Each student will prepare and submit an individual state-of-the-art (SOTA) report as described below.
Purpose of the SOTA Report
The purpose of the SOTA research is to gather the necessary background information to tackle your project effectively. Engineering design is not a purely creative exercise, but is built on what has been done before. When beginning a design project, it is important to gather information and conduct research to find answers to questions like:
? Has anybody solved this problem before? If so, how did they do it? How well did it work? Can we improve on their solution?
? Has anybody solved a similar problem in a completely different domain? Maybe the solution can be found in nature. The idea for Velcro came from the way burrs stick to a dog’s fur.
? Are there some new or emerging technologies that can be applied to the problem? Maybe these technologies make some old ideas feasible.
? What are the key analytical and/or experimental methods and techniques you will need to successfully solve the problem?
Sometimes emerging technologies are solutions looking for problems. The Goretex company developed a way to coat wire with Teflon. The application they had in mind didn’t work out, but they discovered that these wires made excellent guitar strings.
Your SOTA report shall be prepared using a font size of 11 points and 1.5 line spacing and must be less than 2000 words plus figures. It should follow the sections listed in Appendix B and should contain ample references to research literature, books, trade publications, news media and patents. A minimum of 10 unique references shall be listed with no more than 2 references being from electronic sources. The report must contain the following:
1. Search log Your search log should be submitted as an Appendix to the SOTA report and should show the process you followed to find information. Show evidence of brainstorming for keywords (diagram or list). You are expected to search in the library catalogue and article databases, and you may also use online search engines (such as Google or Google Scholar). For each place you look (catalogue, database, search engine) your search log should include: ? the date you did your research ? where you searched, and your rationale for that choice ? what search terms you used, and how you combined them ? how you modified your search as you proceeded Also make note of points such as: useful subject headings, searches that were particularly helpful (or useless), problems you ran into and how you addressed those.
2. Survey and assessment of current technology and existing solutions. ? give a technical description of relevant engineering and scientific principles ? benchmark the best products/technologies/solutions ? identify any design failures and lessons to be learned ? examine the design features and tradeoffs of the best-in-class designs ? identify technological factors limiting performance. For example, in digital photography, larger
image sensors are more expensive but give better images. The technological challenge is to reduce the cost of large sensors and/or improve the performance of small ones.
3. Survey and assessment of relevant emerging technology. ? What new technologies are fundamentally reshaping the market? An example would be digital
technology and photography. ? What new technologies have potential to radically reshape the market in the next few years?
Examples include optical computing, DNA computing, nanotechnology, etc. Assessment criteria may include the following:
? Performance in satisfying requirements. ? Human factors and ease of use. ? Technological tradeoffs and limitations. ? Technological readiness. Is the new technology sufficiently developed to be practical? Where
are we on the S-curve? ? Potential benefits. How much better is the new technology compared to the best existing
technology? ? Cost.
? Environmental friendliness.
A minimum of 10 references shall be listed with no more than 2 references being from websites. The references should be scholarly, reliable sources such as journal articles and books. If you are not sure whether a particular reference can be used, check with your studio instructor.
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