Table-Top Robotics for Engineering Design

  • CDR Vince Wilczynski
  • Gregg Dixon
  • LCDR Eric J. Ford


The Mechanical Engineering Section at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy has developed a comprehensive activity based course to introduce second year students to mechanical engineering design. The culminating design activity for the course requires students to design, construct and test robotic devices that complete engineering challenges. Teams of students are provided with a standard kit of parts consisting of metal hardware and fasteners, motors, connecting wires and a programmable remote control system. The teams use these materials to design and construct robotic devices that accomplish a simulated maritime mission. The kit of parts is reusable and requires no machine-shop support to create the robotic devices, thereby making this project portable and scalable. The experience is modeled on the capstone design activity and is a useful tool for introducing engineering design to a wide audience.