Section 500: Designs in Nature and Engineering

Project: Design and build a remotely-controlled robot

Technological innovation is transforming abstract ideas into tangible products/processes to meet societal needs – engineering is the key enabler. In this section of Engineering 100, you will explore the fundamental principles of design that apply across a wide range of engineered products, from bicycles to aircraft and beyond. You will study designs in nature that combine strength, flexibility, and adaptation, and learn how these characteristics are explored in bio-inspired design. You will learn how engineers design, select appropriate materials, and optimize components and systems to create products that are safe, reliable, and cost-effective.

Your team will begin with a reverse engineering exercise where you will have the opportunity to disassemble a power tool to learn about systems engineering and how various components are designed to meet the customer demands. You will be introduced to methods for selecting appropriate materials, mechanical systems, manufacturing processes, and designing for ease of manufacturing. You will also learn basics of CAD, fabrication, and motor controls.

For the final project, students work in teams of four throughout the semester to design and build a remotely-controlled robot that transports objects of various sizes and shapes from a landfill into goals set at different heights – all culminating in an exciting design competition.

Class Activities and Projects