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MEEA: Experimental Methods in Energy and Environment – a problem-oriented and project-based course
Master course: Mechanical Engineering
Faculty: Manuel Heitor
Course – Experimental Methods in Energy and the Environment 2013
IST- 2013-14, September - December 2013
Master in Mechanical Engineering, MSc
Planning and designing new sensors to help mitigating energy and environment related risks with emphasis on urban environments. The goal is to facilitate new processes of data acquisition, processing and communication, including visualization tools and the use of emerging communication systems to engage different stakeholders and empower community-based dialogs.
Proposed orientation : application-driven, by real urban environments, with emphasis in the city of Lisbon and, if convenient, in international comparison with other urban systems. Applications to critical urban zones are welcomed, based on problems faced by underserved communities, with a focus on design and experimentation. Multidisciplinary teams work on projects in collaboration with community partners, field practitioners, and experts in relevant fields.
Develops students' competence and self-confidence as engineers able to design and use data acquisition, processing and visualization tools, including emerging communication systems that help mitigate energy and environment related risks. Emphasis is on the creative design process based on the application of scientific knowledge and physical laws, namely in the area of thermodynamics. Instruction considers how to complete robust projects on schedule and within budget constraints and the need for social relevance and applicability. It relies on active learning via a major project involving community-based processes.
1. Data acquisition, processing and visualization tools, including emerging communication systems for energy and the environment.
2. Sensors for urban systems
3. Innovation and the dynamics of technological change. The interactive and non-linear nature of innovation. Processes of technology transfer and diffusion: commercialization of technology; intellectual property rights. Product innovation - success factors. Interactive learning and networks of innovation.
4. The social construction of technological systems: social relevance and applicability. Community empowerment and community-based systems.
A project-based course, entirely “hands-on”, to be developed by groups of 2 to 3 students, as follows:
Phase 1- Observe and identify a problem/issue relevant to energy and the environment, by interviewing and speaking with local people and stakeholders.
Phase 2 – Imagine and conceive technology-based solutions, experimenting data acquisition, processing and visualization tools, including emerging communication systems for community empowerment. Consider new-engineered sensors to prvide new information about city life. Make clear the goals and functionality of the proposed solutions.
Phase 3 – Discuss and improve the draft solutions, by discussing them with local people and stakeholders, as well as with experts.
Phase 4 – Propose a solution (technology-based), identifying its weak and strong characteristics, challenges and opportunities.
Phase 5 – Test a Prototype: Design and test a virtual prototype and, if possible, construct and test a physical prototype, or parts of it, as adequate.
Phase 6 – Specify technical innovations and potential limitations, including the use of scientific and technological knowledge to facilitate the implementation of the proposed solutions (i.e., above all thermodynamic-related solutions).
Phase 7 – Plan a business venture for the proposed solution(s), discussing markets, their potential segmentation and dimensions, as well as identifying the necessary financial incentives to make it happen.
Phase 8 – Communicate the ideas, making use of diversified means and tools and using adequate languages for each of them:
1. video for public divulgation (e.g., through “YouTube”);
2. short message (or “post”) through social media and networks, including all the necessary annexes (videos, texts, other);
3. Short article for the press (includes title and up to 10 lines of text));
4. Technical Report, including brief business plan (up to 10 pages), with all the necessary annexes, as adequate;
5. Oral presentation for various “Stakeholders”.
Intellectual Property Rights:
The student teams will be able to retain the rights to any inventions they develop in this course. If a team should decide to pursue a patent, they may do this on their own. Alternatively (and this is strongly recommended for potentially sponsored projects), the team can “disclose” their invention with IST, following current rules.
Student project will be discussed in a workshop oriented towards a “Laboratory of public participation” under the initiative “”Laboratórios na Rua”, as in: http://in3.dem.ist.utl.pt/narua/encontros_dialogos.asp .
In addition, projects will be made available through:
o Shepard, M. (2011), “Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space”, MIT Press.
o Hancke, G.P.; Silva, B.C.; Hancke, Jr., G.P. (2013), “The Role of Advanced Sensing in Smart Cities.” Sensors, 13, 393-425.
o Ascher, K. (2005), “The Works: Anatomy of a City”; The Penguim Press
Data acquisition and processing in energy and the environment
o J. P. Holman (2000), “Experimental Methods for Engineers”, McGraw Hill.
o B E Noltingk (2000), “Instrumentation – Reference Book”, Butterworths.
o Hu, T.; Yoshino, H.; Zhou, J. (2012), “Field Measurements of Residential Energy Consumption and Indoor Thermal Environment in Six Chinese Cities”. Energies 2012, 5, pp. 1927-1942.
Visualization and communication methods and tools :
o "Community-based systems" - PLOTS: http://publiclaboratory.org/home
o "Community-based geographical management systems":
o "Open source software", WAZE: www.WAZE.com
Product Innovation :
o Ulrich, K. and Eppinger, S. (2012), “Product Design and Development”, 5th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2012.
o Bejan, A. and Zane, J.P: (2012), “Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution In Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization”, Doubleday.
o Fuad-Luke, A. (2009), “Design Activism: Beautiful Strangeness for a Sustainable World”, Earthscan, London.
o Vogel, C.M., Cagan, J. and Boatwright, P. (2005), “ The Design of Things to Come: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Products ”, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
o Trott, P. (2002), “Innovation Management and New product Development”, Prentice Hall.
o Cagan, J. and Vogel, C.M. (2002), “Creating Breakthrough Products: innovation from product planning to program approval”, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
o Goldenberg, J. and Mazursky, D. (2002), “Creativity in product Innovation”, Cambridge University Press
o Fuad-Luke, A. (2002), “ecoDesign: The Sourcebook”, Thames & Hudson, London.
o Klostermann, J.E.M. and Tukker, A. (1998), “Product Innovation and Eco-Efficiency”, Kluwer Academic Press
o Brown, S. L. and K. M. Eisenhardt (1995). "Product Development: Past Research, Present Findings, and Future Directions." Academy of Management Review 20(2): 343-378.
o French, M. (1994), “Invention and Evolution: Design in Nature and Engineering”, Cambridge University Press
Innovation studies :
o Von Hippel, E. (1988), The Sources of innovation. Oxford University Press, New York
o Conceição, P., Heitor, M. and Lundvall, B.A., (2003), “Innovation, Competence Building, and Social Cohesion In Europe: Towards a Learning Society”, Edward Elgar.
o OECD(1992). TEP – Technology and the Economy: the key relationships
Community empowerment and social entrepreneurship:
o Yunus, M.(2010), “Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs”, Public Affairs, New York.
o Polak, P. (2008), “Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail”, Berret-Koehler Publ., San Francisco.
o Yunus, M.(2007), “Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism”, Public Affairs, New York.
Based on the continuous assessment of each group project, but established on an individual basis and continuous along the work, with emphasis on the quality of the work performed and the relative level of dedication of each student. Five distinct elements should be submited by the end of the course:
1. Small Video (30 to 60 seconds) for public divulgation (e.g., through “YouTube”);
2. Short message (or “post”) through social media and networks, including all the necessary annexes (videos, texts, other);
3. Short article for the press (includes title and up to 10 lines of text);
4. Technical Report, including brief business plan (up to 10-15 pages), with all the necessary annexes, as adequate;
5. Oral presentation for various “Stakeholders”.
Brief proposed schedule :
Main dates :
Proposed Schedule (Draft, to be confirmed) :
Note: the working period can be extended until the end of the evaluation period. In that case, the final presentation can be made by the end of that period, the latest in early February