ME 333 final projects

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See the ME 333 end of course schedule.

Final projects for ME 333 in years 2000-2007 can be found here.


ME 333 Final Projects 2010

Sample Project Title

Project photo caption.

You can copy and paste this wiki code to start your wiki page (but don't erase this code). Then replace this text with your own. A few sentences describing what your project does, with a link to a youtube video. Look at other final project wiki pages for ideas, but see ME 333 end of course schedule for more information on what should be included on your wiki page.

Conservation of Angular Momentum Locomotion Robot (Fluffbot)

Project photo caption.

You can copy and paste this wiki code to start your wiki page (but don't erase this code). Then replace this text with your own. A few sentences describing what your project does, with a link to a youtube video. Look at other final project wiki pages for ideas, but see ME 333 end of course schedule for more information on what should be included on your wiki page.

Differential Drive Mobile Robot

Project photo caption.

The goal of this project was to create a small differential drive mobile robot that would act as a low cost replacement for the popular E-Puck Robot. The robot uses hybrid stepper motors to allow it to track its position through odometry, has a laser cut acrylic chassis for easy replication and replacement, and a 1500 mAh, 13.2V battery pack for long run time. The robot also uses the NU32 board for its control logic and a XBee chip for communication.

Ferrofluid Art Display

Place holder text for caption .

A little blurb about our Ferrofluid Art Display will go here. Just a few sentences talking about blah blah lkasjdfal hfalsdjh.

Can Launching Fridge

Project photo caption.

The goal of the can launching fridge was to create a fridge that would, when initiated by either a remote control or a wired push button, automatically load, aim, and fire a can to multiple predetermined locations.

High Speed Motor Control

Project photo caption.

The project suggested was to design a system for high speed motor control using the PIC 32. To demonstrate the motor control, a two degree of freedom (2-DOF) parallelogram robot arm was designed to follow paths specified in a MATLAB gui.

ME 333 Final Projects 2009

Mozart's Right Hand

Mozart's Right Hand

Mozart's Right Hand is a musical instrument capable of playing two full octaves of the Diatonic Scale. The user wears a glove on his right hand and uses motions of the hand and fingers to create different notes that are played with a speaker. The pitch of the note is controlled by the orientation of the user's hand as he rotates it ether from the wrist, the elbow, or the shoulder. The LCD on the front of the box tells the user the pitch that corresponds to his or her current hand orientation. When the user touches together his thumb and index finger, the speaker plays the tone. A video of Mozart's Right Hand in action is available on YouTube.

Chosen the OUTSTANDING PROJECT by the students of ME 333.

Persistence-of-Vision Display

Persistence of Vison Display

This is a fully customizable display implemented using the concept of Persistence of Vision. User-specified images (and even moving images) were displayed by rotating a column of LEDs at speeds faster than 300rpm. Each individual LED was modeled as a row of pixels. Conversely, the rotational position of the panel of LEDs represented the pixel columns of the display; the time interval and rotational speed determined the width of the pixel columns.

Rock Paper Scissors Machine

Rock Paper Scissors Machine

A machine that will play a fully functioning, intuitive game of Rock/Paper/Scissors (abbreviated as RPS) with a user. The machine is represented by a human-like hand, capable of seperate and independant wrist, arm, finger and thumb motion. The players' hand goes into a glove equipped with flex sensors, which wirelessly transmits data to the machine based on what the player chose. The machine then reads this data, randomly chooses a throw of its own, and displays what the machine threw, what the human threw, total win/loss/tie info, and winner/loser both on an LCD screen and in the form of a thumbs up/down/side motion. Video of the machine in action can be found here.

Three-speaker Chladni Patterns

Chladni 660hz

This project uses three speakers to generate shapes on a circular aluminum plate depending on which frequency the speakers are playing at. Once the speakers hit a resonant frequency of the plate, salt migrates to the nodes (zero amplitude) regions of the plate to form distinct patterns.



This project consists of a throwing arm propelled by a Pittman motor is mounted on a turntable and throws the ball into the "hoop." The hoop is wrapped in reflective tape and an IR emitter, receiver pair is used to sense where the IR is reflected most (the hoop with highly reflective tape). An ultrasonic sensor then pings the hoop for the distance of the hoop. With this information, the arm is able to "make a basket." A video can be found here.

Robot Drummer

Robot Drummer

The Robot Drummer is a device that demonstrates high-speed motor control by being able to drum when given commands. Through an RS232 cable, Matlab sends commands to a "master" PIC. The master then sends the commands to two "slave" PICs through I2C communication. The slaves take the commands and implement PID control of the motors.

Automated Fish Refuge

Entire Fish Refuge

The automated fish refuge allows for the controlled movement of a fish refuge with the goal of recording specific behavior. The mechanical design is completely adjustable and allows adjustable degrees of oscillating movement and orientation of the refuge. The program is primarily in MATLAB for ease of use and the velocity profile can be a sine, square, triangle, or any function that the user inputs. Check out the video!


The Marionette Project focused on using RC Servos to make a puppet that would do a dance with the press of a button. There were 5 different dances programmed for the marionette, showcasing different styles of movement. The movement had 2 degrees of freedom thanks to using 5 bar linkages and 2 RC servos for each arm. Two more RC Servos were used on the back of the marionette to create the appearance of leg movement. The movements included a Hula dance, Jumping Jacks, and even some moves right out of Saturday Night Fever.



The monkeybot is a swinging robot capable of moving side to side and climbing. It consists of a two link, double pendulum system with an electro-magnet on each end. At the pivot is a DC motor, which provides an input torque and allows the swinging system to gain energy and climb. Check out the video of the monkeybot climbing here and a later brachiation video here.

PPOD-mini: 6-DOF Shaker

PPOD-mini 6-DOF Shaker

The PPOD-mini is a miniaturized version of the Programmable Part-feeding Oscillatory Device (PPOD) found in the Laboratory for Intelligent Mechanical Systems (LIMS) at Northwestern. The PPOD-mini utilizes six speakers that act like actuators. The speakers are connected to a acrylic plate via flexures of tygon and iron. In its current implementation, the phase of the speakers can be controlled independently, giving the device six degrees of freedom. The movement of objects placed on the acrylic plate can be controlled by changing the phases of the speakers.

Automated Xylophone

Automated Xylophone

The Automated Xylophone controls several solenoids which hit various pitches on an actual xylophone based on the note selected. The device has two main modes: using the keypad, a user can choose to either play notes in real time or store songs to be played back later. A video of the Automated Xylophone playing in real time mode can be found here.

Vision-based Cannon

Vision-based Cannon

This project uses a webcam and Matlab to analyze an image and direct a modified USB Missile Launcher to fire at targets found in the image.

ME 333 Final Projects 2008

IR Tracker

IR Tracker Main.jpg

The IR Tracker (aka "Spot") is a device that follows a moving infrared light. It continuously detects the position of an infrared emitter in two axes, and then tracks the emitter with a laser. See Spot Run.

Chosen the OUTSTANDING PROJECT by the students of ME 333.

Robot Snake


This remote control robotic snake uses servo motors with a traveling sine wave motion profile to mimic serpentine motion. The robotic snake is capable of moving forward, left, right and in reverse.

Video of the robot snake

Featured on

Programmable Stiffness Joint

The 'Steel Toe' programmable stiffness joint

The Programmable Stiffness Joint varies rotational stiffness as desired by the user. It is the first step in modeling the mechanical impedance of the human ankle joint (both stiffness and damping) for the purpose of determining the respective breakdown of the two properties over the gait cycle.

Magnetic based sample purification

Continuously Variable Transmission

CVT system.JPG

This prototype is a proof of concept model of a variable ratio transmission to be implemented in the 2008-2009 Formula SAE competition vehicle. The gear ratio is determined by the distances between the pulley halves which are controllable electronically.

Granular Flow Rotating Sphere


This device will be used to study the granular flow of particles within a rotating sphere. The sphere is filled with grains of varying size and then rotated about two different axes according to a series of position and angular velocity inputs.

Vibratory Clock

Vibratory Clock

The Vibratory Clock allows a small object to act as an hour "hand" on a horizontal circular platform that is actuated from underneath by three speakers. The object slides around the circular platform, impelled by friction forces due to the vibration. Check it out!



The WiiMouse is a handheld remote that can be used to move a cursor on a windows-based PC, via accelerometer input captured through device movement.

Intelligent Oscillation Controller

ME333 learning oscillator.jpg

This device "learns" a forcing function that is applied to a spring and mass system to match an arbitrary, periodic acceleration profile.


Sweet Baseball Game

An interactive baseball game inspired by pinball, featuring pitching, batting, light up bases and a scoreboard to keep track of the game.

Ball Balancing Challenge


An interactive game involving ball balancing on a touchscreen with touchscreen feedback and joystick action.

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