Dr Geoff V. Merrett
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D4 2010 (POLARIS): Mixed Signal Oscilloscopes

14th April 2010

The Electronics Lab as the deadline approached
The Electronics Lab as the deadline approached
Photo copyright Andy Vowles
This year's D4 System Design Exercise presented a particularly testing challenge to second-year Electronics students, who worked in teams to design and build a portable Mixed Signal Oscilloscope in 11 days. Teams were given precise specifications, for example, the device had to feature 8 digital channels and 1 analogue, have a graphical display, be portable and robust, and able to operate in the field. Pressure on the students was intense as they worked round the clock to design their oscilloscopes and build a prototype while handling other module deadlines. At the end of the 11 days, the teams had to make a competitive pitch for their design in front of the judges and their classmates.

The competition was sponsored by Detica, and Dr Matt Sacker of the Detica Electronic Systems Group and an alumnus of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, was one of the judges. "The D4 exercise is all about translating the skills and knowledge learnt from the course into a practical design exercise, and therefore having industrial input and support in this process is invaluable," said Dr Geoff Merrett, one of the course leaders. "As an ECS alumnus (both undergraduate and postgraduate!), Matt is in a perfect position to explain the challenges and relevance of applying the skills and knowledge he learnt at University to his subsequent career. He has fond memories of the D4 exercise from when he was an undergraduate and, during his presentation to the students at the final 'trade fair', was able to explain how the lessons that teams learnt in both project management and 'design-and-build' electronics will directly apply to their future careers."

The winning team members were: Tristan Bogle, Avadhi de Costa Tom Dell, Adam Malpass, Bekki Robinson, and Miraj Wanaguru, and each received £100 from Detica for their prize. Course leaders were Professor Steve Gunn, Dr Geoff Merrett and Dr Rob Maunder, with support from Tim Forcer, Jeff Hooker and Dave Oakley.

Read undergraduate student Adam Malpass's blog: "The most intense few weeks of my University life..."

For more information, click here.

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