ELEC_ENG/COMP_ENG 495: Robot Design Studio

Quarter Offered

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Registration by permission only. 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 SHOULD TAKE 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/CS 396,496 Quadrotor Design and Control, ME 340-1 and 340-2 Computer Integrated Manufacturing, ME 449 Robotic Manipulation, ELEC_ENG 301 Introduction to Robotics Laboratory, COMP_ENG 347 Microprocessor Systems Project, ELEC_ENG/COMP_ENG 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.

Registration by permission only. Send details of your year of study (e.g., junior, MS, PhD), your department/program, and your relevant experience to William Daniel Hunt at

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.

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.

INSTRUCTOR(S): The course will be led by Dr. Ron Worth and William Daniel Hunt. 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.