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Tabletop Robotics For Engineering Design

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Innovation in Design Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1051.1 - 8.1051.9



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Paper Authors

author page

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 2325

Table-Top Robotics for Engineering Design

Vincent Wilczynski, Gregg Dixon, Eric Ford United States Coast Guard Academy


The Mechanical Engineering Section at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy has developed a comprehensive activity based course to introduce second year students to mechanical engineering design. The culminating design activity for the course requires students to design, construct and test robotic devices to solve an engineering challenge. Teams of students are provided with a standard kit of parts consisting of metal hardware and fasteners, motors, connecting wires and a programmable remote control system. The teams use these materials to design and construct robotic devices that accomplish a simulated maritime mission. The kit of parts is reusable each year and requires little machine-shop work to create machines, thereby making this project ideal for repeated use. The experience is modeled on the capstone design activity and contains many attributes of the final design experience. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy has been the only program using this commercially available kit of parts and has worked with the vendors to improve the system as a tool for engineering design education.


Providing engineering undergraduates with a sound introduction to the fundamental tools for success in their major continues to be a challenge for educators. Engineering educators have been reminded of the need to strengthen this aspect of the curriculum in numerous studies and by the very standards that are used to accredit our programs. For design education to be effective, design tools must be introduced early in the curriculum, reinforced in fundamentals courses, and demonstrated in capstone projects.1

At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy the sophomore level course Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Design has been developed to provide students with an initial introduction to fundamental topics that will be applied in their upper-division courses. These topics include the engineering design process, engineering economics, risk based decision-making, engineering ethics, and solid modeling. In addition to these topics, experience is gained in working in teams and using common shop tools and equipment. The course consists of two hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory work each week. The typical class size is 24 students with lab sections of 12 students.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Wilczynski, V. (2003, June), Tabletop Robotics For Engineering Design Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12595

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