Research Bond graphs – a technique developed for handling linear systems (mechanical, electrical…) under a single framework. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_graph
The dynamics of the voltage across a nerve membrane are well defined by a set of three coupled non-linear equations. MATLAB (or another tool) can be used to model these equations and accurately predict the dynamics of a nerve firing.
Make an animation (either MATLAB or web-based) of the inner ear example from class. This involved some simulation and some relatively simple graphics programming. You could also update and expand this web page (http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/echeeve1/Ref/InEar/InnerEar.html) to include the animation.
The Makey Makey is essential a generalized input device – a touch keyboard that can be used in many different ways.
Use this to get some ideas, though some are rather complex and/or expensive.
Source: 20 Unbelievable Arduino Projects
Search for kits and projects on the Adafruit website
The Arduino is a cheap electronics board that allows you to make your own electronics without a ton of coding experience. We love the Arduino, but like any electronics project, coming up with ideas for what to build is tough. Whether you’re just looking for inspiration or just need a place to start, let’s take a look at ten of the coolest Arduino projects.
Source: Top 10 Kickass Arduino Projects
Note: even some of the ones marked Easy may not be so easy – also some require expensive extras.
Source: Arduino Playground – Ideas
The servo’s we have used only have about 180 degrees of rotation. You can make some fairly simple changes to modify the servo to rotate continuously so it could be used to drive wheels on a robot, or any other application that involves continuous rotation.
Build a smoke detector that turns off when you say “I’m cooking”. Microprocessor/signal processing.
Develop a low power (battery driven) wireless device/sensor.
The Bluetooth Smart SensorTag is designed to shorten the design time for Bluetooth App development from months to hours by allowing App developers to write Apps that enable and use advanced sensors directly from a smartphone without any firmware or embedded software development.
Source: Simplelink SensorTag – TI.com
Explore modes on a drumhead – similar to modes on a guitar string, but in 2 dimensions.
Or – do a search for cloth physics.
This is very similar to the spider on a web project idea.
Pulse Oximeters – Maxim. Also – TI has information
Check the video below. It is a simple pendulum, but reacts to magnets near the base. A non-linear problem to be modeled with RK – but not too difficult. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_between_magnets#Magnetic_dipole-dipole_interaction
The animation system at http://lpsa.swarthmore.edu/Animations/ uses a fixed step size animation. Alter the code to use a variable step size.
Use the animation system (http://lpsa.swarthmore.edu/Animations/) developed by a student a few years ago to develop animations for some of the homework problems.
Use simulink and MATLAB together to simulate a system (and animate it). You could also do it all in MATLAB. The coupled pendulum system comes to mind.
Simulate the system shown using Runge-Kutta (it is nonlinear, but not too complex). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_between_magnets#Magnetic_dipole-dipole_interaction
Z-Transforms are related to the Laplace Transform, but are used for discrete time systems (i.e., when a computer is used to sample a signal). This would be more research then physical.
Use the ideas in this post to control servo’s with audio signals from a cell-phone or other audio source. TRS Drawbot – Make: | Make:.
Use this method to make an animation (web-based?) that calculate pi. The Pi Machine – NYTimes.com.
It would be very nice to have a MATLAB gui that makes the audio analyzer output a series of impulses to a circuit and then have software that would add up the delayed and shifted impulse responses to create the output due to an arbitrary input. This is ambitious, but if you want a very software (MATLAB) intensive project – this might be it.
Materials for 3D Electronics Printing — Voxel8: 3D Electronics Printing. This is an ambitious project – you may want to consider this for two students unless you have some experience building your own 3-D printer.
Recreating the THX Deep Note – Earslap. Read this blog post on how to create the THX Deep Note (the sound at the beginning of movies using THX). It involves some signal processing – see if you can do it in MATLAB. Here is professor Zucker’s implementation in shadertoy https://www.shadertoy.com/view
Right now, the signal generator is only configured to create sine waves and square waves. Code could be added to the U8903a GUI to enable the generation of triangle and Sawtooth waves.
Build a shaker table with sinusoidal input that shakes model building that is instrumented with accelerometers.
Design you own beam-forming microphone array, or come up with a novel application for this integrated one. DSP Codecs Use Beamforming to Optimize Voice Signals | Embedded content from Electronic Design.