Self Balancing Scooters
One of the several "M-Way" scooters that resulted from this class is currently on loan at the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum where it is used to offer rides to visiting children and introduce them to the multi-disciplinary nature of modern technology.
Inverted Pendulum Balancing SystemStudent teams in the senior capstone design class ME450 (Design and Manufacturing III) worked with Prof. Awtar in Winter 2011 to conceive, design, and create an Inverted Pendulum balancing system exhibit for the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum.
This interactive exhibit balances a free pendulum in its inverted position using a motor controlled arm, sensors that provide angular measurements, and feedback controls implemented on a microprocessor. The goal is to show children how the simple act of balancing a stick on a finger-tip can be accomplished via computerized control. This serves as a companion exhibit to the self-balancing M-Way scooter, which embodies the same underlying physical and mathematical principles as the inverted pendulum.
Since its installation, this exhibit has become very popular with the museum's visitors and won an Editor's award at the Maker Faire event held at the Henry Ford in Dearborn MI.
Ball on Plate Balancing SystemIn Winter 2012, yet another ME450 team in Prof. Awtar's section designed and built a Ball-on-Plate balancing system for the museum. It is tricky to keep a ball balanced at the center of a plate that is held manually. The slightest tip or tilt of the plate causes the ball to roll off. The Ball-on-Plate mechatronic exhibit accomplishes this goal via automatic controls. Sensors measure the actual ball position on the plate and actuators continuously adjust the tip and tilt of the plate to keep the ball centered. Other modes of control include commanding the ball to trace a linear, circular, and figure-eight shaped paths.
Subtractive versus Additive Manufacturing ExhibitIn Winter 2013, an ME450 team in Prof. Awtar's section designed and built a hands-on interactive exhibit that highlights the difference between Subtractive and Additive manufacturing. The project was sponsored and supervised by Prof. Kira Barton, also in Mechanical Engineering, and exposes children to the emerging field of additive manufacturing via simple but functional building blocks that can be assembled to demonstrate the unique advantages and attributes of Additive Manufacturing.
CENTER FOR ENGINEERING DIVERSITY AND OUTREACH
Whirlydoodle installations can be seen all around downtown Ann Arbor as public art as seen in the above pictures, which have been reproduced from the Whirleydoodle official website.