This article explores the introduction and use of new control classes that focus as much on modeling as on control. The paper describes several aspects of design problems with an emphasis on how to keep the process pedagogically efficient. The introductory classes in newer engineering curricula, at MIT and elsewhere, seek to empower students by avoiding highly customized devices, and instead rely on collections of easily composed and readily available sensors, actuators, and micro-controllers. The 15-week on-campus modeling and control class begins with classical material, discrete- and continuous-time transfer function modeling combined with PID and lead-lag controllers. With a combination of guidance and insights gained from constructing their artefacts, students determine a set of experiments and measurements that inform a model. Then they focus on designing and testing controllers, while answering impromptu questions from the roaming staff members.

You do not currently have access to this content.