Project Examples

Embedded Control System for World Largest Book

Course: 16.317 - Microprocessor Systems Design I
Semester: Fall 2006
Instructor: Yan Luo
Partner: North Chelmsford Life Links; Boston Museum of Science and Groton Dunstable Middle School

Brief Description:

The aim of this S-L project was to design and implement an embedded control system for the World Largest Book project, and represents a collaboration among the UML Mechanical Engineering Department, the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, the Groton-Dunstable Middle School and the Boston Museum of Science.

Full Description:

The aim of this S-L project was to design and implement an embedded control system for the World Largest Book project, and represents a collaboration among the UML Mechanical Engineering Department, the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, the Groton-Dunstable Middle School and the Boston Museum of Science. The Groton-Dunstable Middle School and the Museum of Science were very interested in participating in this project. The ultimate goal was to build a record-breaking sized book on the theme of peace. It is expected that the WLB will be a big hit in terms of educating people, especially young people.

The objectives of the Microprocessor Systems Design I course included assembly language programming and microcontroller interfacing. Professor Yan Luo introduced WLB in Microprocessor I and designed a lab assignment in which students learned about PIC microcontroller programming to control a bipolar stepper motor, which is an analogy to the page-turner of the WLB. Through this S-L project, students were motivated to study the assembly language and PIC microcontroller datasheet, and apply their knowledge in the experiments. The students received hands-on experience on with the PIC microcontroller and control circuitry design through the lab exercise. Most of the students demonstrated enthusiasm in regards to the S-L related lab assignment. One student remarked that “This lab is very interesting, and I learned a lot.”

After the completion of the course, three students chose to continue the work in the summer 2007 to achieve the goal of building the half-sized prototype by the end of this summer. The professor reported that the introduction of S-L projects in this course demonstrated promising impact towards enhancing student learning motivations and encouraging them to serve the community through engineering knowledge. Professor Luo also commented on the attraction of the S-L course/lab materials helped to facilitate teaching goals, and generated a positive long-term impact on students’ career path and community service.

Learning objectives met by the S-L project:

  • Assembled language programming and microcontroller interfacing
  • Students learned PIC microcontroller programming to control a bipolar stepper motor, an analogy to the page turner of the WLB
  • Students were motivated to study the assembly language and PIC microcontroller datasheet
  • Hands-on experience on PIC microcontroller and control circuitry design
  • Students applied their gained knowledge in the experiments

Community objectives met by S-L project:

  • Three students continued the work over the summer to achieve the goal of building the half-sized prototype by the end of this summer