Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Design Symposium

Well, I was intending on finding some pictures and getting permissions to post them from the people in them and the people who took them. However, as this draught has just turned one week old, I'll post it now, and come back and edit with pictures later.

One of the things that everyone in engineering at Waterloo has to do is a fourth year project. This varies from department to department, but what MME (Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering) students do is to tackle a design project. There's two courses to this - ME 481 in the 4A term, where we have to design something, and then come up with enough detailed drawings, component lists, etc that we could give our final report to someone who knew nothing else about the project, and get it made exactly right. The second course is ME 482, in 4B. For Mechanical students this is optional, but for those of us in Mechatronics it's mandatory. This is where you build the project, and discover all the places where you left out information in the design phase.

On Monday, all the Mechatronics students had the penultimate part of our course. We took our finished projects and went to the great hall in the student life centre to set up our symposium. For four hours, we took questions from visitors to campus - lots of parents came, younger engineering students- especially the third year mechatronics students who have to do this next year, and other students who to figure out why the chairs that normally sit in the great hall had been moved.

My project was an automated window. Basically the relevant parts are that it will open and close itself, based on how warm it feels inside and outside. There's a couple of manual overrides, and a few other constraints on how it works, but those weren't why we made it. Basically we wanted to make something that would encourage green technology, things like opening the windows instead of turning on the A/C.

My partner and I were kept talking all afternoon, explaining to people what the project was. There were a surprisingly large number of people.


  1. Whats the brain of your project?? I mean PLC?? or Micro based?

  2. yeah seems like there is so much noise there:) .. .well, thanks for sharing your great thoughts about your project. I am very impressed with your work. Keep us entertain with your amazing work.