Not having taken the course or read through all the lectures, my commentary should be taken more as the original question I posed about whether the course has this practical hands-on experience.
The VRduino lesson I saw did not look like it required much innovation - did not require the students to invent solutions for themselves. Moreover, VRduino was about a part of a much larger system. Being able to implement a VR tracking system from scratch, start to finish, would be much more impressive.
A scientist within a very narrow field of work might indeed get by. However, going to a new job or a startup, it is going to take a while to become accustomed to the terminology, initiative, and other things expected.
Actually preparing someone to be ready for a job can be done. First, teach all the fundamentals - basic physics/geometry that is relevant to any feasible system. Then, teach the process of technology development - listing possible tools, finding a CAD modeling program that works for both the project and a particular student’s strengths (graphical like FreeCAD or programmatic like OpenSCAD… students are different), then selecting off-the-shelf solutions whenever possible (aluminum extrusions), etc.
Learning to cut a screw thread is a good example. Milling machines are even better. That’s not something you learn in physics 101, it may not be directly relevant on the job, but the combination of physics (chip rates, maximum temperature of any solid object, the irrelevance of non-solid states of matter, locking the machine motion to mathematically defined spirals, etc) is highly relevant to knowing how to do just about anything.
A person I consider somewhat of a mentor taught a structured ‘classroom’ part of a CNC Milling class like this at HacDC, and at that time in my life, I couldn’t have appreciated more seeing such a structured approach to teaching. The students were able to apply it well too - I should know since I taught the part of the class where students actually sent G-Code to the mill. I think we even had time for people to mill out whatever cool designs they could find.
But it doesn’t have to be either of those things specifically.
A while back, I realized that from the table of fundamental particles, only a few - the photon, electron, and proton,
interacted significantly enough transferred enough momentum to create compact, useful, machinery, including computers and engines. That basically reduces everything useful in the entire universe to just a few equations and one lookup table (the periodic table). I talked to a physicist major at USASEF about this, and he basically agreed with my assessment.
Granted, the computing power to run the simulations to solve those equations at the scale of large machinery does not exist, and arguably the simple limitations of useful things in the universe has only recently been proven conclusively…
Still though, we live in a simple universe.
Teach a list of the fundamentals as quickly as possible, then coach students to create complete systems. An employer might actually be able to hire such graduates without training failures on the job.
wouldn’t you need to learn first how its working (sensor fusion and algorithms) before starting to modify it?
Matrix algebra may not be the most efficient way, or even relevant at all, to teach those basics. I am wondering if the students are tested for their ability to express these basic geometric concepts in formal algebraic equations. A while back, I was reading some of Newton’s work on calculus, and it look like it was done in a graphical CAD tool - geometric drawings first, equations second, if at all.