Are you interested in studying engineering with a hands on approach? Want to know more about technology and how it is being applied out in the real world? We spoke to Sam Wane, a senior lecturer for engineering, about his specialism in control systems and the different projects being put to the test in our labs.
Sam teaches electronic control systems, highlighting to students the precise nature in which computers can control devices by calibrating received information to form the desired reaction. This information may be used to control something as simple as a light switch or on a much larger scale for auto piloting aircraft.
"Programming and electronics," he said, "is all about putting technology into action. We're trying to create more streamlined technology that can be useful in day to day life.
"We take our theory and put it into practise; you can look out the window and see it in action, with machinery of all kinds at work, as well as technology at work in the lab spaces too. It’s a hands on approach to learning where the students get to be practical as well as theoretical.”
Some of these projects are led by students, working on their own research ideas. One such project is with the use of a robotic arm in relation to lettuce seeds. When the seeds are planted, they are done so in 'plug' devices to keep the leaves higher than any growing weeds. However, if a plant is to die, the robot arm acts to analyse the space and remove the plug before replacing it with a growing lettuce seed to produce the greatest yield. Overall, this would help to minimise time out in the field trying to locate dying plants when technology would speed up this process.
Sam also gave advice for prospective students interested in control engineering, saying, "If you are coming into engineering, particularly with a focus on control, I would recommend researching the Hackspace Foundation to meet fellow engineers; Maker Faire for a showcase of tech enthusiasm; as well as Arduino, a piece of technology that we use here at Harper. These sites are a great source of inspiration and encouragement for newcomers to the field."
For more information about what you can learn with us here at Harper Adams, you can view our courses for undergraduate mechanical engineering as well as postgraduate applied mechatronic engineering to find out more.