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Course Descriptions
MECH_ENG 495: Selected Topics: Robot Design Studio

Quarter Offered

Winter : WF 12pm - 1:20pm ; R. Worth/K. Lynch
Spring : WF 12pm - 1:20pm ; R. Worth/K. Lynch

Description

STUDENTS MUST COMMIT TO BOTH QUARTERS OF THE COURSE.  IF A STUDENT DROPS THE COURSE AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER, HE/SHE WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR THE FIRST QUARTER.

This is a two-quarter hands-on sequence in which students work in a team in a professional environment to design and build a robust, elegant, and sophisticated electromechanical system.

Who Takes It

This course should be taken by undergraduate or graduate students who have appropriate background and are passionate about becoming an electromechanical designer.

To be eligible for the course, the student must have demonstrated background and capability in one or more of the following areas, and should have an interest in the others:  CAD, finite elements, rapid prototyping, machining, embedded systems and microcontrollers, software design, electronics and PCB design, real-time control, sensors, and actuators.  Examples of this background could be experience in ME 333 Introduction to Mechatronics, ME 433 Advanced Mechatronics, ME 495 Embedded Systems in Robotics, ME 495/EECS 396,496 Quadrotor Design and Control, ME 340-1 and 340-2 Computer Integrated Manufacturing, ME 449 Robotic Manipulation, EECS 301 Introduction to Robotics Laboratory, EECS 347 Microprocessor Systems Project, EECS 395/495 Engineering System Design 1 and/or 2, and DSGN 34x; significant involvement in design and building of a car or rocket for competition; expertise in the topic areas through extracurricular projects; and others.

Further Details

Teams of students will take a set of specifications for a robot system and an example rough initial design and, by the end of two quarters, produce a robust and elegant working prototype along with documentation.  Students will undertake all aspects of the electromechanical design process:  CAD modeling, sourcing and acquiring components, machining and outsourcing machining, motor and transmission selection, sensor selection, cabling/wiring, power electronics, PCB design, microcontroller/microcomputer selection, control system architecture, software architecture, and real-time control.  This course is distinguished by the demand for a robust, near-product-ready final design.  Each team will be allocated a budget allowing the use of professional-level components.

Example projects include a hopping robot and an omnidirectional wheeled mobile robot designed to catch thrown objects.

Students will work with teammates of complementary skills.  The project will be broken into a set of subgoals, tasked to subgroups within each team.  Each team will employ professional collaboration techniques and a strict set of milestones critical to ensuring the overall success of the project. 

The course will include dissection of a sophisticated electromechanical product, guest lectures, and a case study from industry.

Students must commit to both quarters of the course.  If a student drops the course after the first quarter, he/she will not receive credit for the first quarter.

Instructors

The course will be led by Dr. Ron Worth, co-founder of a CNC controls company.  Other faculty will serve as consultants and guest lecturers, including Profs. Mike Beltran, Alex Birdwell, Dan Brown, Ed Colgate, Kori Ehmann, Mark Fleming, Kevin Lynch, Nick Marchuk, Ilya Mikhelson, Michael Peshkin, Mike Rubenstein, Jarvis Schultz, Jane Wang, and Qiang Zeng.  Other guest lecturers will come from industry.

If you are not sure you have the right background, contact Prof. Lynch, kmlynch@northwestern.edu.