Practical EngineeringI hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. - Confucius Ashwith Jerome Rego email@example.com http://ashwith.wordpress.com
What is it?• College lab experiments - not the way youre doing it now.• Smaller experiments - because the labs cannot cover everything.• Projects - Thats why youre here today.• Exploring beyond the syllabus• Teaching is the best way to learn
Why should you care?• Improves your Résumé (Thats what everyone really cares about isnt it? ;-))• Get a feel of how R&D works.• What did Confucius say again?• Strengthens understanding - Interviews will be a piece of cake!• Bragging rights! :-)• Syllabus becomes more interesting.• Marks arent everything. Projects really show what you know.• Thats how things get discovered or invented• The most important reason - Its fun!
Whats important?• Know the theory first - know it well.• Try to create something small from what youve just learned.• Build up from here.• DO NOT COPY! Work hard, struggle, design it yourself. It feels great in the end!• Share what you create. Teaching is the best way to learn.• Keep it Simple. Have Fun.
The Fun part: Projects• Do your homework. Study the required material. Do a thorough literature survey.• Plan a schedule (with your mentor). Set deadlines and stick to them.• Document your work from the beginning.• Work hard. "Pick a formula and substitute" doesnt always work. Get your hands dirty. Thats how we had fun as kids :-)• Be independent. If you dont get it right do everything you can to figure it out yourself. Your mentor should be your last resort.• Regular updates - Keep your mentor informed.
Where do I start?• If you want to build circuits, learn to solder. Its easy, takes a few minutes to learn and only a day or two to master.• If youre going to code, learn to do it right.• Your college lab. Dont complain. Its much better than you think.• Simulation tools.• Cheap boards and equipment.• Contests, tech fests.• Workshops.
Basic Equipment• Multimeter x 2• Soldering Iron• Breadboards• General Purpose PCBs• Basic components: assorted resistors, capacitors, op-amps, transistors, wires (or any analog starter kit), sensors, motors.• Batteries: 12V, 9V, 5V.
More Equipment• Power supply• Soldering station• Oscilloscope
Embedded Systems• Platforms: 8051, Arduino (or any other Atmel platform), MSP430, PIC.• Software: Keil evaluation edition, Arduino IDE, CCS Studio limited edition, GCC.• First learn to read from various sensors as well as control actuators such as motors, LCD displays and simple display LEDs.• Start with simple projects which directly use these sensors. Thermometers, light detectors and motion sensors.• Move to the next level: Robots, manufacturing plant controllers (remember what youve learned in Control systems).
Analog Design• Be thorough with the theory first. Analog circuits, signals and systems, controls systems are important subjects.• Simulation tools: o gEDA: http://www.gpleda.org/ o Online Tools: https://www.circuitlab.com/• Design on paper. Verify with simulation. Then go ahead and build.
Digital Design• Platforms: Discrete ICs, PLDs, FPGAs.• Pick either Verilog or VHDL.• Design + Verification. Very few know the latter.• Understand the entire workflow - from architecture specification to synthesis.• Automation using Scripts. Perl, Shell Scripting.• OVM, UVM and SystemVerilog, SystemC.
Software• Get familiar with any *nix environment. Then slowly become an expert.• Concentrate more on how to design and think about a program. Languages are secondary.• Learn to write fast efficient programs (Algorithm design/selection). Not everyone has a fast multi-core CPU with a lot of RAM.• Coding style and standards compliance is important.• Raspberry Pi: http://www.raspberrypi.org/ Gertboard• Android/iOS/Windows Mobile/Java.
Free Resources• Fedora Electronic Lab (GNU/Linux)• Scilab, Octave• Maxima, Sagemath• Libraries: LAPACK, OpenCV, NumPy, SciPy• Online Courses o edX: https://www.edx.org/ o Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/ o Udacity: http://www.udacity.com/• Use the right books!• Use the right software!
Sharing is caring• Blogs and websites: o Ashwith http://ashwith.wordpress.com/ o Flip flop http://msuraj.wordpress.com/ o Infinity Redefined http://msharmavikram.wordpress.com/• Workshops• Online Forums• Remember: Teaching is the best way to learn! (I wont repeat that again :-))• Résumé boost.
Rewind...• Always start small.• Understand why things work.• Plan thoroughly. Break everything into manageable bits.• Be patient. Projects are hard and it takes time. Thats how the industry is as well.• Learn because you want to and you like it.• If its not fun its not worth it. Find out what really is your passion.• Share what you learn.• Open-hardware, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).• Protecting your work - licenses.• Learning never stops after college!