Gas station without pumps

2015 January 19

More on freshman design projects

Filed under: freshman design seminar — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:01
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In Student project ideas for freshman design seminar, I listed some of the ideas students had brought up as possibilities for the freshman design seminar. For homework, I had them each comment on at least two other projects on the class e-mail list. Today, I counted commenters on the various proposed projects for the freshman design seminar:

5       temperature sensor (IR? I may have been lumping a couple of different temperature sensor ideas together—I did not follow all the links.)
4       PCR machine
4       blood pressure monitor
3       photogate
3       pH meter
2       colorimeter
2       EKG
2       fume extractor
2       sound level meter
2       centrifuge
1       microbial fuel cell
1       photospectrometer
1       general sensor
1       pulse monitor
1       function generator
1       lensless microscope
1       voltmeter
1       LED color mixer
1       motion sensor
1       stir station

I notice that no one picked the bacterial incubator project this year, which is too bad, as I have a dozen styrofoam shipping boxes that would be ideal for the project, and I spent a fair amount of time figuring out how to do the control loops (Temperature-control project for freshman design seminar, PWM for incubator, More on incubator design, Thermal models for power resistors, Thermal models for power resistor with heatsink, PWM heater and fan, PWM heater and fan continued, Controlling the heater and fan, Putting the heater in a box, Improving feedback for fan , Thermal control loop working (sort of)) and how to teach them.  Of course, given how much time it has been taking to teach reading a simple photodiode, I don’t know that I’d actually have been able to get through teaching proportional-integral control with anti-windup provisions, so maybe it’s just as well.

We’ll discuss possible projects on Wednesday.  I think that I can cross out a few as being unsuitable for the lab facilities we have available (no sinks, so wet-lab stuff is not reasonable) or as pointless, and one or two as too ambitious, but most of the projects are reasonable.  They vary a lot in difficulty, though, so I’ll have to help the students match their ambition with their willingness to work.

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