Students work in groups of approximately five students each. The group has to design, realize, test and evaluate a significant and innovative product in the context of “Sensing Systems for Sustainability”. The product must relate to future food, water or air quality. This means it may relate to topics ranging from production and processing to sales and consumption.
The product needs to be developed to the level of a tangible, technical prototype, a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) aiming for an innovative product using a robot or drone equipped with sensors to acquire data. Furthermore, the result of the project includes performing field experiments and processing the acquired data into a meaningful visualization.
During the course the students go through a pre-set design process (following steps as described in the Lecture notes on Moodle). In short, this encompasses 7 phases:
1. a) Research question: look at future food, water or air quality challenges in Zeeland, the Nether- lands, the world in which the acquisition of data can give more clarity, increase efficiency, enhance sustainability, etc. This includes arguments in the technical, agricultural, social, political and eco- nomic context. After setting this reference frame, the students are challenged to describe and select a research question. The challenge is to focus on “desirability” in this stage.
2. b) Concepting: use brainstorming, “shitty” –or Lo-Fi– prototyping, functional analysis to determine innovative, feasible solutions to the research question.
3. c) Preliminary Design: set up a set of necessary (tech and non-tech) product specifications and use that to select the best desirable and feasible solution and develop that to a presentable mock-up (which demonstrates shape and function).
4. d) Detailed design: The chosen preliminary design needs to be optimized to lead to a well-balanced MVP (robot/drone and data acquisition/processing). In this phase detailed calculations on for example power, price, size, etc. need to ensure that the MVP will be able to fulfil the desired product specifications.
5. e) Realization: Producing and ordering of parts, learning to use fit-tests and bread boarding to ensure that the chosen parts and components fit together. In this phase the total assembly of the product takes place.
6. f) Evaluation: Perform tests and modify the product in a model environment to proof that the MVP answers to the product specifications.
7. g) Consolidate: The evaluation must lead to a clear status of your MVP, proof or disproof the desirability and feasibility of your product and give indications (predict/estimate) of the viability of your design as a market product.
Regular workshops will be offered during the semester to support students on different project-phases. Furthermore, the students will be invited to join in visits/excursions and guest lectures.