ELEC 201

(see below to obtain course notes and construction information)

Catalog Description


This is a ``hands-on'' introduction to engineering design. Using skills developed in the course, teams of students will design and construct a functional robot, and program this robot to perform simple tasks. The course is completely self-contained, assumes no prerequisites, and is intended for both engineering majors and non-majors. Enrollment may be limited.

Course Description

This course is intended to address two problems in our current curriculum. First, prospective engineering students face two years of math, chemistry, physics, and engineering fundamentals before they get to do any engineering. These hurdles are perhaps one reason for the attrition in the ranks of freshmen and sophomore engineers. Second, there are very few opportunities for non-engineering majors to learn anything about engineering.

ELEC 201 is intended to introduce undergraduates, in an engaging and entertaining format, to some of the principles and practices of engineering design. In the process of designing, constructing, and operating a simple robot assembled from ``Lego'' building blocks and various electronic components, students will be exposed to issues that confront every practicing engineer. These include working with available technology, design team interaction, design tradeoffs in electro-mechanical systems, iterative design, prototype design, and scheduling constraints. The hands-on aspect of the course is intended to make the underlying technical issues more accessible. Students will be motivated to learn material that they need to solve particular technical problems. Unlike most science and engineering courses, technical material in ELEC 201 will be presented in a breadth-first format.

Students will also acquire some basic technical skills in computer use and programming, electronic assembly, and problem solving. ELEC 201 will be completely self-contained, and will assume no prerequisites beyond what is required for admission to Rice.

Postscript of this document

Complete Courses Notes and robot assembly information are available via anonymous ftp. Please read and observe the copyright restrictions included with the notes.

README.elec201: How to assemble and print the notes
Complete course notes (2.0 MB)
Course notes, Part 1
Course notes, Part 2
Course notes, Part 3
Course notes, Part 4
Course notes, Part 5
Course notes, Part 6
Course notes, Part 7
Course notes, Part 8