Gas station without pumps

2017 January 19

Project ideas for freshman design seminar

Filed under: freshman design seminar — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:47
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I haven’t blogged much about the freshman design seminar lately.  So far, I’ve had the students take the training to use the drill press and scroll saw in the (rather limited) Baskin School of Engineering Fab Lab, and had them look for projects they might be interested in doing.  At one point, before the quarter started, I looked into using the Neptune software from Boston University (which I found out about at the iGEM Jamboree) for designing and building low-cost microfluidic systems, but the software was nowhere near ready for use by freshmen, and I did not have the time get all the pieces figured out and working with the somewhat different hardware tools we had available. So, as in previous years, I’ll be counting on the students to come up with a couple of projects that they are interested in and capable of making a good start on.  This is only a 2-unit class, so they only have 6 hours a week on it, 3 of which are in class.

I assigned them the task of finding interesting projects they would want to work on and providing links to web pages about the projects. I think that they may have been overly influenced by an example I brought up in class, but there seems to be a fairly large group interested in an EMG-controlled prosthesis.  That’s a bit ambitious for a 2-unit freshman course, but we could do an EMG, we could do some simple programming for servo motors (I think that more sophisticated motor control would take more time than we have), and we could probably get an already designed hand printed or laser-cut.

Here are some of the project ideas they’ve come up with, grouped by student, in their own words—I’ve not even fixed the typos:

Vernier has a simple (but kind of expensive) EKG sensor that records the electrical events happening within the heart. This sensor uses a digital control unit as well as an EKG sensor. Also, we would need some additional software help.
Vernier also has a project that is an LED color mixer that uses digital control unit. This will have the ability to shine red, blue, and green light, any of which can be shone individually or with other lights.

Similarly to the EKG sensor, Vernier has a blood pressure sensor that calculates blood pressure. Vernier uses a blood pressure sensor and digital control unit in order to carry out the experiment. This device has a cuff that is placed on the upper arm to in order to pressurize the arteries. The sensor monitors the pressure in units of mm Hg.
I thought this website was interesting as they have links to interesting DIY lab equipment such as the micro centrifuge.,_open-source_hardware
This website was has a large amount of open source hardware for science and also 3D printed equipment

From that website, I found
which was a DIY microscope

and also
for a DIY Bioprinter

[Later, from the same student:],_open-source_hardware
This website was has a large amount of open source experiments and DIYs

and I’d like to do an Arduino robotic arm project

-This would be my number one choice for a project to design. This post in particular doesn’t have a whole lot of specifics as to what parts were used, and how they built it, but it does have a brief explanation of how it works. [The student doesn’t say what the project is, but it seems to be an EMG-controlled RC car.]
-The  basics of an EMG and how they work. Materials and a quick blurb about cost vs learning. It would actually cost more to buy the components and build it ourselves than it would be to just buy a pre-built MyoWare. That being said, the learning experience is important.
-Again, pretty basic idea, but this site seems to have more about the coding and signaling from the EMG to the RC car
-Just the basic ideas behind an EMG and possible research applications

A free 3d printable prosthetic hand off of thingiverse.

This is a page detailing how to create a simple EMG.

Attached is also an extensive paper on making a myoelectric prosthetic hand. [attachment from email is not included here—there is a reason the assignment required links, not attachments]

How to build a CNC machine
Remote webcam — could be placed on robot
Wind turbine generator

This is a blood pressure diagnostic devise.
We can work on sensors, and it seems like a freshmen project.
Let me know what you think.  [Not a valid link, so I have no idea what the student is talking about.]
So I saw this, and I noticed the price. But if we could make the individual parts our self, and at the same time learn to implement human movement into a devise such as this it would be awesome. The correlation of movements are what interest me in this project.
Please let me know what you think. [The model arm to imitate a human arm is indeed pricey, as are all Pasco products.]

I’m interested in building nerve controlled prosthetic limb.(EMG)

This is a link that somewhat describes EMG with lots of article links at the bottom.

Homemade Electrocardiograph/ Will ONLY cost about $10/ Will take about 2-3 weeks/ Code available in a zip file. 

exiii HACKberry

3D Printed Bionic Arm/ costs about $200/ Open sourced/ Developed as a cheaper alternative to prosthetics/ Site has tutorials from assembling to programming. 
Response from a different student:
The Homemade ECG really seems like a cool project, but there was a warning about how it was dangerous because to try it someone has to attach the sensors to their chest. 

I like the HACKberry prostetic hand. We would need to choose a specific part out of it that we want to work on since it is a big project, I think. 

I would like to focus on learning how to program the hand to open and close. Also, I would love to learn how to design and construct it.

for this project, I want to work on making a functional mechanic hand.

I would like to make a foot-glove massager with an insert in between the big toe and the second toe using some of the concepts found at these links:

If it’s possible I’d like the glove to be able to massage the foot as if it was “kneading”/”squeezing” the foot.
The idea would be to help people (old or young) with bunions in their foot. You can read more about this foot problem here:

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