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The Dancing Marionette An Interdisciplinary Capstone Design Experience For Engineering Technology And Computer Science Students

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Interdisciplinary Design Projects in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1267.1 - 11.1267.11



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Paper Authors


Jyhwen Wang Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Jyhwen Wang joined the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University in 2001 after working 10 years as a researcher and R&D manager in industry. He teaches mechanical design applications and his research interest is in the areas of mechanical design and material processing technology. He received his Ph. D. degree in mechanical engineering (1991) from Northwestern University.

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Steve Liu Texas A&M University

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Steve Liu is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph. D. degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering (1989) from University of Michigan. His research interest is in real-time distributed computing systems, network performance and security, medical informatics, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Dr. Liu teaches Microcomputer Systems (CPCS 462) course.

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Angie Hill Price

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Angie Hill Price, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Texas A&M University, where she has been on the faculty for 14 years. She has taught the Mechanical / Manufacturing Technology Projects course for the last 5 years.

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

The Dancing Marionette - An Interdisciplinary Capstone Design Experience for Engineering Technology and Computer Science Students Abstract

With the advances in microelectronics devices, often computers, sensors, and actuators are integrated into mechanical systems. Modern engineering design thus requires efforts from a multidisciplinary team. Traditional capstone design projects offer few opportunities for inter- departmental collaborations. This paper presents an experimental capstone project organized to allow computer science students and manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology (MMET) students to work together on a “dancing marionette”. The project involved three major components: 1) mechanical/kinematics design, 2) computer motion control, and 3) manufacturing. The MMET students took on the tasks of the mechanical design and fabrication of an electro-mechanical movement system. The computer science students developed motion control hardware and software to prescribe life-like movements of the puppet. While the highly successful prototype demonstrated the value of interdisciplinary collaboration, feedback from faculty and students also suggested that better communication can further improve the learning experience of future students.

1. Introduction

In most of the Engineering Technology (ET) programs, capstone projects are requirements in the senior year for students to utilize their technical knowledge, problem solving skills, and project management skills to develop a product or a system related to their disciplines. While the format and the implementation of the capstone projects may vary from institution to institution and from program to program, the courses, however, share similar characteristics. In a typical senior project, students are challenged to integrate the knowledge they accumulated in the previous years to design and develop a solution for a practical problem. The projects are normally selected from a list of problems provided by faculty members or industry advisors. In addition to the instructor of the capstone course, a faculty member or an industry advisor will be a “sponsor” of the project. Student teams are organized to match students’ background (work experience and technical electives taken) and interests with the proposed problems. The course generally involves proposal writing to define problems and identify solution approaches. Progress reports, mid-term presentations, a final report, and a final presentation are commonly required. An objective of the capstone design course is to allow the students to demonstrate the knowledge and skill they acquired by the time of graduation; thus, the course can be an outcome assessment tool for continuous improvement of the program. Another key objective of the capstone course is to provide the opportunities for students to obtain some close-to-real-world project experience.

Traditional capstone design projects are administrated within a program and offer few opportunities for inter-departmental collaborations. With the advances in microelectronics devices, often computers, sensors, and actuators are integrated into mechanical systems. Modern engineering design requires efforts from a multidisciplinary team. Therefore, involving ET students in a specific discipline to collaborate with students in other disciplines in the capstone course could greatly enhance the students’ learning experience. This paper presents an

Wang, J., & Liu, S., & Hill Price, A. (2006, June), The Dancing Marionette An Interdisciplinary Capstone Design Experience For Engineering Technology And Computer Science Students Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--986

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