Build a micropower wireless sensor network. You will need to come up with a scenario where this would be useful.
Our signal analyzers (frequency analyzers) are of good quality, but are difficult to use. Design and build a more useful user interface (perhaps with an embedded computer like beagleboard, or a cheap android computer). Maybe a web-based interface?
Build an experiment for use in Control Theory class. Complexity is not necessary, but robustness is. Inverted pendulum, ball on balance beam, magnetic levitation…
Design and build an animated LED sign for the engineering department. We have a very crude one that we use for the “Departmental Fair” during orientation, but it is possible to build a much fancier one (with scrolling, animations, color?) that is easily programmable. This entails hardware, low level software (to drive the LED’s) and some higher level software (web-based?) to create messages and animations.
People might be encouraged to save water if they could see how much they are using. Build an in-line water meter that measures flow – and to make it easier to hook up, have it powered by the flow of water. Can it be wireless too?
Build an oven with programmable temperature profiles for soldering surface mount parts.
If you want to do a project with wireless communication and don’t mind writing the communications software at a low level (or want to learn how to do this) check out the development system from TI. Note: this is much less capable than something like wifi, but much lower power (both Watts and processing power).
A description of the PID algorithme w/o a lot of math.
Articles with background on AC Power measurement
Title says it all. USB, Ethernet, Video in and out, more processing power than beaglebone. Requires an external JTAG controller.
A robotics kit from CMU developed with children in mind. It has a visual drag-and-drop programming paradigm. http://t.co/RJ5NcwY4
Use the technique outlined in this document and attempt to tune one (or several) control systems.
A stepwise method for tuning PI controllers using ITAE criteria: http://t.co/bqd3CBY5
Some background information about battery choices for energy harvesting applications.
Use epaper and a very low power rf interface to create a programmable electronic sign (powered by solar cell or battery?). Can it be made completely wireless (no power or wired interface)?
Product: ST Electronics introduced a 6-axis sensor that actually does some analysis of the sensor data, freeing the host processor from continually having to poll the sensor. Part # is LSM330.
Using energy harvesting techniques to get energy from insects to power onboard sensors/controls. http://t.co/9Mn2ZrGL
Build a bidirectional motor control – use an H-bridge with PWM to control a motor spinning in both directions. Put it on a PCB to control E72 robots.
Measure EMG signal and use this to control a robotic gripper.
The median frequency of the EMG (electromyogram; the electrical signal from muscle) is related to fatigue (frequency decreases as fatigue increases). Build hardware/software to measure frequency. This can be done with either analog or digital circuitry.
Research and build an equi-ripple group delay filter (mostly theory). This filter is to a Bessel filter as Chebyshev is to Butterworth (an analogy that will probably never make it to the SAT).
Build a lock-in amplifier. This is a very useful device for finding small signals within noise.
Build a spectrum analyzer using only (or mostly) analog components. This isn’t too difficult, but involves a few subsystems that must interact correctly.
From Rebecca Roberts in the Scott Arboretum:
The Scott Arboretum is exploring the opportunity to bring DATA GARDEN to the campus in fall 2013. We hope this will be a great opportunity to collaborate with other departments and involve students. Data Garden will design exhibits throughout the gardens that encourage exploration of the natural environment through live musical performance and sculpture that blurs the distinction between the biological and digital worlds. They exhibited at Bartram’s Garden last year, check out the video: http://vimeo.com/35915131
The “bio-interactive” art installations focus on connections between plants, music, and technology. They use electronic impulses produced by plants to generate music; crossing of biology, engineering, and musical disciplines. Making a unique blending of arts and sciences.
These exhibit will grace the campus for 3 days culminating a concert in the Scott Outdoor Amphitheater. Electronic musician and sound artist, Tim Hecker will headline the concert with 2 to 3 opening acts. This would be a great opportunity for student groups, classes, and projects.
With a proposed date of October 2013, there is plenty of time to incorporate efforts into syllabi for Fall 2013 semester.
Those interested in becoming involved in this project should contact Becky Robert at 610-328-8023 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Aug. 31.
-- Rebecca Robert PR and Volunteer Programs Coordinator The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College 500 College Avenue Swarthmore, PA 19081 Phone: (610) 328-8023 Fax: (610) 328-7755 email@example.com
Stepper motors are very useful in situations where precise control of position is needed, but without direct feedback. Design and build such a controller.
Brushless motors are somewhat more complicated to control than standard (brushed) DC motors. Design and build a controller for a brushless motor.
Design and build a motor controller that charges up a battery when braking.
Design and build a motor controller that also measure motor speed. It works by periodically stopping control for a few milliseconds and then reading the back emf of the motor before resuming control.