Sensors and Systems in a Freshman Design Course

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Conference Proceeding

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The second design course taken by all engineering Freshman was recently revised to build upon a first semester design course project in which sensors and programming (C++) are introduced in a robot challenge. In the second design course the students now have their programming knowledge extended to a graphical environment by learningLabVIEW™ through a series of assignments in which they interface various sensors to their laptop computers. Applications include a simple motor speed control using a shaft encoder. Students then use their knowledge in a team design project that incorporates data acquisition from sensors to a laptop computer, display of the sensor data and its use to control some aspect of the system to which it is applied. Teams are provided with design project choices, each posed as a set of system requirements. This together with mini-lectures and assignments continue a thread started in the first design course to develop systems concepts in the context of design. Development of students ' comfort and capacity with sensors and systems as a core thread early in their education provides an important foundation for future engineers.

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