Author Archive

11. Project Final Reports

Posted in 11. Project Final Reports on December 1, 2009 by mdgross

Due Monday, 14 December: Post the final and full report for your term project.
The purpose of the report is to explain to others what you did, why you did it, how you did it — clearly enough so that a moderately intelligent though sleep-deprived CMU student can replicate your work.

(posted on the class blog – (optionally also

project title.
one paragraph (50 word) summary description of the project. (what, why, for whom,..)
overall photographs, video of project (demonstrated)
detail photographs of specific parts or components, as needed.

additional text, 100 words or more as needed, to explain HOW the project works.
schematic design diagram of electronics
schematic physical design drawing
code outline (“system diagram” illustrating how the software works)
parts list (be specific)


Gadgetry Course

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2009 by mdgross


16-250 Gadgetry

9 units

email:  tlauwers or bkirby@andrew for more information

TR 1:30-2:50 (Tentative)

Lab costs:  $80+

10. Build the Hardest Part

Posted in 10. Build the Hardest Part on October 21, 2009 by mdgross

due Nov 3, 5 (with project proposals) & beyond.

As you think about your proposal for a term project (which you will present in class the week of Nov 3, 5), consider what you will need to learn, that you do not already know how to do.  This could be a new piece of hardware (for example, a shift-register, a particular sensor that you are not familiar with), a software technique (connecting to a program running on a personal computer), a communications protocol (Zigbee or Bluetooth or Infrared), or a programming environment (programming the Arduino using Max/MSP).   Whatever it is that you will need to learn, use this assignment to do it.   As part of your demonstration in class, you will show that you have mastered this challenge, and therefore you will be able to build the rest of your project.

9. Project Proposals

Posted in 9. Project Proposals on October 21, 2009 by mdgross

Due week of Nov 2 (presenting in class on Nov 3 and Nov 5).

Write a proposal for your term project, and prepare a 1 (one) minute presentation to explain the project.  Your proposal should include:

1. a brief description (50 words) of what you will build.

2. sketches or diagrams of (a) the physical device, (b)  the sensors and effectors that it will include, and (c) the logic of the device.

3. a parts list / bill of materials needed to make the device.

4. a work plan for how you will proceed over the coming 4 weeks, including weekly milestones.

5.results (or preliminary results) of assignment 10 (“build the hardest part”)

8. Finite State Machines

Posted in 8. Finite State Machines on October 21, 2009 by mdgross

(due Thursday, October 29)

Design and build a device (physical object with embedded electronics) that has three states.   In each state the device has a different behavior: it responds differently to its sensor inputs.   There must be transitions between the states, triggered by particular conditions.  (Typically, the trigger conditions are specific sensor inputs or input combinations, but a trigger may also be a time-out condition).  Be sure to design the device so that it can’t get stuck in a state: each state must have a transition out to some other state.   Include the state diagram in your write-up for the device.

(For a simple code example, see “finite state machines” in the class notes section).

a well-documented project

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15, 2009 by mdgross

This Braitenberg vehicle project is very well documented (and interesting, too!).

A Mechanical Automaton

Posted in 7. A Mechanical Automaton on October 10, 2009 by mdgross

Using any materials and methods of manufacture you prefer, make a hand-operated mechanical automaton.  Use at least two different mechanisms (e.g., a cam and a crank; a ratchet and a linkage, etc.).   Your automaton can celebrate mechanical motion (as for example, Arthur Ganson’s do) or can tell a simple story (as do the traditional whimsical toys of the 19th century).  Although your machine will (perforce) be mechanical it may also have other qualities such as elegant, graceful, ugly and brutal.   See the references for mechnical motion stuff.