44 student teams were given RP2040s to create anything. Here’s what they made

By: Syl Kacapyr

A smart baton for conducting an imaginary orchestra, a gesture-controller kitchen carousel, an autonomous luggage following system, and lots of video games.

Forty-four student teams were given Raspberry Pi 2040 microcontroller chips to design and engineer their own projects as part of the fall ECE4760 course Digital Systems Design Using Microcontrollers.

The course is instructed by Hunter Adams, lecturer in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who said the course produced more projects in the fall semester than it has in nearly two decades.

“Every year, I’m blown away by the creativity and technical complexity of the student projects. Some of this year’s projects were among the most impressive that I’ve ever seen,” said Adams, who documents the course projects online. 

A full list of projects can be found on GitHub and the projects can be viewed on YouTube.

Popular project themes in the fall semester included instruments and musical modulators such as a drum kit synthesizer, a speech vocoder, and an audio looper-multitracker.

Video games included a fruit-smashing puzzle game, a racing game with a steering wheel and pedals, and a Nintendo Wii-inspired ninja fighting game.

Other projects included a robotic device for assisting with microwave imaging, an automated hydroponics enclosure, and an electronic Etch-a-Sketch.

“In ECE 4760, nearly all learning takes place by building real, physical projects. The devices that the students and I build together don’t just solve problems, but also teach us about interesting topics from other fields and disciplines! I hope that the students leave this class with an understanding of why people love embedded systems engineering, with an appreciation of how difficult it is to build anything that works, and with a new perspective on the natural and constructed worlds around them,” Adams said.

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