Quick intro to designing feedback controllers


Prerequisites: High school-level algebra, some exposure to programming, and importantly, an interest in the challenge of more open-ended design labs. 

Load: 2 P.M. - 5 P.M. on Jan. 17 - 20 (Four 3-hour sessions over one week)

Time Outside Class: Approx. 5 hours for the week

Special Instructions: Bring laptop to class


This course will be a one-week lab-focused introduction to controls focused on discrete time modeling and control of systems using microcontrollers (Teensy3.2 and/or Teensy 3.5/6 ARM development boards) and a number of system artifacts (quadcopter propellers and combinations of propellers, inverted pendulum, etc...). We'll be carrying out portions of already-developed and newly developed lab modules from 6.302 and the 6.302x series we've been developing, so in some sense this course is a workshop. There will be some light homework associated with the class (~1 hour per day or less), but we'll only be working in lab (no lectures) and relying on readings and in-lab discussions for establishing concepts. In this on-campus IAP class, the labs will NOT be streamlined or plug-and-play, students should expect a more realistic engineering experience. We are also open to students carrying out mini-projects focused on control within the course if they fit within the goals of the curriculum. Students should be prepared to work in pairs, be inspired by problems where determining the approach is as important as executing on that approach, and they should be comfortable with simple circuits, basic mechanics, and modifying short programs in C and/or Python.