One goal of the Ideas Clinic is to integrate course concepts and practical engineering. In the Fuel Cell Car project, first-year Mechatronics students are asked to assemble, program, debug, and analyze a small vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
This two-month long project connects three separate courses: GENE 121 (Digital Computation, a programming course), MTE 100 (Introduction to Mechatronics Engineering), and CHE 102 (Chemistry for Engineers).
The project involves teams of students preparing a small electric car - controlled with a microcontroller, driven by electric motors, and powered by hydrogen fuel cells - to compete in a friendly competition amongst their peers (awards included). This project serves as many students’ first introduction to a microcontroller, while also providing context for concepts learned in Chemistry.