CMSC 498D - Spring'07
Prof Guimbretière

Introduction to Rapid Prototyping Techniques

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Students will form small multi-disciplinary groups that will conduct one research project throughout the semester. While there will be 3 project checkpoints during the semester, only the final version of the project will be graded. At each checkpoint, the current status of the projects will presented and discussed in class. The goal of the project is for you to produce a research paper suitable for submission to a conference.

Schedule (due dates):

Possible Projects

  • A semi-autonomous sensing robot. Using these toys as a starting point, build a semi-autonomous robot to perform remote sensing tasks. An example of such a robot will be a blimp taking picture at specific way points and returning to base.

  • Your own MP3 player. Using this decoding chip as a starting point, build you own MP3 player.

  • A large scale touch-sensitive tracking surface. The design can be based on an LED array (and example of such a system in action can be seen here), or on capacitive sensing such as SmartSkin system.

  • A simple inexpensive 3D trackers to track several objects in space. A system based on structured light is described here.

  • New sensors for the Lego Mindstorm NXT system. The new Mindstorm system is open source (both hardware and software). Using the description provided by Lego, design your a new sensor for the system, such as a CMOS camera or a GPS module.

  • Better text input mechanisms for small devices. How can we improve text entry for our cell phones, PDAs and pocket PCs?

  • Better mouse for kids. Current mouse at not well adapted to kid hands. They are also too sensitive which make it difficult for kids to keep the mouse still while clicking on the mouse button. What can be done to fix this problem?

  • Better mouse for the older users. What will be the perfect mouse for older users, who might move the mouse slower than other users, have difficulty with buttons and be impedes by small tremors?

  • A digital drawing table. Using this study on how people draw as a starting point, is it possible to design a better digital drawing table?


Example of projects with the correct scope


Send your project idea(s) to!