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  Course Description:

97.497 is a full credit (8 month) course that is a core requirement for all engineering students. Many different projects are offered through faculty members, and this year's robotics course will be available to 18 fourth-year engineering students from the Dept. of Electronics and the Dept. of Systems and Computer Engineering.

The course is a major project in engineering analysis, design, development and research carried out by small teams of students. The objective is to provide an opportunity to develop initiative, self-reliance, creative ability and engineering judgement. A project proposal, weekly team meetings, several interim reports, two design reviews, an oral presentation, a technical demonstration, and a comprehensive final report are required. Students are expected to commit more than 200 hours to the fourth-year design project.

The focus of this fourth year project is partly academic and partly showmanship. There will be several opportunities for the teams to "show off" their robots in mini-competitions during various stages of robot completion. Publishing information about the robots and the competition is also important - each team will maintain a detailed webpage.

Individual Requirements:

Each student accepted into the robotics fourth-year project will be expected to contribute an equal amount of work to the design and construction of the robots. To ensure that the work is evenly distributed, each student must maintain an engineering notebook.

The notebook must be bound, so pages can't be removed or added, and each entry should be dated and entered consecutively. The journal should summarize the work performed what do on a daily basis, and will be a method of recording each student's contributions to the project.

The journal should include:

  • Ideas about the robots, design calculations, etc
  • Responsibilities and outlines of the generated solutions
  • A summary of decisions made at group meetings
  • Problems and solutions, questions to be asked, etc
  • A comprehensive list of work completed

The course supervisor will ask to review the journals periodically.

Team Requirements:

Each team must maintain a group webpage that outlines the team's progress. These webpages will be linked from the course webpage, and should detail the progress of the group.

The webpage should outline:

  • The design and construction of the robot (pictures!)
  • Group progress, including what each member is working on
  • A list of accomplishments and achieved goals
  • A list of upcoming deadlines and milestones

The final reports from the group members should be made available through the webpage. Technical information should probably be withheld until after the competition.


While the grades for the individual components of the course are listed below, most of the deadlines listed are requirements to pass the course. The complete list of deliverables required to pass the course are:

  • a minimum grade of 50% (25/50 total percentage points), AND the submission of, or participation in, the following:
    • project proposal, 5% (individual grade)
    • design review, 10% (team & individual grade)
    • basic demonstration, 10% (team grade)
    • progress report, 5% (individual grade)
    • oral presentation, 10% (individual grade)
    • final competition, 5% (team grade)
    • peer review, 5% (individual grade)
  • a minimum grade of 50% (25/50 total percentage points) on the final report grade as determined by the Dept. of Electronics 4th-year project review board
  • each student must also:
    • document their work in an engineering notebook
    • attend all group and project meetings with the supervisor
    • contribute an equal amount of work to the robot design & construction
  • each team must also:
    • publish a webpage featuring their design work
    • complete a robot that is able to compete in the final competition

Exceptions may be given to students or teams which have extenuating circumstances. These exceptions are only available at the discretion of the course supervisor.

Milestones and Deadlines:

Developed from the Department of Electronics' outline, the following milestones outline the requirements for the 97.497 course. The associated mark is listed in the table, as well as the preliminary dates. Click on the bold item headlines for more information and a list of relevant resources available to you.

Remember that team-members must all be involved in all group decisions. No one person is responsible for the group meeting a deadline.

Deadline Description Mark
Aug. 26-31, 2001

First team meeting with course supervisor.

The meeting will be scheduled before the first week of school, on a date that's acceptable for everyone. The meetings will be short, less than an hour, and will outline the rest of the course. Group photos will be taken.

Sep. 10, 2001

Group meeting with course supervisor.

The meeting will be the first chance for everyone to meet one another and to clear up any questions that may be asked. The engineering research assistant will be introduced, and you will be issued keys for the lab and storage areas. Group photos will be taken.

Sept. 14, 2001

Project proposal (individual grade)

This proposal will include a description of the project, your position in the project, due dates for the whole group (as given here), and your personal due dates to insure the team due dates are met.

Sept. 17, 2001

Setup the team webpage

The group webpage should be setup and working, with links to individual group members. The formal proposals should be online. If you are unfamiliar with the WWW, a short course will be available.

Oct. 5, 2001

Design review (team & individual grade)

The design review is the first "make or break" point of the project. Teams will be expected to present their research and design ideas, explain the design objectives, and defend the design decisions! This is a technical review and you must be thoroughly prepared. Each team-member will be expected to talk for 5 to 10 minutes with drawings or sketches.

Oct. 15, 2001

Background chapter draft

The introduction and research chapter for your final report is due. You will need to introduce the project, explain the objectives, reference the rules, outline your team strategies, and detail your research and design decisions.

Nov. 24, 2001

Basic demonstration (team grade)

The basic demo is where you show that you have, both in hardware and software, implemented the main components of the robot design: the motors, the sensors, the beacon and detectors, the grabbing device and the radio communication. This is a technical review and you must be thoroughly prepared.

Dec. 3, 2001

Progress report (individual grade)

This report presents the status of your work and should make reference to your proposal, show clearly how much progress has been made, make a prediction as to how the rest of the project is likely to develop, and state any variation from the project proposal that now seems necessary.

Winter break - now's the time to build those 'bots!
Jan. 2002

Oral presentation rehersals

While there is no mark associated with rehersals, your grade will dramatically improve with practice. You should schedule a dry-run time with your supervisor.

Jan. 21-25, 2002

Oral presentation (individual grade)

You and your team-mates will each present a 10-15 minute report on your 4th-year design project. You will need to introduce and explain the project, outline the design challenges you faced, and detail your solutions.

Feb. 16, 2002

In-house demo

Teams will present everything they have working, with the emphasis of impressing the other groups. This will be a short show-off meeting.

Feb. 25, 2002

Technical chapter draft

A draft of a technical chapter of your final report is due for review. You should submit a chapter regarding the technical work that has been the primary focus of your design efforts. Also supply an annotated table of contents for your final report. (1-2 sentences for each major section)

Mar. 13, 2002

Final competition (team grade)

The final competition will be held during high-school March Break week in order to showcase our work to future engineering students. The competition is scheduled to run from 2:45-3:45PM in Southam Theatre B.

Mar. 15, 2002

Peer review (individual grade)

The peer review is a chance to give anonymous feedback (and an anonymous grade) to your team-mates and to members of other teams. This process will happen via email and will allow you to give constructive criticism to your colleagues.

Mar. 16, 2002

In-house competition

This private competition will give the teams a chance to show off their robots to the other groups in a much more technical manner without the pressure of competition. We'll have a potluck dinner in the lab. BYOB.

Mar. 25, 2002

Final report draft

This will be the last chance to have your final report reviewed before the submission date. Your draft should include everything except the binding.

Apr. 8, 2002

Final report (individual grade)

The final report is due, and the engineering journals will be collected. No extensions will be available, this deadline is non-negotiable.


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