One way to mill boards from a tree is with a chainsaw mill which pulls a chain saw through a large piece of wood.

The chainsaw is typically moved by hand and the user slows down and speeds up depending on how hard it is to cut the wood, which precludes attaching a constant speed drive to move the saw.

Recording the sound of the saw and analyzing its frequency content might be able to be done acoustically, and the chainsaw motion controlled  accordingly – perhaps a good E90.

 

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

Redo the double pendulum experiment with better and newer hardware.

  • Use an air track to get oscillating masses instead of pendulum (or some kind of “air” bearing) (to reduce friction).
  • Measure position/velocity  wirelessly (so no friction), or with a permanently mounted webcam with image processing software.
  • Put everything together in a robust and easy-to-use package.

This project combines, mechanical, electrical (maybe) and computer work.

Design and build a wireless timer for students giving talks.  The student tlaking would have an LCD display that counts down the time left in the talk.  A green LED could come on at some time as a warning, followed by a red one (and a buzzer?) closer to the end.

The person moderating the talk would have access to the timer through a web page.

The project is not incredibly difficult, but there is a wide variety of  tasks (hardware/software/networks…) and the system must be robust and low power.

Design and build an wing (or other structure) with integrated digital pressure sensors (perhaps with wifi or bluetooth) so that multiple pressure measurements can be taken with minimal (or no) physical connections to the data acquisition system.

A sample of a sensor (cheaper sensors are available) is at: SSCDANT030PG2A3 Honeywell Sensing and Control | 480-3338-ND | DigiKey.

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.