ELEC 201 was developed and initiated at Rice by Dr. John K. Bennett in 1994. The following year Dr. James F. Young joined him, and they team-taught the course through 1999, when Dr. Bennett left Rice to join the faculty at the University of Colorado.
Many individuals and companies contributed to the development of this course. Fred Martin developed the widely emulated M.I.T. 6.270 IAP course patterned as a ``Robot Design Competition''. His approach to teaching engineering design has proven so successful that his ideas have been adapted at many schools across the country. Dr. Bennett contacted Fred Martin about adapting his materials for use in ELEC 201 at Rice, and he graciously gave his permission to work from the LaTeX source of his course notes.
The Electronic Assembly Technique section is based on a previous version written by Pankaj Oberoi of M.I.T. The chapter on LEGO Design was originally co-authored by Fred Martin and Randy Sargent, both of M.I.T. The chapter on Basic Mechanics was originally written by David Hindman, and revised by Brendan Daly. The material on Basic Electronics was originally co-authored by J. Patrick Frantz and David Hindman, and was extensively rewritten by Jim Young. Randy Sargent is the main author of the description of the Interactive C. The IC Tutorial was created by Jake Schneider, derived from an experiemental tutorial in C syntax developed by by Brian Stuart at Rhodes College.
A number of students at Rice have contributed to the success of ELEC 201 and to these notes. For the first version, Kymberly Maxham, our resident poet, labored to make the documentation accessible to individuals who are not science or engineering majors. In 1996, Patrick Frantz, Brendan Daly, and Jennifer Ngo, our new resident poet, all made major contributions. In the summer of 1997, Patrick Hearon and Alexis Beidenfeld put these notes online and made them more readable by humans, and in 1998, Anne Countiss made the on-line version of the book a reality.
The robot controller board used in the Rice ELEC 201 course, and described here, was designed by Dr. John Bennett, but derives from the M.I.T. 6.270 board set co-designed by Fred Martin and Randy Sargent. Chris Kastensmidt and Hermann Gartler spent the summer of 1994 making the Rice ELEC 201 board set, and its associated software, a reality. In the summer of 1995, Patrick Frantz, Hermann Gartler, and David Hindman continued to improve the course hardware, software, and documentation, as well as solving some thorny problems with parts availability. The summer of 1996 saw a redesign of the ELEC 201 board set by Patrick Frantz and Brendan Daly to improve reliability. In the summer of 1997, we further improved board reliability, and Kevin Rennie and Mara Prandi-Abrams redesigned the IR beacon and battery charger boards. In the summer of 1998, we made a few cosmetic changes to the board set, and partially ported the software to the Win32 API. Kevin Rennie managed the former task, Amy Brock the later. John Bachir finished the Win32 porting job in 1999, and assisted in the move to the Windows NT machines presently in the lab.
The first year that ELEC 201 was offered, a dedicated group of lab assistants, including Hermann Gartler, Chris Kastensmidt, Amy Mellor, Evan Speight, and Mike Wu, made up for a lot of rough edges with a lot of hard work. Subsequent lab assistants who made significant contributions include Mara Prandi-Abrams, John Bachir, Alexis Beidenfeld, Amy Brock, Anne Countiss, Brendan Daly, Sarah Densmore, Patrick Frantz, Hermann Gartler, Patrick Hearon, David Hindman, Chris Kastensmidt, Kymberly Maxham, Amy Mellor, A.J. Moore, Jennifer Ngo, David Parker, Kevin Rennie, Jake Schneider, Evan Speight, and Mike Wu. A.J. Moore handled scores of details to get ready for the fall 1998 class. In the summer of 1999, Sarah Densmore, David Parker, and Jake Schneider labored to get the lab ready. Stuart Sinclair and Scott Noel had that job for Fall 2000.
This course would not have been possible without the substantial funding and other support provided by the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University. From the beginning, Dallas Semiconductor, Inc. has donated the 32K x 8 non-volatile static RAM used on the RoboBoard each year. We would also like to thank the folks at S.W. Teacher's Supply for a good deal on LEGO parts. Alan Mundy, the President and CEO of Chem-Lab Circuit Corporation, has been particularly patient and supportive of our project.
The Notes portion of this document was typeset by the LaTeX text formatting system. The psfig macro was used to include PostScript figures, and dvips was used to create final PostScript output. Many diagrams were created with the idraw X-windows-based drawing program, distributed by the M.I.T. Athena computer network. The commercial program IslandDraw was used to edit postscript figures from other sources. Electrical circuit schematics were drawn using the the Viewlogic Systems PowerView CAD suite of tools. Printed circuit board artwork was created using the PADS Perform PCB design suite.
The html version was generated using the LaTeX2HTML translator Version 97.1 (release) (July 13th, 1997), Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, Nikos Drakos, Computer Based Learning Unit, University of Leeds. The command line arguments were: latex2html -split 3 -link 3 -t Elec 201 1998 Course Notes -dir htmlout -html_version 3.2,math -local_icons ./legodoc/htmlnotes.tex. The translation was initiated by jkb on 9/19/1998, and edited using Micrsoft Frontpage. Subsequent editing and modifications were made by JFY using Macromedia's Dreamweaver.