package Unit – a Multidisciplinary Design Project


This paper introduces a multidisciplinary capstone senior design project, which involves the design, build and test stages1. It is a two-semester project that was conducted by six senior students in the Department of Engineering at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne. The objective of this project is to design and build an interactive sensor package unit that can engage dogs into playing. The whole system design is composed of the shell, mobility mechanism, power source, control unit, sensor system, stimulator system and software. This paper also describes several different assessment approaches used throughout the project. The faculty members from the Department of Engineering and the local sponsors conduct the assessment. These assessments are based on either written reports or oral presentations.


There is a void area in the toy market for pets. No interactive devices that can autonomously engage pets in outdoor play exist. In order to fulfill the requirement of outdoor operation, the toy should also be waterproof for situations such as rain or falling into a pond. It also needs to be able to move over grass and slopes with a certain amount of incline. To fill this gap, a multidisciplinary senior design team in the Department of Engineering at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) designed and built an autonomous system that can be used as a development platform for devices that will engage dogs into playing. This is a two- semester multidisciplinary project1 that was carried out by three electrical engineering students and three mechanical engineering students. In the fall of 2006, the students started with the formulation of the problem and then the generation of conceptual designs. After evaluating the conceptual designs, they completed a detailed design of the best conceptual design. In the spring of 2007, the students built the system and conducted the experimental testing.

There were a total of five conceptual designs generated2. The team evaluated these five conceptual designs based on the following criteria: ease of implementation, final manufacturing cost, mobility, reliability, ease of manufacture, dog appeal, etc. The two top-rated conceptual designs are illustrated in Figure 1. The conceptual design shown in (a) utilizes the principle of equilibrium to provide the unit’s motion. The theory is that if a mass of substantial weight (the battery) is displaced from the center of the unit, the unit will move to regain equilibrium. The conceptual design shown in (b) utilizes motor driven gears that will rotate the shell of the elliptical unit. The equilibrium seeking conceptual design has the advantage over the dual geared motor design in the sense that it allows for rotation on all axes while the dual geared motor design doesn’t. When the evaluation was performed, the equilibrium seeking unit ranked the highest in the critical criteria of ease of implementation, final manufacturing cost, and reliability.

Liu, Y., & Zhao, J. (2008, June), Interactive Sensor Package Unit A Multidisciplinary Design Project Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4352

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