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Lab and Team Project Development for Engineering Problem Solving using MATLAB, with Emphasis on Solar Power and Engineering for Sustainability

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Project-based and Cooperative Learning in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.841.1 - 23.841.14



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Paper Authors


Stanley W. Hsu University of California, Davis

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Stanley Hsu received a B.S. degree from University of California, Los Angeles in 2006 and an M.S. degree from University of California, Davis in 2011, both in Electrical Engineering. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering at UC Davis. His research is in the area of low power mixed-signal integrated circuits for energy harvesting sensor applications. He is also interested in high-speed wireline communication circuits, high-performance VLSI designs, and signal integrity.

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Rajeevan Amirtharajah University of California, Davis

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Rajeevan Amirtharajah received the S.B. and M.Eng. degrees in 1994,
and the Ph.D. degree in 1999, all in electrical engineering from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. From 1999 to
2002, at High Speed Solutions Corp. (later Intel), Hudson, MA, he
developed high performance memory buses. He is currently an associate
professor at the University of California, Davis, where his research
focuses on low power microarchitecture, circuit and interconnect
design, energy scavenging, and signal processing for wireless sensor
nodes. He received the National Science Foundation CAREER award in
2006. He is also a visiting scholar at the Berkeley Wireless Research
Center for the 2012-13 academic year.

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andre knoesen Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, U C Davis

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André Knoesen received his B.Ing. degree in electronics engineering from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in 1980 and the M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, in 1982 and 1987, respectively. He joined the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Davis, in 1987 where he is now a Professor. He performs research in biosensors, and materials for high-frequency electronic and optoelectronic applications. Dr. Knoesen is a fellow of the Optical Society of America.

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Lab and Team Project Development for Engineering Problem Solving using MATLAB, with Emphasis on Solar Power and Engineering for SustainabilityAs the cost to manufacture solar panels continues to decrease and their efficiency increases, solarenergy proves to be a viable alternative energy source that enables sustainable living. This hasimplications for all engineering disciplines since cost effective solar energy development is aninterdisciplinary effort. Thus basic understanding of the principles and operations of solar poweris imperative for engineering students of the next generation. To increase the awareness andfamiliarity of solar power among engineering students, we modify the curriculum of anintroductory MATLAB-based Engineering Problem Solving course (ENG6) to focus the themeof the course around engineering for sustainability. Specifically, weekly computer-basedlaboratory exercises, an individual term project, and a team-based final project are redesigned toteach topics in solar panel array design, wind power generation, rain water collection, reducinggreenhouse gas emissions, and other technologies to exploit renewable resources, in addition tofundamentals of technical computing using MATLAB. To supplement the programmingexercises, a solar characterization hardware module based on the Arduino platform is developed.The hardware module allows students to program a digital potentiometer and to measure theoutput of a solar cell. The module provides students with practical hands-on experience in simplehardware programming and control, in addition to performing simple measurements. This paperdescribes the development and implementation of the new course materials and the ArduinoSolar Module. Challenges, outcomes, and future directions are also discussed.

Hsu, S. W., & Amirtharajah, R., & knoesen, A. (2013, June), Lab and Team Project Development for Engineering Problem Solving using MATLAB, with Emphasis on Solar Power and Engineering for Sustainability Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19855

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