Suggestions for final projects. This will be enlarged at some point to help deal with unusually large class.

If you don't like mine then you are encouraged to come up with one of your own.

Many projects have a number after them. That is the number of simultaneous people who can do the project due to hardware constraints.

Each project also has one or more letter after it. They specifies the project's difficulty on a scale from A (similar to about 2 labs of work with little independent thinking) to E (a seriously difficult project involving a lot more work and significant independence of thought). The level of difficulty will be taken into account when assigning grades. You will have to do an outstanding job of an A project to get a perfect grade while a serious effort that does not even work suffice for an E project. A good job on an A project will yield about 80% of a perfect grade.

  1. The robot maze challenge. This comes in several different levels that build on each other. In addition to the whiskers that you have used, our robots also have side sensors that allow them to measure their distance form nearby walls. There will be a series of mazes available and you can work your way to whatever level you wish.
    a) A maze with two straight sections and one right-angle bend. Goal is to emerge from other end and stop. Level B project.
    b ) A maze with multiple straight sections and at least two right-angle bends in unknown directions, no alternate routes. Goal is to find closed end and stop. Level C project.
    c ) A maze with several straight sections and bends and at least one T-junction and at least two dead ends. One dead end will have a flashing light marking the "cheese". Goal is to find the cheese and stop. Level D project.

  2. Scrolling LCD Display—I have a number of 2-line, 40 character LCD displays. The project would be to take one and make it display a long message that scrolled across the display. (7) (A but could range to C if you make the message easy to control from the PC)

  3. Write your name or initials on an oscilloscope. Using the x-y mode of an oscilloscope you can control the position of the dot using a pair of digital-to-analog converters. Project would be to display a multi character message on the screen. (any number) (A-E depending on the complexity of the display. A pair of initials would be a B, a wire-frame 3-D cube rotating in real time would be an E)

  4. I have a number of serial interface computer keyboards. Project would be to interface one to the LaunchPad and make what was typed on the keyboard appear on the PC using hyperterminal. (8) (A-B depending on whether you handled all the shift keys and function keys or C if you add an LCD.)

  5. I have a number of parallel interface keyboards. Project would be to interface one to the LaunchPad and use if for some kind of input. (8) (A-B depending on which kind of keyboard and the sophistication of the program to C if you add an LCD.)

  6. Build a stepper motor driver with control from some switches. A stepper motor is a kind of motor used in a lot of precision positioning applications. Project would be to control one from switches that would allow you to take one step forward or backward or to run forward or backward while a switch was held down. (at least 5) (A-C depending on degree of control.)

  7. Build a DC motor speed controller using an optical encoder for speed feedback. (2) (B-C depending on degree of control.)

  8. Build a sonar rangefinder. I have some ultra-sonic transmitters and receivers that can be controlled by a computer to send a pulse of sound and measure the time it takes the echo to return. (about 4) (A-B depending on accuracy and model.)

  9. Interface to one of the robot arms. (1) (C-E depending on what the arm does.)

  10. Two of our robots have floor sensors that can be used to make a line following robot. A simple line follower that can follow a curving path taped to the floor is a level B project. A more advanced robot that can also repond to signs added to the path (eg. short side arms) is at least a C project. (2)

  11. Implement an infra-red data link between the LaunchPad and the PC. (2-4) (A-B)

  12. A sound wave is merely a set of suitable frequencies played through a speaker. Make your computer play a tune. (any number) (A-C depending on the flexibility. A short multi-note sound with square wave tones is an A, a real tune with a controlled wave-shape is a C).

  13. Build a metronome. It should have a pair of switches (or more) to set the beat rate and some kind of display to show the rate and, of course, it should tick. (any number) (A-C Simple ticking with rate set from PC is an A, a full featured, stand-alone device is a C.)

Physics 245