Robotics and Control Engineers: Final Year Course Selection

Note: I am also posting this to r/cscareerquestions

Hi, I’m looking to plan for the start of my career, so I figured it was the right time to dive into this. I’m entering my final year of university in September (Studying Electrical & Mechanical Engineering), and they’ve given us a wide variety of options for the courses we can take (I didn’t have any choices up until now), so I’m trying to pick the best combination of courses to pursue a career in Robotics/Control. I should note that I engage in a additional self-learning (for example, I’m learning how to program PLCs and to use ROS based on the advice given to me in my last post), so a large part of why I am picking these courses is to convince a potential employer that I may be suitable for the job based on my academic credentials. I’ve also included the compulsory courses to give you a full picture of what’s offered.

*Sorry if this is a long post. I’ve written the course desciptions in italic so feel free to skip those!

COMPULSORY:

  1. Power Systems and Machines 4:

Steady State Behaviour of Synchronous Machines | Operation and Voltage Control of Synchronous Generators | Synchronous Generator Modelling: Control Systems and Stability | Operation of Distributed Generators in the Power Supply Systems | Balanced Per-unit Short Circuit Fault Analysis | Fault Analysis in Networks with Distributed Generators | Power System Protection Equipment | Overcurrent Protection: Operate Currents and Device Characteristics | Overcurrent Protection: Time and Amplitude Discrimination | Overcurrent Protection Case Study | Protection of Distributed Generators |

  1. Power Conversion 4:

Switch-mode power conversion | DC-DC conversion | AC-DC conversion | Power semiconductor devices | Switching Transients | Losses and thermal management | Passive components Applications (Power management, Machines drives, Power Systems) | Transient machine operation | DC motor and generator control | DC brushless machines | Constant V/f control of induction machines | Vector control of induction machines | Stepper motor drives | Doubly fed induction machines for wind energy | Case studies: electric vehicles & wind energy |

  1. Engineering Group Project:

I have the opportunity to join a group project for either a Power Generation project, or a MEMS-related project here. I think MEMS seems more applicable.

  1. Bachelors Thesis Project:

This project really depends on my luck with professors. I have fairly good rapport with my Controls Systems professor from last year, and he hosts a project involving a Ray-like robot that is meant to stabilize in water for various wave conditions.

OPTIONAL:

Here is where I need your help. I have to pick two courses for each Semester, and Semester 1 courses can’t be taken in Semester 2 (vice versa). I’ve only listed relevant courses.

Semester 1:

  1. Dynamics 4: **seems essential

The Lagrange method of analytical dynamics; covered applications include the analysis of the conditions for dynamic system stability. Wave propagation in continuous systems for lumped-parameter descriptions. Longitudinal and transverse waves and solutions to the corresponding differential equations. Vibration analysis of multi-degree of freedom systems to obtain frequencies (eigenvalues) and mode shapes (eigenvectors), and understand the use of Principal Coordinates in system response.

  1. Fluid Mechanics 4: **applicable to niche robotics, but I know turbulence is a big topic in MLC

Einstein notation and application to differential operations | Complex Variable Calculus | Continuity Eqn | Stresses and strain rate tensor; momentum Cauchy equation | Navier Stokes | Potential flow; vorticity, velocity potential, incompressible irrotational flow; Laplace solution, linear superposition | Flow past a Rankine oval and a circle, flow past a rotating circle and the Magnus effect, Kelvin’s circulation and Kutta-Joukowsky theorems, drag and d’Alembert’s paradox | Laminar Flow; Coulette and Poisseuile | Turbulent Flow; phenomology, Reynold’s averaged NS eqn; Reynold’s stress tensor, wall scales, Boussineq, turbulent viscosity | The universal Law of the wall, taxonomy of wall bounded flow | Moody diagram, k-type and d-type roughness | Phenomenology and taxonomy of BL flow, von Karman integral of the BL; displacement and momentum thickness | Blasius solution of the laminar BL eqn; power law for turbulent flow | Surface gravity waves: free surface boundary conditions, linearisation, separation of scales; propagation, dispersion, orbits, wave forces | Internal gravity waves: vorticity, propagation, dispersion, orbits | Capillary waves: properties including dispersion compared to surface waves |

  1. Living Materials and their Biomaterial replacements: **more applicable to medicine?

Soft materials and viscoelasticity | Linear and non-linear VE, time-dependent behaviours | An introduction to the living material | Muscle – ultrastructure, passive v’s contractile mechanical performance | Connective tissues ligament and tendon, ultrastructure, mechanical properties, soft tissue healing | Bone – cortical and cancellous ultrastructure, mechanical properties, bone healing | Vascular tissue – Arteries veins and capillaries, smooth muscle, biomechanical behaviour, blood flow management | Biocompatibilty – from clotting to the immune response | Sterilisation techniques and aseptic approaches | Metallic biomaterials – mechanical properties, corrosion, fretting and fatigue | Polymeric biomaterials – mechanical properties, oxidative embrittlement and inertness v’s biodegradability | Ceramic biomaterials – mechanical properties, brittleness and surface engineering | Tissue Engineering – pluripotent cells, scaffold materials and tissue constructs Regulation of biomaterials and ethical aspects |

Semester 2:

  1. Analog Circuits 4: **This is one of my favourite uni topics, so I’m definitely taking it

|Active 1st order section | Sallen-Key low pass sections and transfer function | Butterworth Approximation, transfer function, magnitude characteristic, pole-zero diagram, derivation of polynomial from pole locations, Order, Synthesis of low pass filters from specification | Chebyshev Approximation, Transfer function, magnitude characteristic, order , features, Denormalising low pass, synthesis | Filter Comparison and High Pass Comparison of Butterworth, Chebyshev and Bessel, High pass transform | Sensitivity analysis of filter sections to passive components, band pass and band stop, Effects of op-amp imperfections| Oscillators: Sine wave osc, Barkhausen Criterion, Phase shift osc, Wien Bridge osc, Amplitude control, Colpitts, Hartley, Clapp, Pierce oscillators, Sensitivity to active device parasitics and variations; Regenerative comparator | Waveform Generators: Simple relaxation osc, Triangle wave gen, Sawtooth wave gen, Voltage-controlled osc | Switched-capacitor circuit, replacement for a resistor, first order analysis, Full SC analysis in z-plane, design of SC active filters, Stray-insensitive SC circuits, biquad in SC form | Phase-locked loops, L17 PLL1, Analogue multipliers, Gilbert multiplier Linear phase detectors, XOR gate as a phase detector, L18 PLL2, PLL System diagram, noting that the VCO acts as an integrating element. First order PLLs, L19 PLL3 , Second order PLL, discussion | Lead-lag loop filter |

  1. Digital System Design 4: **I may be wrong, but this seems more related to computing and relevant architecture

Understand digital logic |Understand the different types of computer: embedded, PCs, data-centres, supercomputing and be able to evaluate the design trade-offs |Discern the differences between software and hardware description languages | Evaluate processor performance: CPU time, instruction count, CPI, benchmarks, power consumption and cost effectiveness | Evaluate the performance improvements from parallel computing architectures |

  1. Bio-Inspired Engineering: ** seems to have more relevance than DSD4, but let me know what you think.

Synthetic biomolecular nanostructures and their applications | Energy, forces and electricity in biology | Bio-inspired computers and robots | Apparatus for biological experiments | Biomanufacturing Safety and ethics | Current research in this area |Understand and use important biological terminology and principles | Describe, analyse and critically assess examples of bio-inspired engineering with reference to the advantages and limitations of the approaches used | Create solutions to engineering problems using ideas derived from biological systems | Appreciate cutting-edge research in the area of bio-inspired engineering|

Thanks to those who got this far, I really appreciate you taking the time to read through this to help a stranger out! Let me know what you think; I can provide more information (e.g. prior courses I’ve taken) if you need it.

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