Creative Decisions and Design   This sophomore-level, introductory design and fabrication course at Georgia Tech introduces concepts pertaining to mechanical design, fabrication, quality, mechatronics, and technical communication to students in both the School of Mechanical Engineering and in the Scheller College of Business. This course has been deployed to multiple other institutions in the US and abroad. Creative Decisions and Design makes use of the IDEA Laboratory for training students in general prototyping, CNC and mechatronics programming. The culmination of the course is an exciting head-to-head competition in which 50-70 teams (200-275 students) each semester will field mechatronic systems to accomplish a series of mechanical tasks. The EPICS team are leading this course and working to introduce innovations in the areas of low-cost digital control/monitoring as well as cyber-enabled manufacturing.

1. Low-cost digital control/monitoring – Ubiquitous sensing based on rapidly evolving internet of things (IOT) technologies has opened up significant opportunities for introducing new connected devices in the consumer electronics sector. These advancements have driven complementary advancements in smart home and smart vehicle systems, opening new ecosystems for industrial growth and multi-scale benefit to society. Further important are how these devices will be deployed to advance the connected nature of legacy industrial manufacturing systems through an analogous industrial internet of things (IIOT) framework. The EPICS team is developing new curricula and modules for introducing students to these new methods through Creative Decisions and Design.

2. Cyber-enabled manufacturing – The next generation workforce will fabricate products in a democratized manufacturing economy. To integrate advanced methods for production, including evolving additive manufacturing capabilities, training must evolve to encompass new approaches for cyber-enabled production systems. One initiative that the EPICS team is focused on in collaboration with Autodesk is in deploying scalable training for computer-aided manufacturing at Georgia Tech based on Fusion 360. Autodesk hosted Georgia Tech faculty along with faculty from other major educational institutions at Pier 9 to review Autodesk’s CNC pathways training course. Building on these efforts, Georgia Tech is deploying new methods for CAM training within the studio classroom. The primary question that will be answered is how to efficiently teach these methods to a large audience under constraints of time and support. Additionally, the EPICS team is working directly with Autodesk to deploy training for advanced generative design approaches in the classroom, makerspaces and professional fabrication facilities.