For better or for worse, there are a lot of indicators that I’m becoming an upperclassman (see Figure 1). I have a lot of (sometimes unwanted) responsibilities in ROTC, I’m finding myself considering leadership in multiple school organizations, and my schoolwork is maturing from problem sets to more design and analysis-based projects.
That last item is what this article is about – the sudden transition from just final exams to having two engineering design projects and a statistical analysis project, all of which, incidentally, started this week. I suppose it shows that teachers are becoming more convinced of and confident in our autonomy and ability to think for ourselves, which is a positive step!
For Instrumentation Lab, we’ll be working in groups to create a measurement system of some sort. This one is the most hazy at the moment, since we’ve only gotten a kind of heads-up for the project being introduced, but, from what I’ve gathered, we’ll be using the different instruments and system design principles from lab to take measurements on some phenomenon and interpret them in a meaningful way. The example Prof. Barth gave was a group who used a strain gage on a golf club to measure deflection in the shaft of different kinds of clubs. I am considering using some kind of voltmeter to measure how boring watching golf is, but I don’t know if my group will go for that.
For Probability and Statistics for Engineers, our groups submitted (today!) a project proposal for a data analysis project – We locate a data set related to engineering, then use tools we’ve learned in class such as confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and linear regression to find the significant trends in the data. My group decided to look at readmission rates at hospitals in low- and high-income areas, with the hypothesis that, due to a more prevalent inability to pay for extended stays, low-income hospitals will see a higher readmission rate for inpatient care than high-income hospitals. If you’re interested in reading a little more about the project, you can see our proposal here!
Last, but not least, we have Mechatronics. From the assignment: “The final assignment in ME204 is to design, build and demonstrate a mechatronic system of your own choosing. The system must be of your own construction and it must do something interesting.” Using at least one sensor, at least one actuator (motor), and our Arduino micro-controller, we are to design some sort of complex and interesting device. I have my proposal ready to submit tomorrow, but I won’t talk more about it until the proposal gets approved – That way I won’t embarrass myself. I’m definitely looking forward to this project, though, both for myself, and for the day at the end of the semester when all the devices are on display. It’ll be like a science fair, but with ROBOTS!
Expect some updates on these projects… because I care.