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Electrical engineering majors are required to complete a capstone project in their senior year.  We have a two semester course offering, Design Project I and II which takes the student through a rigorous and structured design process, Revolutionizing Product Development (Wheelright and Clark, Free Press, New York, 1992), leading to a formal design review at the end of the first semester and project presentations at the completion of the course.

These projects give the student an opportunity to practice and combine concepts from courses in the EE curriculum and individual interests.  Occasionally, a student will use a capstone experience to explore a technical topic, perhaps an independent study that didn’t fit into the student’s course planning. 

Some examples of capstone experiences include:

  • “Robo-Claw”
    A microcontroller based vehicle with multiple sensors and actuators to detect and pick up objects under program control.
  • Wireless Process Control Interfacing
    Interfacing process control computers to various process sensors, like temperature, volume and pressure, via a wireless link.  This project was sponsored by a local drug manufacturer who had a problem with interface cabling costs and reliability.  The Merrimack student developed a lower cost solution.
  • Microcontroller based sneaker prototype
    The sneaker has “built-in” capability for computing a runner’s pace, distance and running duration.

Other capstone concepts include:

  • Speaker design/acoustic performance
  • Magnetic train propulsion and control
  • Self-balancing vehicle
  • Cell-phone interface to the Windows operating system
  • “Air-keyboard/mouse” interface to a PC
  • Low-dropout voltage regulator integrated circuit (fabricated through MOSIS)
  • Guitar sound effects processor (DSP)