Conventional laboratory experiments are useful mainly to assist understanding or analysis: because they are of necessity stereotyped they are of limited usefulness when a circuit or system must be designed to meet a given specification. The majority of engineering tasks fall into this latter category, and therefore require design or synthesis skills that are distinct from the understanding of underlying engineering principles. This is additional to the analysis skills emphasised in the course so far. This module includes design assignments that have been devised to provide a bridge between 'conventional' experiments and the project work in the third and fourth years, (which, in turn, provide a bridge to 'real' projects in industry). The exercises have real deadlines and concrete deliverables and students are encouraged to be creative, develop imaginative solutions and to make mistakes.
The assignments share common characteristics:
- Customer orientated rather than proscriptive specifications are given
- Design work carried out, bringing academic knowledge to bear on practical problems
- Laboratory sessions are used for construction/verification of designs
- Allow students to demonstrate their communication skills in writing individual and group reports/presentations.
However the two design exercises have a different focus:
- The D2 IC Deisgn Exercise involves design and test of a digital integrated circuit
- The D5 Smart Meter Design Exercise involves design of a system that is able to monitor and control a micro-grid