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Internet Based Design: E Design And E Decision Making

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.646.1 - 6.646.14

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Paper Authors

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Jack Jennings

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Vincent Wilczynski

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

Session Number 2793

Internet Based Design: e-Design and e-Decision Making Vincent Wilczynski, John J. Jennings U.S. Coast Guard Academy


It is inevitable that product design, and the associated engineering analysis to support such design, will be primarily accomplished by multidisciplinary teams, with members that need not be located in the same geographic location. Though some corporations are practicing distributed design, most notably the multi-national automobile manufacturers, a documented procedure for conducting this form of distributed design and product development has yet to be created, tested, and distributed.

This paper documents an innovative method for integrated internet-based distributed product design. A team of Mechanical Engineering seniors, Management majors and high school students from across the U.S. teamed to design and construct a series of three electromechanical devices, using the internet as the primary design communication platform. Effective internet communications using off-the-shelf software have been used to guide the idea generation, concept prototyping and detailed engineering design necessary to manufacture autonomous and remotely controlled robotic devices. The paper details the distributed design (e-design) methodology, examines three case studies which apply the e-design process, and illustrates how distributed decision making methods can be applied to entrepreneurial teams with members located in different locations.


The focus of this project was to create a distributed team of high school and college students to solve a design challenge. By communicating over the Internet, this distributed e-team researched, evaluated and applied technologies for remote learning, design and manufacturing. The objective for the college students was to apply their undergraduate education to solve a modern problem, namely working in teams with members in remote locations. The objectives for the high school students were to develop a new set of communication skills, introduce leadership and responsibility in a team scholastic activity, and increase their motivation and ability to pursue higher education.

The project was started in the summer of 2000 when a group of high school youth from across the country was brought to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy for a week long program to introduce minorities to engineering. From this group, a subset of 8 high school students were recruited to participate in the initial stage of the Distributed Design and Decision Making project. Guided by a group of senior cadets majoring in Management, the initial team developed the infrastructure to support distributed teams, established communications protocols using low cost, off-the-shelf technology, and successfully β-tested the distributed team concept in three robot building activities. In December of 2000, the Management Majors provided the Engineering Majors with

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Jennings, J., & Wilczynski, V. (2001, June), Internet Based Design: E Design And E Decision Making Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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