Undergraduate Program > Course Projects

Mechatronics Group Projects Earns "2015 Gadget of the Year" from Design News Magazine

The DDV-IP, or, a Drink Deliver Vehicle – Inverted Pendulum, started out as an audacious undertaking but, this MECH 307 group was thirsty for a challenge, and it paid off!  Students Doug Swift, Tyler Reedy, Rob Harvey, and Michael Habel weren’t sure they could pull it off as the skills and software required were complicated – but the team was determined.

The course, taught by Dr. Alciatore, didn’t require that all groups work on the same project, givingMech 307 students the opportunity to conceptualize a unique device.  “There was a group of us and we had to incorporate six different features, including items such as an Arduino, manual input, drivers, motors, and sensors,” said Swift. “Other than that, it was freeform.”

The dedicated team spent more than four months designing and building the complex. Harvey came up with the concept during a brainstorm session, and Habel did the majority of the coding. “The most difficult part was getting the control system to work. None of us had the experience in control systems. We could see the logic, but it took trial and error to get it to work” said Harvey.

Mech 307 image 2The concept is a two-wheeled, self-balancing robot controlled by a wireless RF remote and fit with a fancy LED-lit serving tray. With the title, 2015 Gadget of the Year, the team received $6000! They soon went on to present at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing event in Anaheim, Calif., in February.

Unfortunately, two weeks after the project was complete, Habel died unexpectedly. “We came out of this learning a lot, and we attribute that to Michael,” said Swift. “We worked together very well, and that made the project possible.”




This piece is in memory of Michael Habel, who passed away unexpectedly in June 2014.