Many very smart people are saying that Additive Manufacturing, or 3D printing, will be more revolutionary than the Internet. Whether or not that's true, 3D printing is already changing established industries such as medicine, food, fashion, and aerospace. Essentially, these are industries where mass production isn't the best fit. These are specialized industries where unique parts are often required.
Beyond these types of industries, 3D printing offers a different type of future. You want something, you press a button and a machine in your home starts producing it. A machine that could make things appear out of nothing!. Printing in 3D gives you the power to create. No longer do you merely need to be a passive consumer. Learning how to design and print in 3D means you can be a creator. Just think of the story of Derby the dog.
Furthermore, being able to design and create in 3D is a critical engineering skill. It's one thing to be able to conceive of an idea and sketch it out in 2D. But to really determine its value, you need to conceptualize it in 3D.
Our Essential Question for this unit is: How can the ability to design in 3D and create using additive manufacturing give me the power to create personalized objects on demand?
The major learning goals are:
Conceptual (what do you need to learn?):
To get you started, visit Autodesk's excellent Fusion 360 Academy for all sorts of training videos.
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is a common technique that essentially makes a digital circuit behave similarly to an analog circuit. It is used in common electronics circuits to do things like dim lights and control servo motors, to sophisticated controls of high-end systems. As you know, a digital signal can only be high (power) or low (ground). But, by varying the duty cycle, we can change the proportion of time that signal is high as compared to low, over a consistent period of time.
In this lab, you will learn how to use PWM with Arduino, which will be very useful to do fancy things with LEDs and motors.
For those of you who would like to walk through functional stopwatch code, here are some samples, chosen for their different strategies to address the challenge. Included are a 2-button stopwatch, a 1-button stopwatch with counter, a 1-button stopwatch with Boolean variable, and a 1-button stopwatch that doesn't use delay().
I would like you to embrace the pain of figuring out how to create an Arduino-controlled stopwatch. To assist, I am giving you an example of pseudocode for this problem. Pseudocode is a way of thinking like a computer in order to make a plan of attack to solve a programming challenge. Check it out:
Arduino microcontrollers are showing up everywhere, because they are inexpensive and very, very useful in many electronics and robotic builds. Plus, they are open-source, which means you can take other people's ideas, modify them, and make them your own.
For us, these little boards are great. You can build cool electronics projects like those we saw in class, plus you can use them as the "brains" in robots. And they serve as a great introduction to physical programming. You will program them to listen to sensors and, based on that feedback from the environment, they will do something by controlling actuators.
These are used often at the university level, so getting used to them now not only gives you creative geniuses the ability to invent now, but it also gives you an advantage over others when you start your post-secondary careers.
To help you remember what you learned last year, reference my cheat sheets, try tracing through these Arduino sketches, and follow this lab. You can also watch my video introduction to programming Arduino.
Our major learning goals for this unit are:
For most of you, this is the second course in the engineeringCentral program, while for some it is the first. Altogether, the grade 10, 11, and 12 courses will prepare you to study Engineering (especially Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechatronics) and Computer Science at the university and college levels. It will prepare you for the very lucrative and in-demand ICT and Engineering industries. We will hopefully have lots of fun this semester while learning crucial skills that every employer is looking for. And in an era where everyone seems to be concerned about the weak job market, wouldn't it be nice to know you're facing the future with the skills to enter industries where there is HUGE demand? In fact, there currently aren't enough trained people to fill the jobs in these industries!
Computer Science and Engineering are very, very wise career choices.
This semester, we will try to answer this Essential Question: HOW CAN I TAKE CONTROL OF THE DEVICES WE RELY ON AND UPON WHICH WE ARE BUILDING THE FUTURE?