Featuring Robotics in a Senior Design Capstone Course

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings


For the past few years the Department of Engineering Technology have offered a senior design capstone course that helps Electronic Engineering Technology students develop interdisciplinary skills and knowledge to work on designs and products requiring the integration of mechanical, electrical, and microprocessor-control systems. Mechatronics is a term frequently used for this integration. The course features an autonomous mobile robot that the students must design, fabricate, test, and document. The course incorporates recent TAC/ABET (Technology Accreditation Commission of Accrediting Board of Engineering and Technology) guidelines concerning open-ended design problems. In this course and under these guidelines the students develop creativity, refine and use accepted design methods, formulate problem statements and specifications, consider alternative solutions and determine feasibility issues, and create detailed system descriptions. Students work individually or in teams of two or three on their projects. Lecturing is kept to a minimum and the class takes on a more or less studio-learning atmosphere, with the instructor acting as an advisor and making rounds to each project to check on progress in meeting developmental milestones and to offer guidance. Students are required to meet five check-point deadlines and the finished robot is to exhibit three behavioral objectives. This robotics project has become very popular with the students and has even attracted some students who are Computer Information Science majors to select the course as a technical elective. This senior design course featuring autonomous mobile robots, now in its fifth year, continues to be rated highly by students as an opportunity in which they experienced both teamwork and personal achievement in the hands-on application of the knowledge gained during the course of their bachelor's degree program.