Engineering Fundamentals and Laboratory III


Engineering Fundamentals - Purpose.  This portion of the course will focus primarily on planning, management, documentation, and presentation of the Freshman Engineering Honors robot design project.  Students will learn how to plan and manage a project, present analyses of their results, write a project report, and make an oral presentation on the work.


Engineering Laboratory - Purpose.  This portion of EG H168 will focus on analyzing, modeling, building, and testing the device required for the Freshman Engineering Honors design project.  During the hours allocated for this course, there will be some lectures on the technical approach to design, mathematical calculations required, and various laboratory tools and techniques that are helpful in completing the design.  A portion of class time will be for open lab where teams may work on their projects with instructors and teaching assistants available to answer questions.


Class Meeting Times and Credit.  The H168 sections will meet either 8:30–10:30, 10:30–12:30, 11:30–1:30, 12:30–2:30 or 2:30–4:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  All class sessions will be held in HI 208 or 214.  Course credit is four hours.


Integration of Courses.  The design project for this course is a small, autonomous robot.  The design and construction of the robot will require the use of at least parts of all of your previous FEH program courses.  A separate document will provide the design project guidelines and contest rules.  Students will purchase materials for the project in lieu of a textbook.  Details will be provided during the first day of class.


Textbooks:     Project Management and Teamwork, Karl Smith, McGraw-Hill, 2000.*

Robotic Explorations: A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering, Fred Martin, Prentice-Hall, 2001.+

                                * Already purchased      + Part of project kit


H168 Instructional Staff:                                           H168 Graduate Teaching Assistants:


Dr. John Demel, 2-2427,                                     Edgar Casale, 8-0436,

Dr. Rick Freuler, 8-0499,                    Raja Laifa Clouse, 8-0436,

Dr. Deb Grzybowski, 2-1750,   Erik Justen, 8-0436,


H168 Undergraduate Teaching Assistants:


James Beams                                              Matt Beerman             

Kevin Berndsen                                   Shelley Buchholz       

Ben Cipriany                                           Dan Crowell                

Matt Gates                                                 Ryan Gero                   

Leo Glimcher                                          Barry Hubbard            

Tom McWilliams                           John Neyer                  

Ted Pavlic                                                   Shawn Pearson           

Tai Pimputkar                                       Jeff Radigan                

Eric Schmidt                                        Sean Smith                  

Brian Thiry                                                   Ken Wilkins                




Over Break


·        READ: Project Management and Teamwork by Karl Smith




Monday, March 26

·        Introduction to course; Where the course fits into undergraduate programs; Required materials; Course fees

·        Design team assignment, organization; discussion of teamwork; teamwork agreements; brainstorming

·        READ:  Chap(s)   1,2,3 (Especially pgs 24-26)  from Smith


Wednesday, March 28

·        Documentation lecture topic:  notebooks, strategy discussion, sketches for brainstorming ideas

·        Teams work on brainstorming lists, brainstorming sketches, and design strategy  

·        Pre-Lab Assignment: Input ports, microswitch, CdS cell, optosensor, motor ports

·        READ:  Chap(s) 1 (Sec 1.1, 1.2) & 3 from Martin.

Due:  Signed teamwork agreements, Coupons for course materials


Friday, March 30

·        Lab lecture topic: Preparation for controller lab, controllers, microswitches, CdS cells, optosensors, motors

·        Controller Lab 1

·        READ:  Design Schedule, Chap 6, Smith




Monday, April 2

·        Documentation lecture topic:  design schedule                  

·        Pre-Lab Assignment: Break Beam Sensors (shaft encoders), Motors Gears and Mechanism

·        READ: Chap(s) 3 (Sec 3.7 & 3.8) & 4 from Martin

Due:  Brainstorming list, sketches, and strategy for robot in competition


Wednesday, April 4

·        Lab lecture topic:  Preparation for motor dynamics lab, shaft encoders, motor tests

·        Motor Dynamics Lab: Motor current required, no load speed, maximum torque


Friday, April 6

·        Work on robots, Drive ‘Dummy’ around the course, refine design schedule

·        Teams meet with faculty to discuss progress

Due:  Controller Lab 1 Report





Monday, April 9

·        Documentation lecture topic:  progress report

·        Lab lecture topic:  Preparation for Controller Lab 2 – Servos and IR Beacons / Receivers

·        READ:  Chap 4 (Sect. 4.4) from Martin

Due:  Design Schedule


Wednesday, April 11

·        Controller Lab 2 – Servos and IR Beacons / Receivers

Due:  Motor Dynamics Lab Report


Friday, April 13

·        Work on robots

·        READ: Chap 4 (Sect. 4.1) from Martin

·        Teams meet with faculty to discuss progress

Due:  Sketches of chassis, chassis requirements (e.g. weight, critical members)

Deadline:  Performance Test 1: Teams must have portion of chassis built - basic structure with wheels in place.




Monday, April 16

·        Documentation lecture topic:  Final report                           

·        Lecture:  Power train analysis

Due:  Progress Report

Due: Team Peer Evaluation Due (Not for grade)


Wednesday, April 18

·        Software lecture topic:  Tips and hints for successful robot code

·        Work on robots

Due: Controller Lab 2 Report – Servos and IR Beacons / Receivers


Friday, April 20

·        Work on robots

·        Teams meet with faculty to discuss progress

Due: Calculations and sketches for power train - including transmission/ gear train requirements

Deadline:  Performance Test 2 - Teams must have motor installed and able to propel chassis up ramp.




Monday, April 23

·        Work on robots

·        Laboratory quiz

Due:  Outline of final report


Wednesday, April 25


WEEK 5 (continued)


Friday, April 27

·        Work on robots

·        Teams meet with faculty to discuss progress

Due:  Flow Chart (for controller code for robot strategy - may be psuedocode)

Deadline:  Performance Test 3 - Teams must demonstrate controller operation of chassis (maneuver around an obstacle) using bump or other sensors.  Robots must start when IR signal light goes on.




Monday, April 30

·        Documentation lecture topic:  Data analysis and presentation

·        Work on robots

Due:  Draft of final report sections assigned in Week 5


Wednesday, May 2

·        Work on robots


Friday, May 4

·        Work on robots

·        Teams meet with faculty to discuss progress

Due:  Sketches of robot’s electrical system and sensors

Deadline:  Performance Test 4 - Teams must demonstrate operation of CdS Cell sensor(s) on robots and must demonstrate proper detection of surface color (black or white).




Monday, May 7

·        Documentation lecture topic:  Oral reports

·        Work on robots

Due:  Draft of final report sections assigned in Week 6

Due: Team Peer Evaluation Due (Not for grade)


Wednesday, May 9

·        Work on robots


Friday, May 11

·        Work on robots

·        Teams meet with faculty to discuss progress

Deadline:  Performance Test 5 - Teams must demonstrate pickup mechanism.






Monday, May 14

·        Documentation lecture topic:  Visual aids

·        Work on robots

Due:  Outline of oral report


Wednesday, May 16

·        INDIVIDUAL COMPETITION in class                (Scores to be used for seeding for final competition)


Friday, May 18 

·        Work on robots

·        Teams meet with faculty to discuss progress





Monday, May 21

·        Work on robots


Wednesday, May 23

·        Fine tune robots


Thursday, May 24

·        HEAD-TO-HEAD / FINAL COMPETITION at St. John Arena


Friday, May 26 

·        Work on written and oral reports




Monday, May 29

·        Holiday – No Classes


Wednesday, May 31



Friday, June 1

·        Wrap-up and course evaluation   

·        End of year FEH Social Festivity (5 p.m. to 7 p.m., location TBD)

Due:  Written Reports and Notebooks

Due: Team Peer Evaluation Due (For grade)

Due:  Controller with serial cable, power transformer, and interface board  (See “Penalties” under Grading Criteria)





Engineering Fundamentals


                Assignment                                                          Points


                Design Schedule                                                     40

                Progress Report                                                      40

                Outline of Final Report                                           20

                Draft of 1st Part of Final Report                             40

                Draft of 2nd Part of Final Report                            40

                Outline of Oral Presentation                                  20

                Oral Report                                                            100

                Written Report                                                     100

                Notebook                                                                 50


                                                Sub TOTAL                          450


Engineering Laboratory


                Assignment  (*Individual)                                 Points


Brainstorming list, sketches, strategy                 30

                *Controller Lab 1                                    30

                *Motors Lab                                                            30

                *Controller Lab 2                                    30

                *Lab Quiz                                                                 30

                Chassis sketches & calculations                          30

                Power train sketches & calculations    30

                Flow chart                                                                30

                Sketches of electrical system & sensors             30

                Performance Test 1: Chassis/Wheels               15

                Performance Test 2: Chassis/Motor                  15

                Performance Test 3: Start & Maneuver            20

                Performance Test 4: CdS & Color Detect        15

                Performance Test 5: Pickup Mechanism      15


                                                Sub TOTAL                            350


Competition (See Contest Rules for Bonuses)


                Individual Competition                                           80

                Head-to-Head Competition                                  120


                                                Sub TOTAL                            200


TOTAL Points for Course                1000


Bonus – 30 points IFF all team members submit journal entries in any one week on time for 8 of 10 weeks.

Bonus – Additional points as specified in contest rules.

Please NOTE:  There is no final exam.




1.     At the end of each class period, tools used by each team are to be returned to their proper location.  Each time they are not returned, each member of the team loses 5 points.


2.     On the last day of regularly scheduled classes, teams are to return the controllers, serial cables, power transformers, and interface boards to the FEH staff.  Failure to return any one of the items will cause all members of the team to receive an Incomplete in the course.







The MIT Handy Board:


Robot related parts suppliers and info:





Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology - Program Criteria



Engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have:                     Introduced in this course:


(a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering                                            Yes            

(b) and ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data                  Yes            

(c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs                                     Yes

(d) ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams                                                                                          Yes            

(e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems                                                         Yes            

(f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility                                                                  Yes            

(g) an ability to communicate effectively                                                                                                         Yes            

(h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in

                a global and societal context

(i) a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning

(j) a knowledge of contemporary issues

(k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary                              Yes            

                for engineering practice