Hands-On Robot Design in an Introductory Engineering Course

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

2003 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Staying in Tune with Engineering Education


American Society for Engineering Education

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Our course ‘Introduction to Engineering Design’ is aimed at freshmen students entering Mechanical and Aerospace engineering. The course is structured as a 2-credit lecture coupled with a 1-credit design laboratory. While the lecture presents an overview of the profession, engineering design and methods, small student teams conduct a structured hands-on design project in the lab. Each team develops an autonomous robotic vehicle to perform assignments such as terrain navigation or collection of objects. Students find the robot project highly motivating and voluntarily spend several afternoons weekly working in the lab. The design course ends with a competition among participating teams at the end of the course. Through the design project the students gain valuable experience in professional design, engineering practice, and teamwork. Additional course objectives are student recruitment and retention, i.e. we seek to attract a broader range of students, including those from underrepresented minorities, to the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering program.


Engineering – Study and teaching (Higher); Engineering design – Study and teaching (Higher); Engineering laboratories; Robots – Design and construction


Higher Education | Mechanical Engineering | Robotics




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