UCSC BME 123A Fall 2010

Engineering Design Project I

(Last Update: 16:07 PST 24 November 2010 )

This is a required course for bioengineering students who are doing a group senior project. Those planning to do an individual senior thesis should not enroll in BME 123A, but may be able to enroll in BME123B in Winter quarter for assistance in writing their theses. For catalog copy and pre-requisites, see the main page for BME123.

Who, When, and Where:

This fall, BME123A is co-located with CMPE123A.


Kevin Karplus ( karplus@soe.ucsc.edu)
Office hours: PSB 318, Wed 10:30–11:30 a.m.
Stephen Petersen (petersen@soe.ucsc.edu)
Office hours: BE117, hours unknown

TA: None

Lectures: MWF 12:30-1:40, Jack Baskin Engineering 156

Final exam slot: Mon Dec 7 8 a.m.–11 a.m.
We may use this exam slot for design presentations, but probably not, since Prof. Karplus will be away at a conference.

Online Project Pages: http://seniordesign.soe.ucsc.edu will have project descriptions, student bios, team blogs, and so forth. This is where you'll turn in assignments, form teams, and document your projects. You do have to register in order to get access, but there will be public access to projects and even more project-sponsor access.

Note, the seniordesign web pages are for student-generated material, while the webpage you are currently looking at is for instructor-generated material.


There will be one required text: Teamwork and Project Management, 3rd edition by Karl A. Smith and P.K. Imbrie.

This text will mainly be used as an organizing aid for student presentations and as a source of references to original material, so the fact that it is not very readable is not important for this course.

You will also need a bound lab notebook, with acid-free (archival) paper. The CMPE/EE instructors are recommending a large (8 1/2" by 11") format with gridded pages. Personally, I prefer a smaller quad-ruled lab notebook with 7.5"x9.75" pages. You can browse lab notebooks at Palace Art and Office Supply downtown or order on the web from places like bookfactory.com

I wanted to require Edward Tufte's essay The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within, but I had a hard time justifying $7 for a 32-page essay. There is a free 6-page excerpt from the essay on Tufte's web site that catches some of the main ideas.

We also have Doumont's rebuttal to Tufte on our SECURE web site (user "bme123a", password to be given in class).

Writing assignments and other homework

The assignments have not all been scheduled yet. You will have to give several presentations and written reports during the quarter. Faculty will not be giving project pitches to the class this year, but we do have
several ideas from faculty that students can go talk to them about, then present to the class to get more team mates.
Date (to be) releasedAssignmentDate Due
27 Sept 2010Reflections on Deep Dive video 1 Oct 2010
4 Oct 2010 Relections on one (or more) possible projects 8 Oct 2010
11 Oct 2010 Read Tufte and Doumont articles on PowerPoint and write reflection on them 20 Oct 2010
18 Oct 2010 Reflection on MBARI trip 22 Oct 2010
1 Nov 2010 What are you going to contribute to your project team OR how are you going to find a project? 5 Nov 2010
15 Nov 2010 Team Charter 22 Nov 2010
24 Nov 2010 Block diagram (optional)29 Nov 2010
17 Nov 2010 Project Design Proposal 4 Dec 2010


Students will be evaluated based on the final proposals they produce, their contributions to group presentations in class, and any other homework that gets assigned, in roughly that order of importance.

Academic Integrity

Anyone caught cheating in the class will be reported to their college provost (see UCSC policy on academic integrity) and may fail the class. Cheating includes any attempt to claim someone else's work as your own. Plagiarism in any form (including close paraphrasing) will be considered cheating. Use of any source without proper citation will be considered cheating. If you are not certain about citation standards, please ask, as I hate having to fail students because they were improperly taught how to cite sources.

Collaboration without explicit written acknowledgment will be considered cheating. Collaboration on lab assignments with explicit written acknowledgment is encouraged—guidelines for the extent of reasonable collaboration will be given in class. Indeed, since this is a class for establishing project groups, most of the assignments will call for collaboration. This does not relieve you of the need to explicitly acknowledge (by co-authorship or otherwise) all collaboration and help received.

Classroom Accommodations for Disabilities

If you qualify for classroom accommodations because of a disability, please submit your Accommodation Authorization from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to me during my office hours in a timely manner, preferably within the first two weeks of the quarter. Contact DRC at 459-2089 (voice), 459-4806 (TTY).

Rogues' Gallery

A few of the photos came out badly blurred, and I may have messed up the exposure correction on others (so skin colors may be off). If you are not satisfied with your photo, contact me and I'll retake it under better conditions.

Aaron Lau

Alexandra Eastes

Chirag Sharma

Chris Lardizabal

Christopher Lam

Danny Do

Danny Tate

David Toorani

Derek Chang

Dylan Hingey

Fabiola Hanna

Jessica Borja

Jonathan Wu

Khanh-Chu Nguyen

Pu Zhang

Simranjit Singh Gill

Steven Lam

Ulysses Morales

Tentative Schedule of activities

A "Lecture" is given by the instructor. A "Presentation" is given by the students. All project pitches are given by students. Scheduling is currently highly tentative and subject to enormous rearrangement.
24 SeptAdministrivia, some student intros
27 Sept Student introductions and photos
29 Sept Finish intros (issue permission codes?)
Where Good Ideas Come From video
Deep Dive video (There doesnt seem to be a legitimate copy of the video on-line, but Ideo does mention it on their site)
Break into groups of 3
1 Oct 6 groups presenting 5-minute summaries of their impressions of the Deep Dive video, personality inventory
4 Oct Personality inventory, finished student intros, looked at some project ideas
6 Oct Kevin Karplus, Lecture on Technical Writing Steve Petersen suggests that students read the Gas Station Without Pumps blog for examples of reflective essays similar to the ones we are requiring.
8 Oct project pitches and brainstorming for 3 projects: reverse electrodialysis, location-based info, history of Lebanon
11 Oct Pet peeves about PowerPoint presentations, project brainstorming (networks project, mini-robot observation project)
13 Oct Guest Lecture (Christy Hightower and Ann Hubble), 215 Science and Engineering Library (2 or 3 students need to bring laptops, so that everyone can do the hands-on exercises)
15 Oct Lecture on finding technical material?, entrepreneurship discussion
18 Oct MBARI field trip
20 Oct Project pitches
22 Oct Lecture on Chapter 1, assigning technical presentations (e-mailed 23 Oct)
25 Oct Suggestion to read Science Professor blog article on presentations and squareCircleZ blog on color blindness and color choices for graphics and presentations;
Lecture/activity on Systems Engineering;
27 Oct Short lecture on power supplies;
Brainstorming on Lebanese history project
29 Oct Presentation of Chapter 2 (Teamwork) Steven Lam, Jonathan Wu, Fabiola Hanna
1 Nov Presentation of Chapter 3a Dylan Hingey, Christopher Lam
3 Nov Presentation: how batteries work (Danny Tate, Chirag Sharma, ???)
5 Nov Presentation on Chapter 3b Derek Chang, Khanh-Chu Nguyen, Ulysses Morales
8 Nov Presentations on power supplies (most of the class)
10 Nov Presentations on power supplies (concluded)
12 Nov Presentation on Chapter 4 Alexandra Eastes, Aaron Lau
15 Nov Presentation on Chapter 5 Simranjit Gill and David Toorani
17 Nov Presentation on Chapter 6 Daniel Tate and Chirag Sharma
19 Nov Lecture on Gantt charts and budgets (Chapter 9)
22 Nov Lecture: what final report should contain, part 1.
24 Nov Lecture: what final report should contain, part 2.
  • overview of project
  • specific aims (should include intermediate milestones)
  • what's new?
  • how will we achieve aims? (approach, research plan, block diagram, ...)
  • budget ($ and other resources)
  • personnel (who has which skills, what will their main responsibilities be) There must be a justification for the need for each staff member and a clear role that is not shared with others.
  • Gannt chart (should include all tasks and intermediate milestones, and assign tasks to individuals)
26 Nov Thanksgiving, no class
29 Nov Presentation on Chapter 7 Jessica Borja, Danny Do
1 Dec Presentation on Chapter 8 Christopher Lardizabal, Summer Pu Zhang
3 Dec (slack for rearranging schedule)
Fri 3 Dec 5–8 p.m.Group presentations, written proposals due. (Engineering Auditorium or Simularium)
Wed 8 Dec 4 p.m.–7 p.m.Final exam slot. Not used.

Other resources on the web

SoE home
sketch of Kevin Karplus by Abe
Kevin Karplus's home page
Biomolecular Engineering Department
BME 123 home page CMPE 123A home page CMPE 123A forum http://seniordesign.soe.ucsc.edu
T0599 model 1
Karplus's lab page
UCSC Bioinformatics research

Questions about page content should be directed to Kevin Karplus
Biomolecular Engineering
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
318 Physical Sciences Building

Locations of visitors to pages with this footer (started 3 Nov 2008)