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Advancing Instrumentation and Controls Instruction into a New Age

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  141949299,  2014 Montreal, Quebec Canada July 13 – July 16, 2014. (doi: 10.13031/aim.20141949299) @2014
Authors:   George E Meyer
Keywords:            Courseware, biological systems, sensors, electronics, measurements, controls.

Abstract. Modern biological, biomedical, and agricultural systems use electronic sensors, instrumentation, and computers for acquisition of scientific data and for process control. Instrumentation is used for commercial product development, testing, and for basic research. An engineering course which addresses measurement principles, sensors, software, and characteristics of instrumentation and control systems with a variety of hands-on student activities will be discussed. This is a required course for two ABET accredited biological and agricultural engineering degree programs at the University of Nebraska. Students of both programs participate and interact within this single course. The course assumes the student to be a junior, senior, or first year graduate student who has had an introductory electronics course and has completed a majority of the core and elective courses. The focus of student hands-on activities is through computer programming and hardware applications. An electronic text book written by the instructor is used. Weekly laboratory activities include electrocardiogram, pulse oximetry, proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control, human exercise machines, energy exchange and power measurement, insect detection and counting with optical sensors, pH controllers, and water flow measurements from small to large scale. Occasional activities have been developed as web-based bringing local research projects and instrumentation to the classroom. Student teams also develop and complete semester team projects starting around midterm. Student projects are presented as both papers and posters during an annual department open house. A summary of selected student projects for the past nine years and student assessments will be discussed.

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