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Welcome to the ELEC 201 home page, the course also known as LEGO Lab.

This hands-on course immerses students in an engineering design and problem solving team process that exposes them to the challenges and rewards of practicing engineers. The course targets two groups. First, freshmen and sophomores who are considering an engineering major but who want more information on the principles of engineering design and the profession. Second, non-engineering majors who want to experience and understand the design process that creates the technology that permeates today's economy, society, and political decisions. Enrollment is limited to those two groups of students. The course is completely self-contained, assumes no prerequisites, and is intended for all majors.

Teams of three students design, construct, and program a small autonomous robot to engage in a competition at the end of the semester. The contest is open to the public. The robot is assembled from LEGO building blocks, electro-mechanical components, sensors, and a microprocessor. It must be able to navigate around the playing surface and successfully interact with game objects, including the opposing robot, all without human intervention. The engineering challenge for each team is to devise a game strategy, and to design and build the mechanics and software to implement their strategy within the rules of the game and the available materials. During the process the participants are exposed to issues that confront every practicing engineer, such as working within constraints, using available technology, design tradeoffs, iterative design, team dynamics, and meeting project specifications, milestones, and time constraints.

Students considering enrolling should read the material on the Registration and Requirements page. Enrollment is limited by the available laboratory space. Because of the focus of the class, junior and senior engineering majors may not enroll (they should be concentrating on their capstone design projects).

This is an expensive course to run. In addition to Rice University and the Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering, we would like to thank our industrial sponsor Freescale Semiconductor. Please see the Acknowledgement of the many people who have made this course possible.

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