This is the home page for the COSMOS Cluster on Engineering Design and Control of Kinetic Sculptures (UCSD COSMOS Cluster 2). The California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS at UCSD) is a four-week residential summer program open to current 8th-12th motivated high school students with demonstrated interest and achievement in math and science. In this cluster, students get an introduction to the analysis, design, construction and control of moving mechanical systems using state of the art facilities at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) department at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Example of Kinetic Sculpture
So many clocks...

This specific COSMOS cluster provides a wonderful program to engage students in physics, engineering, design, control systems. In particular, student learn how to build and analyze the dynamics of an operating pendulum clock and work in teams to build, analyze and control the kinetic energy of balls in a three dimensional sculpture (aka, "Kinetic Sculpture"). For control implementation we use standard Lego NXT hardware and sensors but also our UCSD Optical Ball-Speed Sensor to measure velocity of balls in our Kinetic Sculptures and students learn how to program in (Robot)C to implement control algorithms on a Lego NXT or an Arduino to control the kinetic energy of balls.

Our COSMOS cluster on Engineering Design and Control of Kinetic Sculptures teaches students the best use of engineering tools and mathematical disciplines to complete a challenging design project and includes:
  • Design Space: Use of the MAE Design Studio for engineering design and manufacturing.
  • Rapid Prototyping: Development of parts on a 2D LASERcamm and 3D Priner Rapid Prototyping machines in the MAE Design Studio.
  • Software Tools: Advanced computer laboratories for creating computer drawings with AutoCAD, Inventor and running dynamic simulations with Working Model 2D.
  • Mathematics and Physics: Study motion of objects in a pendulum clock and kinetic sculpture using energy conversion and dynamic analysis.
  • Control Algorithms: Optical sensors, servo motors and embedded programming for processing sensor information to control motors in Kinetic Sculpture.
An example of controlled (mini) Kinetic Sculpture developed by students that is designed to capture marbles with different initial velocities in a basket can be seen in the video below. The video shows the use of UCSD Optical Ball-Speed Sensor to measure velocity of balls wired to a Lego NXT that controls the basket via a Lego NXT servo motor.

Controlled Kinetic Mini Sculpture with the UCSD Optical Ball Sensor and the LEGO NXT

More information?

Next to providing our students with a wonderful opportunity during a four-week residential summer program at UCSD, our cluster is active in outreach activities to engage students, parents and teachers. If you want to know more about our COSMOS cluster, please follow the links on the left menu for more information. Furthermore, learn more about our instructors and lecture material, or find out more about the unique control hardware we use for experiments. You can also browse through the overview of the resources that will be used for this cluster and take a look at the current team webpages. or the many pictures and movies we took during the several years we have taught this COSMOS cluster at UCSD. Also check out the article on our COSMOS cluster in the SERVO magazine of January 2010 (reprinted with permission from T&L Publications, Inc.). We hope you find this information useful and looking forward to see you participate in our COSMOS Cluster on Engineering Design and Control of Kinetic Sculptures at UCSD!