Rapid Assembly and Design Challenge (RAD)

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Request for Proposal: Rapid Assembly and Design Challenge (RAD)

Introduction and Overview

In a rapidly progressing and innovation-focused world, there is constantly a push for originality and revolutionary new ideas. As the future of engineering, you have been called upon by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in collaboration with NYU Tandon School of Engineering to propose unique, intriguing ideas that will promote technological advancement and improve quality of life. The National Academy of Engineering wants to see how the new generation of engineers will address the Engineering Grand Challenges and technological problems the world faces. They want to reward innovative and exceptional designs and prototypes.

Your team is tasked with identifying a problem that needs to be solved, and then moving forward to propose and develop a solution. At the end of this semester, you will be expected to have a working prototype that you can showcase to your professors and teaching assistants. The product that shows the most creativity, promise, and innovative excellence will win an award. The goal of this endeavor is to address an engineering problem that you believe you can solve or begin to solve. You have the freedom to propose any idea you believe has merit, be it a completely new technology or one that you aspire to adapt. If your proposal is selected, then you will be expected to move forward with your idea and have a concrete prototype by the end of the semester. You will be graded on the effort that is put into the project and in understanding the engineering design process, as well as your ability to explain what you learn from your engineering design endeavor.


You will be utilizing the General Engineering Prototyping Lab and the NYU Tandon MakerSpace to design your projects. The General Engineering Program will provide any applicable tools necessary to assist in prototyping and assembly. An upperclassman mentor from the General Engineering Program will be provided to you. This mentor will act as a guide for you throughout the duration of this project. They will do the majority of your grading, and stay in contact with you about what deliverables will be due and when. You have the freedom to propose an idea based in innovation and/or solving an engineering problem. Once your proposal has been selected by professors and other staff, you will work with your team to meet the goals that you, your mentor, and the professors have agreed upon. In order to complete your project to the best of your ability, you have a budget to order parts that you require. You will communicate what you need to purchase to your mentor, who is in charge of placing your orders and delivering them to you. You will need to submit all deliverables, meet Benchmarks, and complete Milestone presentations on time. Student prototypes will be judged by professors at the end of the semester, and the best teams will be awarded a prize.

Example Project Ideas

  • Air quality tracking and alarm system
  • Drone that can retrieve and deliver small objects
  • Wearable device powered by renewable energy
  • Gesture control of a computer screen
  • Wearable blood sugar monitor
  • Sensors to correct posture

*Creativity and innovation are always rewarded

Microsoft Project

A project schedule must be created in Microsoft Project. Learn to use Microsoft Project by accessing the Microsoft Project Student Guide. This schedule must include all tasks related to the project from the start of the project to Early or Final submission. Click here to access the guide on how to transfer a file. The Microsoft Project schedule should include:

  • Minimum of 20 tasks, excluding Milestones
  • Milestones should be clearly indicated on the project plan (duration of zero days)
  • Each task must include the person responsible for completing the task (resource names)
  • Use the "Copy Picture" function to include the schedule in the presentations. Do not take a screenshot
  • Gantt chart must be displayed alongside the tasks list (fit onto one slide)
  • Gantt chart must show a progress line
  • Clearly state during the presentations whether the project is on-time, behind schedule, or ahead of schedule

For help planning the project, review the manual page Planning Project Scheduling & Costs.

Cost Estimate

A cost estimate must be generated that specifies the cost of all the materials and labor required for the construction of the design. Tabulate this cost information clearly in an Excel spreadsheet. Help in calculating the cost is available by reviewing How to plan the schedule and calculate costs for a project. Try to choose parts from amazon.com for ease of purchasing and fast delivery. Note: You need to provide a cost estimate with a list of parts in your Design and Feasibility Report. Any adjustments or changes over the semester must be documented and shown to your mentor. Be very sure of the parts you ask your mentor to purchase, as you have a maximum budget of $300.00.

The cost estimate should include the following:

  • Labor cost breakdown with hours and rates
  • Cost of all materials and components
  • Total cost must be shown in the bottom right corner

*No decimal places in the cost estimates as this is purely an estimate. Be sure to round appropriately.

Milestones, Benchmarks, and Deliverables

As you work on your project, you will be required to present periodic reports on your progress. We call these Milestones. All the items assigned in each Milestone are called deliverables. These deliverables often consist of a combination of written submissions, presentations, and demonstrations. Additionally, you will be required to meet certain benchmarks assigned by your mentor, and hand in reports/deliverables that add to the progress and comprehensiveness of your project.

Design & Feasibility Report

The Design and Feasibility Report (DFR) is extremely important, as it lays the groundwork for your project. You will be outlining your project idea, inspiration, and goals. The items that are outlined in the cost estimate will be purchased, so choose carefully.

The DFR must include:

  • Project Overview
  • Goals & Objectives
  • Design & Approach
  • Cost Estimate
    • Budget of $300.00
  • Lab Notes

The Design and Feasibility Report is due to your mentor by email at the designated due date provided to you (one week after SLDP groups are determined). A basic outline of what your DFR should look like can be found here: Basic Outline.

Milestone 1

Milestone 1 should act as a presentation of your Design and Feasibility Report. Without simply replicating your report in presentation format, take the key points to present in a concise and clear manner. The section formatting should be similar to that of the report. It is important that you outline your project goals and show that your project is realizable. This includes:

  • Project Overview
  • Goals & Objectives
  • Design & Approach
  • Cost Estimate
  • Lab Notes

Look Ahead: What tasks are planned between now and Milestone 2?

See How To Give a Milestone Presentation for the format of a Milestone presentation. Because your project will differ in format from other SLDPs, please treat this How-To as a general guideline but not an exact template. Your personalized Milestone 1 requirements and presentation format will be given to you by your mentor.

Benchmark Assessment A

Benchmark assessments evaluate the progress of the project. Benchmark Assessment A is due at the end of Model Shop Session 1. There are penalties for not completing on time. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information.

For your benchmarks, your mentor will outline specific goals that your project must achieve to satisfy the benchmark. These goals will vary depending on project and mentor, and will be determined based on the particular project's level of difficulty.

Milestone 2

Look Ahead: What tasks are planned between now and Milestone 3? See How To Give a Milestone Presentation for the format of a Milestone presentation, but remember that your format will differ slightly.

Benchmark Assessment B

Benchmark Assessment B is due at the end of Model Shop Session 2. There are penalties for not completing on time. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information. Again, your Benchmark B requirements will be determined and outlined to you by your mentor.

Milestone 3

Look Ahead: What tasks are planned between now and Milestone 3? See How To Give a Milestone Presentation for the format of a Milestone presentation, but remember that your format will differ slightly.


Refer to the syllabus for the commissioning deadline. There are penalties for not completing on time. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information.

To pass, the following must be completed:

  • Fully functional prototype or proof of concept
  • Any additional deliverables designated to you by your mentor
    • Microsoft Project schedule
    • Cost estimate
    • Any applicable drawings or schematics
    • Other supplemental documents

Final Design Report

The Final Design Report provides a comprehensive overview of your project process and developments from initial brainstorm to finished product. All project expectations and outcomes must be clearly detailed in the document. This report will also provide you with documentation experience useful for completing your Senior Design final report and other projects.

The FDR must include:

  • Reflection on project outcomes
  • Possible improvements for the future
  • All relevant documents
    • Lab notes, .STL files, code, drawings, etc.
  • Final cost table and schedule

The Final Design Report is due to your mentor by email and will be due at the time that your section's Lab 11 report is due. The Final Design Report will be submitted in place of your Lab 11 report.

Final Presentation

The final presentation will be a technical briefing similar to the milestones, but also serves as a sales presentation explaining why your company should be selected instead of other competitors. The following must be addressed in the final presentation:

  • Problem statement
  • Solution overview
  • Company description and qualifications
  • Any applicable drawings
  • Cost estimate
  • Microsoft Project schedule
  • Video demonstration of prototype in use
  • Why should the company be awarded this contract?


All deliverables must be emailed to your mentor with all the necessary files by your section's deadline. Your mentor will provide you with a list of exactly what you need to submit. For Early Submission Extra Credit, ALL required deliverables must be received before the Early Submission deadline.

Please note the deliverables for this project are as follows. If any of the following items are omitted, you will be penalized. Any other deliverables required for your specific project will be outlined by your mentor. The following list are general items that are expected from all RAD groups:

  • Cover page and table of contents (???)
  • Final presentation
  • Applicable code/schematics
  • Any drawings of your design (initial through final)
  • Video of prototype in use
  • Final MS Project Schedule
  • Final cost estimate
  • Resume(s) (No fictitious resumes will be accepted)