Introduction to the controlled assessment

Here is a presentation to inspire you:

Students are required to submit a single design and make project which should be selected from a list of tasks provided by AQA at the end of Term 3. These tasks are broadly comparable and students can only submit a project which has been selected from this list.
The list of design tasks are available in the following PDF document:

You are going to design and make an electronic product, you will show how you have considered the design tasks provided by AQA, and then following your research into similar products available in the market, electronics components and circuits, you will consider the design path you will follow:
  • You will submit a 3-dimensional outcome and a concise design folder and/or appropriate ICT evidence.
  • The design folder should consist of approximately 20 pages of A3 paper or be equivalent A4 paper or ICT equivalent.
  • It is expected that you should spend approximately 45 hours on this activity which is outlined and accounted for in the programme of study for terms 4 & 5.
  • You are required to provide photographic evidence of the finished outcome and it is strongly recommended that photographic evidence at various stages of making is submitted.
The marking criteria are available in the following PDF document from AQA, pages 15-18, read them carefully as you work through each stage of your project:

Design Ideas

GCSE Design & Technology: Electronic Products Controlled Assessment Tasks
The following are the AQA set tasks for the GCSE Design and Technology: Electronic Products specification. One of these tasks should be chosen when doing the controlled assessment unit. In each case a context is provided.
The presentations below illustrate each of the AQA electronic products suggested projects. The presentations will give you some ideas towards form, function and appearance of potential products you may create.
Controlled assessment contexts & themes below.
Design Task
Context
Design Task Description
Design Task Ideas
1 – Road Safety
In today’s world safety of the individual has become an important issue; the ever increasing use of roads by cars, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians is just one area where government is trying to improve levels of safety.
Road safety is important for all road users including pedestrians. Investigate one aspect of road safety and design and make a prototype which could be used to help prevent accidents.

2 – Electronic Alarm System
Keeping property safe from theft has become a top priority in recent years. Electronic products are used extensively to make property safe and secure. Automated locks, sirens and flashing lights are used to deter and prevent crime.
Design and make an electronic alarm system that is capable of being fitted to a variety of doors, windows or property.

3 – Promotional display
Advertising, promotions, entrepreneurs are words that are associated with the world of selling, shops and shopping; designers have to catch the eye of their customers to make them go into a shop by clever marketing ploys.
The manager of a local store has asked you to design a promotional display for the entrance to a store that can be used to promote a product of your choice. The display should attract the customers’ attention with movement, light or sound, or a combination of these. The promotional display should operate when someone enters the store or stands in front of the display. You have been asked to design and make a working prototype of the display that can be evaluated in the store.

4 – Electronic Game
Raising funds for charity requires ingenuity; the UK has a long tradition of raising funds for good causes, whether it be for lifeboats, Children in Need or for a local scout hut.
A local primary school has asked you to design an electronic game that can be used at their Summer Fair to raise funds for the school. The game could be based on chance, or involve skill, but must be fun to play and be suitable for all ages.

5 – Money Box
Teaching children the value of money, and how to spend and save, is now part of the school curriculum.
A local bank wishes to encourage young children to save their pocket money. You have been asked to design and make a novelty device which will make it fun for children to use and save their money.

6 – Counting System
“Use it or lose it” is a saying which is now frequently used in today’s world; people find it useful to count and measure all sorts of activities in order to try and give them a value, or measure their effectiveness.
Design and make a system which will count and display activities that occur in everyday situations, it could be people entering buildings, cars entering and leaving a car park?; it could even be how quickly an activity takes to happen. You will need to consider how many events you want to count and what type of display you will use.

7 – Portable Thermostat
Designers have a responsibility to design products that address environmental issues. Designing for sustainability, efficient use of energy and reducing the ‘carbon footprint’ are areas of concern and have a high public profile.
Thermostats in houses are not always very precise because of their location in the room, or their quality of manufacture. Design and make a portable system which can tell the occupant of the room if it has reached the required temperature; it will need to be able to be set for a range of temperatures.

8 – Temperature Control
Designers have a responsibility to design products that address environmental issues. Designing for sustainability, efficient use of energy and reducing the ‘carbon footprint’ are areas of concern and have a high public profile.
Equally important is a system that can efficiently measure temperatures in different environments where safety considerations are a very important factor. Design and make a system which will enable temperatures to be taken in different environments; it could be checking the temperature of the bath water before the baby is given a bath, checking the temperature levels of fridges and freezers or even checking temperature levels when sun bathing – there are many other situations where such a system could be used effectively.

9 – Fancy Dress Jewellery
In Sci Fi series such as ‘Star Wars’. ‘Dr Who’ or ‘Star Trek’ there seems to be a lot of electronic body adornment, such as shoulder epaulettes with flashing lights, or weapons such as ‘light sabres’ and ‘sonic screwdrivers’ which seem to feature lots of beams and glowing colours; they are very much admired by children of all ages from five to ninety five!
Design and make a piece of body jewellery / adornment or visual prop for a fancy dress party which features lots of flashing lights and, perhaps, sound; an extra dimension to the
task could be if the piece of jewellery / adornment could respond to a change of light or heat, and might include the use of ‘smart materials’ such as thermo chromic film or QTC.

10 – Lap Counter
Timing Systems are the backbone of electronic applications, particularly for generating pulses; they need to be very accurate and can drive electronic systems for recording time or counting events.
A popular event at school is the remote control car competition where cars are raced around short course for the fastest lap time, and for the first car to complete the race of a specified number of laps.
Design and make a system which can time a lap accurately, or count laps.

11 – Start Gate
Timing Systems are the backbone of electronic applications, particularly for generating pulses; they need to be very accurate and can drive electronic systems for recording time or counting events.
Design and make a starting gate which counts down for the ‘scaletrix’ version of a Formula 1 grand prix; it can have both visual and audible outputs, and the timing sequence can be physically or remotely activated.

12 – Metronome
Timing Systems are the backbone of electronic applications, particularly for generating pulses; they need to be very accurate and can drive electronic systems for recording time or counting events.
Design and make a metronome which has both an audible and / or visual beat
with inputs that can adjust the beat; the case design could reflect its
application and encompass features of music or musical instruments.


Tips for Project Sucess

Below outlines what features a good electronic products project should have and identifies some factors for success.
Thanks to Mr Atkinson he has put this together for his RM class and I have edited it to suit
1) Get the project idea right
What do I mean?
If you get the project concept correct it makes it much more straightforward for you to produce it and give it the features which open the project up to a greater range of marks.

2) Select a project that you feel confident about and have the skills to complete fully and correctly.
Test yourself with your design to a point but ensure you have the skills to actually build it. Look for existing circuits which you can use and adapt.

3) Ensure the project accommodates a range of processes for example:
  • Electronic components, input, process and output, power supply
  • Consider the types of input, switch, sensors, etc.
  • Consider the process, is there a level of control? how many processes are you going to consider?
  • Consider the types of outputs, LEDs, buzzers, motors
  • Will you use PIC and computer control?
  • PCB Design, manufacture and size.
  • Casing materials & design - plastics, wood, metal,
  • Casing manufacture & assembly line bending, vacuum forming, injection moulding, laser cutting, joints
  • Use of templates, jigs and fixtures.
The above are vital to ensure your project is open to the full range of marks available.

4) A great project needs to work therefore do not over complicate the electronics.
Do not start using components you have no idea about or understanding - your project will not succeed. You must prototype using Yenka but more importantly with real components on breadboards. Break your circuits down into input, process, and output and test each part separately.

5) Through experience.....
  • Get the electronics to work using components you know and understand on a breadboard.
  • Use Yenka to make your PCB, but refine it, test it and save the original file.
  • Do not worry about how the casing will look, first design the electronics, the PCB, then you will design and make the casing to suit. (it might be larger than an industrially made product due to the fact we cannot use micro components, this is understood by the exam board.
  • We manufacture the casing usually using acrylic or HDP and appropriate manufacturing methods, however if you are creating electronics in textiles we have electronic thread available.

6) The most important consideration.....
  • Ensure you check your ideas out with your teacher, they will have suggestions which will add to your project.