ME 481/482 – Senior Design Project I/II
- ME 481
- ME 482
- 19 October – ME 482: Alpha Prototype Demonstration Information
- 14 October – ME 482: Detailed Design and Manufacturing Review Information
- 5 October – ME 482: Example Cover Letter
- 30 September – ME 482: Midterm Presentation Information and Midterm Report Information
- 27 September – ME 482: Schedule Updated
- Course Information/Resources
- “Introduction” (2020 Fall)
- “Introduction” (2019.08.26)
- “Project Management I” (2020 Fall)
- “Project Management II” (2020 Fall)
- “Project Management” Lecture (2019.09.04 & 2019.09.09)
- “Requirements” Lecture (2020 Fall)
- “Requirements” Lecture (2019.09.16)
- “Systems Engineering” Lecture (2020 Fall)
- “Systems Engineering” Lecture (2019.09.23 & 2019.09.25)
- “Design Process Overview” Lecture (2018.10.03)
- “Intellectual Property: What Every Business Must Know, 7th Edition” by Martin Hsia (2018.10.22)
- Introduction to Patents & Other Intellectual Property (IP) (2020.03.24)
- “Material Selection” Lecture (2018.11.07)
- “Failure Analysis” Lecture (2019.11.18)
- “Engineering Design & The Design Process” Lecture (2017.08.23)
- “Design Examples” Lecture (2017.09.18)
- “Concept Modeling” Lecture (2020 Fall)
- “FEA” Lecture (2017.09.27)
- “FEA” Lecture (2017.11.01)
- “GD&T” Lecture (Fall 2020)
- General Writing
- The Mayfield Handbook of Technical and Scientific Writing
- Technical Writing Guides
- Quick Report Writing Tips (conventions, “four” or “4” ?, First, then, finally, equations, figures, tables, etc)
- MIT 2.671 presentation on technical writing
- MIT LibGuide on Fair Use
- “Engineering Communication (Be Understood)” Lecture (2019.09.11)
- “Technical Communication” Lecture (2020 Fall)
- “Technical Communication – Writing” Lecture (2017.09.06)
- Style Guides
- Background Research/Literature Surveys
- Investor Pitch
- General Presentation Information
- Presentation Evaluation Criteria
- Presentation Grade Sheet
- Oral Communication Lecture (09 January 2019)
- General information on hardware demonstrations
- Hardware demonstrations are both the easiest and the most stressful presentations you will do as an engineer. The hardest part from a communication standpoint is providing context. You usually have hardware in front of you that does something super cool and thus automatically draws the audience’s attention and provides sufficient interest. Thus, you simply need to demonstrate the abilities of the device/design in a way the proves the design fulfills a need relevant to the audience. During the initial part of the design process, we said “if it fulfills this set of functional requirements then it solves the problem”, so natural we just need to demonstrate the functional requirements. However, if the functional requirements weren’t stated in a way that is quantitatively measurable what are we to demonstrate and prove? This is why early on last semester we talk at length about defining your problem (and more importantly your solution) in a way that can be measured to prove you were successful. If you have done that well, then the hardware demonstration becomes easy and fun. Then comes the stress — will the prototype perform as expected during the demonstration? This is often make or break for new products. Reliability becomes key, and reliability is impossible without significant testing. I had an adviser that wouldn’t do a hardware demonstration without 9 successful test trials in a row previous to the actual demonstration. Depending on the situation that might be excessive or it might be insufficient. Either way, the point is you need to test, test, test, … to find and correct all bugs before the demonstration. If the product works as advertised, hardware demonstrations are very rewarding. In general the hardware demonstrations during the semester are there to help you in two ways. One, they are hopefully timed to ensure you are making at least minimum progress on your hardware (you really should be way ahead of this schedule, feel free to demonstrate where you are rather than working backwards). Two, they are intended to help you hone an appropriate demo for your competitions, the Francis Rhodes Montgomery Design Competition, etc.
General Course Information
- Lectures on: Engineering ethics, engineering design methodology, design process, project planning, decision making, materials selection, economic analysis, quality control, finite element analysis.
- Heuristic learning of a structured design process during a two-semester, open-ended, group design project that emphasizes developing creative designs that are based on engineering analysis.
- Students will learn to apply engineering analysis tools to an open-ended design problem, including pertinent application of Computer Aided Design Tools such as Computer Aided Modeling (CAM – SolidWorks) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA).
- There is a significant communication component to this course. Students will develop effective written and oral engineering communication skills. In particular, ME 481 is a writing intensive (WI) course, and ME 482 is an oral communication intensive (O) course.
- This course has a Contemporary Ethical Issues (E) Focus designation. Contemporary ethical issues are fully integrated into the main course material and will constitute at least 30% of the content. At least 8 hours of class time will be spent discussing ethical issues. Through the use of lectures, discussions and assignments, students will develop basic competency in recognizing and analyzing ethical issues; responsibly deliberating on ethical issues; and making ethically determined judgments.
- 16 October 2018: project pages coming soon
For a listing of past senior design project teams, see Project Archive
General Registration Information
- Review the frequently asked questions, which provide information about projects, instructors, and sections, and the projects, which are listed in the discussion group.
- Armed with the information acquired during step 1, request an override to register for the course by filling out this Google Form.
Note, overrides are provide in one big block to all students after we have all the information. We try to provide overrides around the end of finals week, but circumstances might delay the override.
Which section should I register for?
Although the sections are taught by different instructors and those instructors will naturally have some differences, generally the instructors strive to keep the content and deliverables of each section the same; i.e. we try to have the same number and type of reports and presentations due at the same times. Thus, your choice of section shouldn’t be based on instructor or perceived section differences. Rather, you should choose a section based on the project. Remember you will be working on this project for a full year. Choosing a project based on what your friends are doing or a perceived advantage between instructors is a mistake. Chose a project you have passion for and then register for the section that will be working on that project.
With all of that being said, the registration override form will ask you what section you want, what project you want, and what is more important to you whether you get your project choice or section choice. This option is there because we know a few students have other course or work conflicts and must have one section or the other for those reasons.
How are projects chosen?
We can pursue about 8 projects total. About 4-5 projects already have commitments (e.g. VIP teams, or funding). Thus, we have room to choose about 3-4 additional projects. Which projects we choose depend on the project’s popularity among the students and our assessment of the project’s scope and likelihood of success (i.e. is there enough work for a two semester course, is there too much work to finish in a two semester course, is there a sufficient cost vs funding potential ratio, etc.).
We use this website as forum to help determine the most popular projects. Generally, there are three types of projects: long standing competition projects that are pursued each year, projects driven by UH community professors or local industry, and projects proposed by the students. I will keep the website updated with any projects I know about, but I need you to add your own project ideas to the discussion group as well.
Take the time to participate in the project discussions and fill out and keep updated your preliminary interest form. Just before registration starts, we will use this data to sort the projects such that the anticipated enrollment, based on project interest, in each section is approximately equal. We will provide these preliminary project choices just before registration. However, the final project selections happen during the first 1-3 weeks of class.
To make sure there is a project you are interested in work on in the section you want, your most productive course of action is to get your ideas posted to this website and start using the discussion tools to generating support among your peers so project “X” will have sufficient support to be one of the most popular projects.
What can I do to get a head start?
The best way to get a head start is by doing background research on any project that interests you; if that project happens to be one of the existing projects that background research should include detailed discussions (and ideally an offer to assist) the existing teams. Please note though that one of the goals of senior design is to pursue a structured design process from beginning to end. Thus, you will need to start the semester at the idea and concept generation stage, regardless of how much design progress you think you have made during the summer. Therefore, the most useful thing is background research (often called prior art). This should include developing detailed understanding of the rules or requirements of your project, detailed benchmarking, read academic references (use google scholar, compendex, or similar) and text books about the subjects you will need to become an expert in (e.g. the electric vehicle people should be reading about how to size an electric motor and how to estimate the range of an electric vehicle, etc.).
What if I need a prerequisite override?
As of Spring 2020 we will not provide prerequisite overrides. However, if you still want to try or have been advised to ask, use the same override request procedure described in the Override Request Procedure accordion. I..e at registration fill out the google form provided in the Override Request Procedure accordion. The form asks what (if any) prerequisites you are missing and when you intend to graduate (note, we do look at star reports before granting any overrides so do be honest and realistic). Also, Instructor Approval isn’t sufficient to register if you also need a prerequisite override – it is in your best interest to be completely forthcoming. The prerequisites are in place for a reason. ME 481 is intended to be your capstone experience. If you don’t have the core courses in all 3 tracks of our program we are setting you up for failure. Explanatory emails and/or in person meetings with one or more of the section instructors will not change the procedure. If you need a prerequisite override — fill out the google form.
Resources for Students
www.123dapp.com/circuits (help convert breadboard layouts into printed circuit boards)
|Plastic Machine Components||Linear Motion Systems||O-rings/Seals|
|General||Micro Controllers||Motion Control|
- Alter, Shannon, “Simple steps to successful presentations“
- Bingham, Brian, ME 402 writing resources page
- McMurrey, David, “Online Technical Writing: Free Online Textbook for Technical Writing“
- Proper Unit abbreviations, NIST
- Article on the Trademarks of a great boss (or team leader).