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Stage 2 Project - ELE00048I

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  • Department: Electronic Engineering
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Martin Coulton
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

Project - Maze Solving Robot

This module further develops the team-working skills introduced in the first-year project, this time applied to a robot that can solve a maze and select the shortest route from start to finish. The project will require students to select, design, fabricate and assemble appropriate materials, including sensors and actuators, design hardware and software, assemble the parts, and test the robot’s ability to solve mazes.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22 to Summer Term 2021-22

Module aims

Subject content aims:

To build on the first year group project and further develop student skills in group project working. In particular, students will work in groups on a product involving the development of a maze solving robot. Students will gain hands-on experience with designing, fabricating and testing their robot chassis, sensor and actuator hardware using 3D printing, laser cutting, and other rapid prototyping techniques. Students will also gain hands-on experience with designing microcontrollers and maze solving algorithms capable of determining the optimal path to a maze .

 

 Graduate skills aims:

  • To develop skills in applying knowledge learned in class to a challenging hands-on project
  • To consolidate and further develop skills in teamwork, engineering design and project management
  • To develop skills in technical writing and presentations
  • To develop skills in effective communications with team members in charge of the mechanical, electrical, software and maze mapping and solving aspects of the robot design.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Describe how analyse and select sensors and actuators for a robot based on the robot’s desired function
  • Describe how sensors, actuators, controllers, and structural components of a robot are assembled and integrated to achieve the robot’s desired function

Graduate skills learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Establish communication and coordination in a group project to enable their group to work efficiently and effectively
  • Determine the research needs for their projects and seek out appropriate resources
  • Produce a project plan and manage the project in accordance with it
  • Document the work undertaken in the project to a professional standard
  • Deliver a professional presentation summarising the project
  • Work as an effective team member
  • Understand team dynamics
  • Work professionally in laboratories with knowledge of health & safety
  • Decide what ethical approval is required for their project
  • Produce a work breakdown structure and project plan
  • Formally record meetings and track actions
  • Quantify and manage risks in their project
  • Reflect on the effectiveness of their own time management

Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate

 

Conceive

Needs analysis, requirements capture & product specification

Students will be given a general overview of the project, which is divided into five phases. Within each phase, students will have to analyse the identified need and produce the specifications for their project. Students will be required to define what they will deliver by the end of each phase and will be assessed on their ability to deliver.

Innovation

Students will produce an innovative but practical solution to the agreed problem with its imposed constraints as they have specified it. Students will be expected to describe their creative process in their final report, including how they arrived at their chosen solution.

Design

Design

Students will design the structural, sensing, actuating, and problem-solving aspects of the robot. Students will have access to enough materials such that there will be many different ways to approach the design.

Modelling and simulation

Students will be expected to model their designs using appropriate CAD software and understand the interaction between the electrical, electronic and mechanical sub-systems.

Implement

Manufacture

Students will be expected to acquire or manufacture all parts required to realise their project.

Manufacturing limitations

Students will understand the limitations imposed in a complex system by the manufacturing capabilities of the Department, including the choice of available materials compared to that available in the wider commercial environment and how this impacts the Technology Readiness Level that can be achieved.

Assembly and testing

Students will produce an integration and test plan for their robot and demonstrate how their robot meets the previously defined specifications.

Cost and market evaluation

Students will be expected to analyse the cost-effectiveness of their robot.

Operate

Specifications for use

Students will produce a requirement specification and user operating manual for their system.

Product usage & life cycle

Students will be expected to produce a Health & Safety statement for their product and any special precautions that need to be taken in the operation, maintenance and at the product's end of life. Students will be expected to understand environmental specifications such as IP rating.

Project deliverables

Robot specifications

Project plan with timeline in Gantt chart format and list of parts needed

Risk assessment

Ethical compliance statement

Differential-drive robot chassis

Line following capability using machine vision

Robot controller and maze solution

Traversal of optimal path through a maze

Demonstration of final system

Presentation and technical assessment

Group report

Individual contribution and reflection on project experience

 

Further details:

 

Professional Skills

Laboratory practice

Students will be expected to follow good laboratory practice procedures.

Health and safety

Students will be introduced to health and safety in the wider context including relevant legislation as it affects product development.

Graduate skills

Teamwork

Students will be introduced to the need to establish communications, coordination and control mechanisms within their group to help deliver efficiently and effectively. The groups will be guided in the establishment of these by their academic supervisor. They will be expected to describe their approach and any problems they encountered in their individual report.

Research

Students will determine the research needs for their project and seek out appropriate resources. They will be expected to maintain accurate and professional records of their research and report it through accurate and full referencing.

Communication

Students will be expected to document the work undertaken in their project to a professional standard, producing appropriate information for technical and non-technical audiences. Examples of technical information include specifications, test reports, etc. Examples of non-technical information include user manuals, etc.

Ethics

Groups will be expected to decide, in conjunction with their group academic supervisor, what ethical approval is required and then produce and gain appropriate approval for it.

Project management

Students will be introduced to formal project management tools and required to produce a planned and managed project plan.

Meetings & meetings management

Students will be expected to record their weekly meetings and track actions allocated. They will be introduced to the concept of Design Reviews and be expected to hold them as part of the project.

Risk management

Students will be introduced to risk management as a manageable activity, including how to quantify risks and use a risk register as a tool to manage risks. They will produce a risk register for their project.

Time management

Students will be responsible for their own time management and will be expected to write a reflective critique of their time management in the individual section of their project report.

Module content

Example Project:

The project groups will be tasked with developing an autonomous line maze solving robot. Sensors for detecting the locations and directions of lines of tape within a defined range and sensors for  differentiating colours will require mechanical design as well as electronic interfacing to the microcontroller. Circuits may need to be designed to convert the sensors’ outputs to forms suitable for input to the microcontroller. Algorithms will need to be written to map out  the maze based on data from the sensors during the robot’s first traversal of the maze from the start point to the end point. From this map, the robot must then determine and follow the optimal path through the maze from the end point to the start point. The microcontroller must interface with mechanical actuators to move the robot along the desired path The robot will then be further extended to a maze solving robot. Individual students will specialise in different aspects of the design, and will develop detailed specialist knowledge in one or more of the following areas:

¿ Robot hardware design

¿ Machine vision algorithms

¿ 2D mapping

¿ Microcontroller programming

¿  Problem-solving algorithms

¿ Analogue electronic design for interfacing sensors , actuators, and microcontroller

¿ Communication protocol software and design

¿ 3D printing and laser-cutting for any non - standard parts

¿ Project management

¿ Testing methodologies

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Demonstration
N/A 20
Essay/coursework
Group Report
N/A 80

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Reassessment: Individual Project
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on demonstration immediately after the demonstration. The Department of Electronic Engineering aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme.  In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work.  Students are provided with their examination results within 20 working days of the end of any given examination period.  The Department will also endeavour to return all coursework feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline.  The Department would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback.  The Department will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum.  Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate.  Meetings at the start/end of each term provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date.

Indicative reading

TBC



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.