Guidelines for projects at RaM

AVAILABLE ASSIGNMENTS

See the list at: https://www.ram.ewi.utwente.nl/assignments/

Start and progress of the project

At the start of the project the supervisor(s) and the student agree on the type of project, the global planning etc. In consultation with the lab manager a desk in the lab will be assigned. An appointment will be made for at least one progress meeting. In the first progress meeting the student will deliver a written version of the assignment, based on the information provided by the supervisor in the first meeting at the start of the project. This provides feedback how well the assignment given is understood by the student. In this first meeting the assignment has to be finalized. The assignment should not be longer than ½ A4. The assignment should be handed over to the secretary. She will take care that it is published at the RAM website. It should clearly state the idea behind the project and the goals that should be achieved. The first progress meeting is also the moment for delivering a more detailed planning.

In general you will have a regular contact with your daily supervisor. Approximately once every four to six weeks there will be a meeting with all supervisors. For these meetings it is effective to deliver (a few days in advance) an, in all cases, short progress report (not more than 3 A4’s. These reports should consist of at least:

  • An overview of the planned activities
  • An overview of the activities carried out
  • An planning for the next period

Computers for word processing including (project-specific) templates are available for students working on projects but in busy periods ‘technical computing’ activities, like modeling, simulation and controller design have priority. Printers are available for printing reports etc., related to the project. An account which gives you access to the computers can be obtained through the secretariat. Further information on the use of the computers can be obtained from the system manager, ing. G.A. te Riet o.g. Scholten. When he is absent the other technician, ing. M.H. Schwirtz, can help.

Typical workflow during the project:

In the first month of the project you will write your own assignment (max. ½ A4). The assignment is signed by the members of the committee, given to the student administration and will placed on the website.

Typical progress of a project:

33% 66% 100%
After one month:
assignment ready.
At the end of this period: detailed planning ready
Core of the project activities. 
To be completed with a demo
Final report. Refinements in the project work.
End: Presentation
In a BSc project:
After maximum two weeks: assignment ready
idem idem

Working hours

A regular progress of the work requires that during the project you will be present and active in the lab within the normal working hours, i.e. between 9:00 - 12:30 and 13:30 – 17:30. This is especially important when others depend on the results of your work. Outside the normal working hours (after 18:00) you have only access to the building when you have a pass. In this case you need access to the keys of the lab. Please contact ing. M.H. Schwirtz for the right code.
When you leave a lab after 17:30 and you are the last one to leave, you must switch off all working equipment and switch off the lights. Also close the windows and put the key of the lab on its proper place. Of course do not switch equipment off where it is indicated that it should not be switched off.

For safety reasons, when you work on a real set up, other than a desktop computer, always two persons should be present. For larger equipment, extra safety measures may be in effect

Reporting

Make an early start with producing concepts of the chapters of your report. These concepts are discussed first with the daily supervisor. When it is ‘final’ the (chapters of the) report are discussed with all committee members. The text should in this stage be free of spelling and grammar errors. Before you start the actual writing it is important to make an outline of the complete report. Make use of what you have learned in the course on technical writing..

A typical report could contain the following chapters:

  1. Introduction (global problem statement, background, relation to the work of others)
  2. ‘Modelling’ (more detailed analysis of the problem, mathematical models to be used and or developed)
  3. Design (e.g. controller design, or design of a setup)
  4. Results (simulations, experiments, measurements, etc.)
  5. Conclusions and suggestions
  6. Appendices
  7. References

Topics not important for the main line in the report, e.g. details of mathematical derivations, could better be put in an appendix. Keep the report itself as short as possible. The ideal is a scientific paper not longer than 25 pages. If you lack the time to write such a short report, your report may not exceed 50 pages for an MSc thesis (excluding appendices). For shorter assignments 25 pages is the maximum.

Refer to references as follows:

The root locus method (Dorf, 1989) is a useful tool for controller design. Mirolo (1989) describes the use of a camera as a sensor in an integrated measurement and path-planning system.

In the list of references you order these references in alphabetical order, according to the family name of the first author:

Dorf, Richard C., 1989, Modern Control Systems, Fifth Edition, Addison Wesley.
Mirolo, Claudio, 1989, A Solid Modeling System for Robot Action Planning. IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications, January 1989, pp. 55-69.

Reports, in particular MSc reports, are written in English. If you have really problems with writing in English, BSc reports may be written in Dutch. This is not encouraged because it limits the use of your results by colleagues. Writing reports in English is a good exercise for your future jobs. The report should preferably have the format of a publication. This can be helpful when the work is worth to be published at a conference or in a Scientific Journal. The final report must be completely ready (approved by the committee and complete with a cover) not later than one week before the oral presentation. The title page and report number can be obtained from the secretary. Reading (parts of) a report takes some time. Giving it to your supervisors one day before a meeting is therefore not acceptable.

The paper originals become property of the chair Robotics and Mechatronics. You have to deliver these to the secretariat. All software developed during the project and the word processor files of the report must be transferred to your supervisor (preferably on the network disk, after consulting ing. G.A. te Riet o.g. Scholten). Without completing these transfers, your grade for the project cannot be sent to the student administration.

Presentations

MSc and BSc projects are completed by giving a presentation in English. The written report must be completed one week before this presentation in order to enable that a final mark is being given after the presentation. For shorter (BSc-) projects the time slot for a presentation is 20 minutes (followed by 10 minutes discussion). For MSc thesis projects the time slot is 30 minutes (followed by 15 minutes discussion). Presentations must not be shorter or longer than the above-mentioned time slots.

Giving a good presentation requires proper preparations. Not every one is a talent by nature, but everyone can learn the basics of good presentations. Attend presentations by other students and by staff members and guests in the two-weekly colloquium. This not only broadens your view on the area of systems and control, but also helps to see what is good and not so good in these presentations. Therefore it makes sense also to watch these aspects during presentations.

The target audience of all presentations are the staff members and students (including those considering to do a project in Robotics and Mechatronics) of the chair Robotics and Mechatronics. Although family members are welcome at these presentations, the content should be not be at the level of a general or non-technical audience. On the other hand, presentations should mainly focus on the headlines of the project and not go too much into detail. A presentation could globally follow the ordering of topics in the report.
Presentations are given with a beamer. However, illustrations from the report are certainly not automatically suited for a presentation with a beamer. Use lines of a proper width and take care that the illustrations can be read in the back of the lecture room, even when the beamer appears not to be so bright as anticipated. Limit yourself in the number of pages in your presentation. You could consider to exercise the presentations with colleague students.

Take care that you talk loudly and clearly. This indicates that you are sure of what your are telling and that at least yourself believes that a good piece of work is being presented. And it will keep the audience awake. If applicable after the presentation a demonstration can be given in the lab.

Keep in mind that the presentation is part of the project and is counted accordingly in the final mark you will obtain and that therefore, it should be of a good technical content.

Completion of a project

A project is only completed and a mark will only be given when all requirements have been fulfilled:

  • the text of your report should be available in hard ands soft copy at the secretariat
  • all software, word processor files and the files of your presentation should be placed on the server (after consulting the system manager and your supervisor) for archiving, duly organized in a directory structure
    • your work place in the lab has been tidied up. In case of using a set up, check with your supervisor and the lab manager.