This "group tutorial" is a prototype run for a new course, which we are hoping to number BME 88A: BMES Freshman Design Seminar.

Kevin Karplus karplus@soe.ucsc.edu
Office hours:
PSB 318, Th 2:30–4 p.m.
Meeting times:
MW 3:30–4:40, Physical Science Building 305
We'll also have time (not yet determined) in the circuits lab: Baskin Engineering 150.
Group Tutor
Sean Hacking
E-mail discussion
There is an e-mail discussion group for the class. All students in the class should participate in e-mail discussions. Other people may request joining the discussion, to be allowed in or not at the discretion of the class.
This course is a prototype run of a new 2-unit freshman design seminar, a concept suggested by BMES, the student BioMedical Engineering Society. Students will be helping design the course, as well whatever design projects we take on.

The current goal for the design projects is to have small teams (2–4 students) design low-cost lab equipment suitable for hobbyists or home school, middle school, or high school science labs. Think of it as "science on a shoestring" or "thrift-store science". We'll be trying to duplicate the functionality of expensive science teaching tools (such as those sold by Pasco and Vernier) at a fraction of the price.

A major goal of the course is to get students thinking like engineers: asking questions like "How can we make something that does this?", "What are the constraints on the design?", "Will this part do what we want?", "How much would it cost to do that?"

Target audience:
The primary audience are freshman bioengineering majors and premajors. If space permits, we may allow in a few 2nd-year or transfer students. Seniors interested in the course are encouraged to attend the first day and apply to be group tutors.
This is intended for first-year students, so there are no prerequisites. Students should come in with an interest in designing and constructing things. Prior experience with hand tools, soldering, computer programming, and so forth are all valuable, but no specific skills are required to join the class.
Requirements satistfied:
This course does not satisfy any graduation requirements, nor is it a prerequisite for any further courses. Take this course because you want to do it, not because you have to. Expect to average about 6 hours/week on the course, perhaps a bit more if your group gets excited about their project.
Students will be evaluated on the written, oral, or poster presentations of their designs, as well as on how well their prototypes meet the design goals they set.


There is some discussion of the goals of the course and ideas for possible projects on Prof. Karplus's blog http://gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com/freshman-design-table-of-contents/

Please feel free to leave comments on the blog with suggestions for the course.



Date Lecture Topic(s) Due
Mon 2014 Jan 6administriva. First day of freshman design seminar discusses skills students bring to the class, based on the intake survey.
Wed 2014 Jan 8design exercise: trying to specify what a spectrophotometer needs to do (to be continued). Second day of freshman design seminar discusses the design exercise I tried using a spectrometer as an example. About all I managed to convey was that design is hard if you don't know enough about what you're designing. Perhaps I should try an example next year that more students are familiar with—I thought that this would be a familiar concept (unlike, say, a polarimeter). I was wrong.
Mon 2014 Jan 13lab tours(Baskin). Third day of freshman design seminar covers the creation on an e-mail discussion list for the class and lab tours
Wed 2014 Jan 15design exercise: photospectrometer continued. Fourth day of freshman design seminar discusses the continuation of the spectrophotometer design exercise.
Mon 2014 Jan 20MLK day, no class
Wed 2014 Jan 22photosensors (emphasis on phototransistor). Fifth day of freshman design seminar was spent looking in more detail at one part of the photospectrometer—the photodetector.
Mon 2014 Jan 27feedback on homework, data sheets, resistor choice for phototransistor. Sixth day of freshman design seminar discusses the feedback on the first homework and reading a phototransistor data sheet. Algebra and calculator skills were even lower than I expected.
Wed 2014 Jan 29lab tours (Biomed). Biomed lab tours and online discussions discusses the 7th day of class (lab tours) and the difficulty of getting an online discussion going.
Mon 2014 Feb 3Photodiodes and LEDs. Seventh day of freshman design seminar (actually 8th) discusses photodiodes and LEDs, along with feedback on the photodiode homework.
Wed 2014 Feb 5Karplus ill—discussion of possible projects lead by Sean Hacking
Mon 2014 Feb 10discussion of calorimeter and LED homework, intro to Arduino programming. Ninth day of freshman design seminar (actually 10th) discusses return of two homeworks (colorimeter design and LED resistor sizing) and the first lesson on Arduino programming.
Wed 2014 Feb 12Intro to control and temperature sensing (bimetal strip and thermistor). Tenth day of freshman design seminar (actually 11th) discussed thermal control and thermistors.
Mon 2014 Feb 17President's Day, no class
Wed 2014 Feb 19Twelfth day of freshman design seminar (back to correct numbering) discussed first Arduino homework.
Mon 2014 Feb 24Thirteenth day of freshman design seminar briefly discusses the drafts of the design reports and teaching programming of simple control methods for temperature control.
Wed 2014 Feb 26Fourteenth day of freshman design seminar discusses breaking into the design groups and answering questions from each group separately.
Mon 2014 Mar 3Fifteenth day of freshman design seminar discusses a looming TA strike, group advising, and t-shirt design.
Wed 2014 Mar 5Sixteenth day: Arduino demo discusses an Aruino demo that included relays, nFET control of a motor (including PWM), and using a pressure sensor to control the motor.
Mon 2014 Mar 10
Wed 2014 Mar 12
Mon 2014 Mar 17
Thurs 2014 Mar 20 4–7 p.m.Final exam slot Reports and demos.

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