The University of Southampton

FEEG2001 Systems Design and Computing

Module Overview

This module follows on from FEEG1001 Design and Computing where students focus on the design of functional parts. In FEEG2001 students address the design of a system consisting of a number of interacting parts which may include mechanical and electrical parts, sensors, actuators and real-time computational devices. Students work within a group to practically apply their knowledge to design, build and test an artefact in response to an engineering brief within a proactive and competitive environment. Particular focus is placed upon the ability to work as an effective team and realise a coordinated and well-resolved engineering system. In semester 1 design and computational skills are extended in preparation for a challenging design project in semester 2, in which teams of five students will respond to one of the following briefs: • A robot, for example that will compete in the Eurobot international contest. • A responsive system. • An instrumented fixed wing unmanned flying vehicle wing and control system. • An instrumented multirotor unmanned flying vehicle and control system. • An active hi-fi loudspeaker unit with digital crossover (Acoustical Engineering only). The testing of the final artefact has great importance and is supported by the use of internationally recognised acoustic facilities, for the loudspeaker design and the participation in inter-group competitions for the UAV, multirotor, Eurobot and responsive system designs. The Eurobot groups also take part in the UK Eurobot Finals and have the opportunity, subject to performance, to enter the World Finals. This module is linked to FEEG2006 Engineering Management and Law where the management of the Group Design Project is assessed. This supports the development of effective management and group working skills within the context of designing and delivering a challenging engineering project. External consultants, visiting professors and subject experts in Acoustic, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering have been consulted in the design of this module. This has ensured a high educational standard and industry relevance.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the design of an integrated system of parts and the mechanisms through which these parts interact to meet functional requirements. There will be a particular emphasis on the role of computers in both design and manufacture. The module will teach students the design process from preparing geometry data for prototyping processes or systems modelling to the production and interpretation of 2D & 3D geometries and datasets and finally to ensure that part geometry and tolerances are consistent with functional, process and standards constraints. In addition to delivering an acceptable design, it must be suitable for manufacturing with the available methods. Students will be working in teams and in order to produce successful system designs they must communicate their design ideas and concepts graphically and examine them critically and continuously identify potential improvements. An important aspect of this module is the possibility of building a working prototype based on ideas generated by students.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Computing - to develop understanding of (compiled) programming principles.
  • Computing - To understand the concepts of real-time computing.
  • Computing - To understand how to solve system design problems by integrating algorithms, actuators, sensors and mechanical parts.
  • Computing - The characteristics of and an ability to model a range of hardware devices, sensors and actuators.
  • Computing - How to interface an algorithm with hardware devices or other software modules.
  • Computing - How to build a system from component parts either physical or simulated.
  • Computing - How to select the right hardware devices or analysis techniques to meet a system design challenge.
  • Computing - Critically analysing results.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design - Understand the definition of a “system” of parts and how parts interact to meet functional requirements.
  • Design - Appreciate the role of computers in both design and manufacture.
  • Computing - Identify types of problems to pick the right solution strategy whether computational or physical.
  • Computing - Analyse computer programs to understand their structure.
  • Computing - Design and implement small computer programs independently.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design - Produce successful system designs through individual and team working.
  • Design - Communicate a systems design idea/concept graphically.
  • Design - Examine a systems design critically and identify potential improvements.
  • Computing - Decompose a model of an engineering system and its processes into smaller tasks that can be solved sequentially (by a computer).
  • Computing - Understand the concepts behind software engineering and design decisions in modelling software.
  • Computing - Be able to design real-time algorithms to control systems.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design - Prepare geometry data for prototyping processes or systems modelling.
  • Design - Produce and interpret 2D & 3D geometry and datasets.
  • Design - Ensure that part geometry and tolerances are consistent with functional/process/standards constraints.
  • Computing - Use the Arduino Integrated Development Environments [IDE].
  • Computing - Interface sensors and actuators to a real-time processor.
  • Computing - Produce and interpret simulations of system performance.


SEMESTER 1 • Design (weeks 1-12): • Design theory (weeks 1-4) • Working Model 2D (week 5) • Presentation and marketing of designs (week 6) • Structural Analysis (weeks 7-10) • Manufacturing Methods (week 11) • Engineering Drawing & Tolerance Analysis (week 12) Computing (weeks 1-6): • The Arduino microprocessor Integrated Development Environment (IDE) • Analogue/digital conversion • Communicating with sensors (infra-red, ultrasonic) • Control of motors and servos Computing (weeks 7-12, Aeronautical, Mechanical and Space Systems Engineering): • Further Arduino applications • Additional sensors (pressure, accelerometer, GPS) • Computing (weeks 7-12, Acoustical Engineering) • High level computing efor design • Real-time signal processing with the Arduino Due microcontroller SEMESTER 2 Group Design Project (weeks 1-12) • The Design, Build and Test of an engineering system, working in teams and realised through one of the following design briefs • UAV To design a wing system capable of maximum speed range to suit a small flying vehicle that is instrumented to capture flight dynamics. • Eurobot To design a ground vehicle that is capable of a degree of autonomous behaviour and designed to carry out a strategic set of tasks using sensors and actuators. • Multirotor To design a multirotor that is capable of a degree of autonomous behaviour and designed to carry out a task. • Responsive System To design and prototype a unique responsive system that senses and responds to the environmental characteristics of its local environment, the proximity of moving objects, and that is unique to its specified location. • Loudspeaker (Acoustical Engineering only) To design an active loudspeaker with digital crossover (incorporating additional taught material on computational aspects of loudspeaker design).

Special Features

• The opportunity to practically apply knowledge to design, build and test an artefact in relation to an engineering brief. • The opportunity to participate in competitive events and to use world class testing facilities (loudspeaker design). • Linkage with FEEG2006 Engineering Management and Law within which the group work and management skills are assessed. • Students are each issued Arduino ARDX kits. • External consultants, visiting professors and subject experts in Acoustic, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering have been consulted in the design of this module. This has ensured a high educational standard and industry relevance.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module will be delivered through a combination of the following: 1. Lectures for the delivery of new material and concepts. 2. Practical sessions where students will tackle a set of design or computing tasks. 3. Workshop sessions for students to work in groups and develop design proposals. Demonstrators/ academic staff will be available to answer questions and provide feedback during practical and workshop sessions. The teaching pattern is summarised below. SEMESTER 1 DESIGN • Lectures on formal design theories. (weeks 1-12). o Design theory (week 1-4) o Working Model 2D (week 5) o Presentation and marketing of designs (week 6) o Structural Analysis (weeks 7-10) o Manufacturing Methods (week 11) o Engineering Drawing & Tolerance Analysis (week 12) • Computer-based Design Tutorials (weeks 5-11). o Working Model 2D (weeks 5-6) o Structural Analysis (weeks 7-10) o Manufacturing Methods (week 10-11) COMPUTING • Computer-based practical classes to introduce the Arduino programming system. (weeks 1-12) o Introduction to the Arduino IDE programming environment (week1) o Practicing with simple Arduino circuits (week 2) o IR Distance Sensor (week 3) o Ultrasonic Sensor (week 4) o DC Motor & Encoder.(Robot Odometry Design Brief issued)(week 5) o Odometry Exercise (week 6) Please note that the total time of this exercise is likely to last approximately 2-3 hours subject to the number of teams competing. Students are encouraged to observe and discuss the participation of the other teams. An award ceremony will be held at the end of the exercise. Note: Acoustical Engineering students transfer to the lecture series below after the week 6 Odometry Exercise. All other students continue with weeks 7 to 12. o Pressure Sensor (week 7) o 3-Axis Gyro (week 8) o Triple-axis Accelerometer Board (week 9) o Triple-axis Magnetometer (Compass) Board (week 10) o GPS (week 11) o Revision and Problem Solving Week (week 12) • Computer-based sessions followed by 45 min optional drop-in advice sessions (Acoustical Engineering only). (weeks 7-12) o FE modelling for acoustical systems design o Optimization of acoustical systems o Multiphysics: coupling electrical, mechanical and acoustical systems. SEMESTER 2 GROUP DESIGN PROJECT: • Lecture to introduce the Group Design Project brief options. (week 1(18)) • Computer-based optional drop in advice sessions (Acoustical Engineering only). (weeks 1-6(18-23)) • Workshop sessions associated with the Group Design Project within the Design Studios: (Including a 1 x 3hr introductory project briefing session and a 1 x 15min Interim Design Review) (weeks 1-11(18-32)) Workshop sessions are reserved for working on the Group Design Project within the Design Studios/ Workshops. Informal consultation opportunities with staff members are provided each week mainly within this time. Some sessions will clash with other timetabled activities. These clashes have been allowed for and groups are to arrange alternative times to meet and manage their time accordingly. Groups can use the Design Studios/ Workshops in addition to timetabled sessions, during open access times. • session to test the performance of the Group Design Project. (week 12(33)) Note: The date of this event may vary between design projects. Testing of the UAV and multirotor projects is subject to weather conditions.

Practical classes and workshops37
Completion of assessment task76
Preparation for scheduled sessions12
Follow-up work12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Mccomb, G (2011). Robot Builder's Bonanza. 4th ed.. 

Colin Simmons, Elsevier (2012). Manual of Engineering Drawing: Technical Product Specification and Documentation to British and International Standards. 

James Leake and Jacob Borgeson (2012). Engineering Design Graphics : Sketching, Modeling, and Visualization. 

Norris, D (2014).. Build your own quadcopter: power up your designs with the Parallax Elev-8. 

Software - Available on managed University computers. • SolidWorks (Student version also available to download for use on personal computers). • MATLAB • Arduino • Vanguard Studio (Student version also available to download for use on personal computers subject to VPN access). • A range of desktop publishing programmes.

Newell, P, Holland, K (2006).. Loudspeakers for Music Recording and Reproduction. 

Antonsson, E; Cagan, J (2001). Formal Engineering Design Synthesis. 

Prior, S. Barlow, C. Lewis, D. Erbill, M (Dec 2009).. S.I. Units (Revision) Playing Cards: Units, Symbols, Quantities, Equations & Abbreviations in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths. 

Raymer, D (2012).. Aircraft Design a Conceptual Approach. 5th ed. 

Otto, K. Wood, K (2000).. Product Design. 

Gomaa, H (2000). Designing Concurrent, Distributed and Real-time Applications with UML. 

Banzi, M (2011). Getting Started with Arduino. 2nd ed.. 

Margolis, M (2012).. Make an Arduino-Controlled Robot: 1st ed. 

Kossiakoff, A. Sweet, W. Seymour, S S. Biemer, (2011).. Systems Engineering Principles and Practice (Wiley Series in Systems Engineering and Management). 2nd ed. 

Gudmundsson, S (2013).. General Aviation Aircraft Design. 

Margolis, M (2012).. Arduino Cookbook. 2nd ed:. 

Abbott, I. Doenhoff, A (1960). Theory of Wing Sections. 

Tzivaras, V (2016).. Building a quadcopter with Arduino. 


Assessment Strategy

Group marks are awarded to students for exercises (except exercise 2). However, individual student marks can vary within a group should the assessors deem that there have been unequal contributions from the students within the group. All students are to complete a Group Assessment Form to comment on their and other group member’s contributions. A moderation meeting involving the project tutors and members of the Design Panel will be held at the end of semester 2 to moderate assessments. This module is coordinated with the co-requisite module FEEG2006 Engineering Management and Law. A proportion of the marks for FEEG2006 will be awarded for management practice associated with the Group Design Project of this module.


Weekly Design Exercises


MethodPercentage contribution
Design 50%
Design Report 40%
Exercise 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Design project 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Linked modules

Pre-requisite/s: FEEG1001 – Design and computing, FEEG1002 Mechanics, Structures & Materials, FEEG1004 Electrical and Electronics systems. Co-requisite/s: FEEG2006 Engineering Management and Law (except students on 5843 BSc Acoustics with Music)


To study this module, you will need to also study the following module(s):

FEEG2006Engineering Management and Law
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