WIP - Integration of voice technology into first-year engineering curriculum

Jaskirat Sodhi, Ashish D. Borgaonkar, Ludvik Alkhoury, Nicole Bosca

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This is a work-in-progress paper. Voice technology is a growing field and is becoming more prominent in our day-to-day lives. National Public Research, in a study conducted in early 2020, found that an estimated 60 million people (24% of total U.S. adult population) own a voice-enabled smart speaker [1]. The number of smart speakers in the U.S. household has grown by an astounding 135% in last two years [1]. Voice incorporated devices serve people of different age groups, disabilities and even professions. The latest versions can also function within limits based on the preferences, choices and past behavior of its users [2]. Smart speakers and voice assistants are increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives. The Amazon Alexa devices are one such cloud-based, continuously improving, digital assistants designed to respond to voice commands. One of the newer innovative applications of the Amazon Alexa devices is its integration into higher education. However, most of this integration has been through campus life and residence halls or higher-level programming courses [3] [4]. This paper summarizes our efforts on embedding voice technology into a first-year engineering design (FED101) course in the Newark College of Engineering (NCE) at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) that reviews the basic concepts of engineering and introduces some tools used for the design and implementation of devices and systems. The goal is to enhance student learning through hands-on projects in first-year design courses and use this to not only further engage students with the course content, but also foster the skills necessary for effective communication on projects with multiple stakeholders. Students, with very little background on the subject, are able to design a working device such as a portable fan, a remotely controlled car, or a robotic arm. Students are using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, making the parts with 3D printers, creating an Arduino code to control the action of their device, and finally writing a voice interface (given a skeleton code) to actuate the servo motors on the device using voice commands. For example, students use voice to turn a fan on or off, change its speed, and enable oscillation. Ours is a unique approach towards not only integrating new emerging technology into the classroom but also finding new ways to engage students and help them learn new skills. Upon completion of this pilot, students are expected to have expanded their technical knowledge as well as soft skills such as communication, collaboration, and listening skills. They will have learned how to personalize Voice technology, and the researchers would have improved the course design as well as prepared for the study to be offered on a larger scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1633
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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