Drexel CoE ENGR102 - Drug Delivery Project

From Drexel University NanoEnlightment

Revision as of 00:28, 14 March 2010 by Fontecchio (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ←Older revision | Current revision (diff) | Newer revision→ (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

The ENGR102 Nanobot Controlled Drug Delivery Challenge is designed to introduce the concepts of robotics, programming, design, measurement, error analysis, and creativity. To complete the project successfully you will draw upon information and techniques that span many of the major engineering disciplines, including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, materials engineering, civil engineering, and environmental engineering.

The project will entail designing, building, and programming a robot to search for cancerous cells (represented by colored targets, protein receptors, and magnetic 'nanoparticle' tracers) and deliver a targeted drug to the appropriate cells to eliminate them (in this case, by pushing the appropriate colored targets). The challenge will be to design the robot in such a way that it can use the available sensors to differentiate between healthy cells and cancerous cells without real-time user input.

The project will progress through a 4 week series of fundamental modules, each advancing towards the overall goal of targeted nanobot drug delivery.


Introduction to Programming a Lego NXT Robot

This page provides an introduction to programming using the LEGO Mindstorms NXT software. The LEGO software will be supported by the ENGR102 staff for this project, and they can assist with programming technical support. For those who are uncomfortable with programming, this page provides comparisons to Maple from your CS121 course. We encourage you to read it and ask questions.

If you are an accomplished programmer, you are welcome to use alternative languages including C, C++, Python, Java, and Matlab. However, please note that while we applaud your use of more advanced programming, the ENGR 102 staff will not be able to offer support for these alternative languages.

Lego NXT Related Software

Instructions for installing software are included on the Introduction/Background information page above.

The primary place to get all of the software that you will need is the Drexel software [1] page for your ENGR102 recitation. Getting the software from this page will give you the fastest download and ensure that you have the latest version.

LEGO CAD software package (50MB) The CAD software download site has step-by-step instructions for installing and using MLCAD: see here. Follow the instructions for your specific operating system.

NXT Parts for MLCAD Media:Nxtparts.zip

  • Unzip NXTkit-xxxx.zip in your LDraw folder.
  • Launch MLCad.
  • Do a File/Scan parts and accept when prompted for file list write.
  • if you need help downloading and installing the NXT parts for MLCAD refer to the following website[2]
  • Note: Some of these downloads will prompt you for a username and password before allowing access. The format is the same as when accessing IRT's software resources site.
  • Username: drexel\abc###
  • Password: Your DrexelOne password

abc### is your DrexelOne username

Week 1: Intro to NXT Robots and Programming

Task one is an introduction to building and programming the LEGO NXT robotics system. The goal of this module is to become familiar with the different components of the NXT system. This includes its inputs (sensors), outputs (motors, display screen), and programming environment. There are a number of increasingly difficult challenges presented, which culminate in a wall following robot.

Weeks 2 & 3: Optical Sensors with Calibration (Intensity, Infrared and Color) & Ultrasonic Sensor

Task two examines the fundamental study of sensors including sensor characterization, limits, and experimental testing.

Week 4: Ultrasonic sensor, Line and Wall Following

Task three continues with the ultrasonic sensor calibration and then returns to robotic movement activities, providing time to advance the wall-following robot design. The additional task of line following is presented.
Important: During lab, all students must spend at least thirty minutes in each of the three roles: programmer, builder, designer/scribe. The role of the programmer is to write and edit code based on the designer/scribe's recommendations. The role of the builder is to make physical modifications to the robot and to relay modifications to the designer/scribe. The role of the designer/scribe is to suggest modifications to code and physical design and to record these for reporting.

Week 5: Advanced Sensors with Calibration - Magnetic sensor

This task examines the fundamental study of sensors including sensor characterization, limits, and experimental testing.

Overview of Nanobot Competition: Students must design, build, code a robot to compete within their recitation sections to see who has built the most effective cancer-fighting nanobot.


  • Expose students to potentials of nanotechnology, specifically the possibility of nanomanipulators and nanorobotics.
  • Potential uses of nanorobotics in targeted drug delivery (cancer treatment)
  • General Engineering Concepts
    • Systems with dynamic feedback
    • Controls and decision making
  • Specific Student Goals
    • Design a system to locate virtual cancer cells (colored tragets) using NXT and destroy (actuate) them.
    • System needs to detect environment to find targets
    • System needs to be able to distinguish healthy cells from diseased cells.

Week 6: Design Robot for Nanobot Competition

  • The goal of this week is to design a robot using Lego Cad (MLCAD software you downloaded in week 1) and simulate your robot performance. Robot construction will begin.

Week 7: Preparation and Final Trials for Nanobot Competition

This week is free time to finish programming, modify the design, and practice for the competition.

Below is a guide to how to program turning radii, courtesy of Chris Swin.


Week 8: Nanobot Competition

Whoo-Hoo! Competition time!

This week you and your teammates will have the opportunity to show the fruits of your labors by attempting to kill as many diseased cells as possible within two five-minutes rounds.


At the beginning of the lab, all teams will have 2 minutes to checkout any sensors needed, mount them to their bots, and give their bots to the Fellow. Fellows will then select a bot at random, place it in the arena in an arbitrary position and orientation, then invite the team to initiate their program. The Fellow will then start the stopwatch and allow the team up to five minutes to kill all of the cells. If a team chooses to terminate their attempt for any reason during their five-minute window, they may and they have whatever remains of their five minutes to complete the challenge. After all teams have had one attempt, there will be a 20-minute break, when teams may be allowed to make changes to their software or hardware. After this 20 minute window, each team will have a chance to go for round 2. No team will be given more than two five-minute rounds.


In the event that a button is pressed and the LED does not light, the cell will be counted as "killed" as long as the Faculty member or Fellow saw that it was fully depressed and not merely touched or grazed.


At the end of each team's five-minute round or at the point when the team decides to terminate their attempt, the Fellow will count all of the dead healthy cells and all of the dead diseased cells and assign a grade based upon the equation below. The better score of each round will be used as the final grade.


c = the number of cancer cells killed

h = the number of healthy cells killed


At the end of the laboratory period, the Fellow will sequester the bot with the highest score for a final course-wide competition to be held during Week 10. All other bots will be returned to their respective teams. These bots should be completely disassembled and returned to the Lab Technician at the beginning of the team's section in Week 9.

To expedite the return process, kit parts must be sorted back into their respective sections. See the linked document for reference: Lego Kit Sorting


All students are required to stay at least five feet from the arena.


Congratulations to the winning teams. The results are below.
1st place - 023-4
2nd place - 011-7
3rd place - 032-5

Week 9: Oral Presentation

This week in lab you will present the results of your simulated nanorobotics project to your Faculty Laboratory Instructor, your Teaching Fellow and your fellow classmates. Please see the guidelines for preparing your talk. Oral Presentation Instructions Media:ENGR_102_Oral_Presentation_Instructions_W2010.pdf

Module III Teamwork Assessments: Media:ENGR_102_Teamwork_Assessment.pdf‎

Week 10: Prelude to ENGR 103

This week in lab you will discuss with your Faculty Laboratory Instructor the project that you are planning to work on during the spring quarter.

Students are encouraged to form thier own teams based upon thier own interests and to seek out an advisor with mutual interests. Students may also select from numerous projects being sponsored by faculty members. A full list of faculty-sponsored projects is available at [3]

Lego NXT Mindstorm Tutorials and Guides

Personal tools