Hau-yu Chu and Daniella DiLacqua
The highlight of this week was the visit from Parallax. Ken Gracey, Parallax’s CEO, was on hand to demonstrate some projects that can be completed with the Boebot and some sensors. The roving Jukebox was a particular delight. We deeply respect Ken’s commitment to improving educational outcomes and possibilities through the student-friendly, yet technologically complex products from Parallax.
In addition, our team made progress further exploring AppInventor and Littlebits. We are using this period to seek out every opportunity for STEM learning for our students and ourselves. We also explored some of the consumer Augmented Reality applications on the market to get a better understanding of complexity of the AR projects in the Mechatronics Lab. Jared, our talented and dedicated Ph.D. candidate in charge, has designed an Augmented Reality App (pictured) to use with a classic Control Lab experiment. We are hoping to put our pedagogical experience to use and design assessments for use along with the App in the laboratory experience.
Phil Cook and Iulian Irimina
This week we became familiar with the theory of PID control and took a closer look at how control systems work, specifically through analysis of a mechanical engineering lab activity which uses PD control to control a dc servo motor using an app. Jared is working on developing an app aimed at helping undergraduate engineering students studying the motor dynamics and control systems. Using the app, the students can observe the system dynamics, observe how the dynamics change when you make changes to the controller, and how they can interpret the results that come from the app. On Thursday, we met with Ken Gracey, the Parallax CEO, who showcased some of the latest projects using the company’s robots designed for education such as: Propeller, Boe-Bot with Basic Stamp and Arduino.