Technology is a vital aspect of our modern society – some would say one of the defining achievements of mankind. Perhaps you are a person with a general interest in technology or you intend to follow some field of higher education involving this area. You could be someone with an interest in the design side of the subject.
St George’s College runs the AQA Systems and Control (Electronics) at AS/A-level. In this course the project work accounts for 50% of the total marks. You will be expected to produce a product and a matching design folder, this work forms the basis of modules two and four in the overall scheme. Module 2 is ‘taken’ in the L6th and module 4 in the U6th. The other two modules are exam based and cover the theoretical aspects of the course. Again one is taken in each year of the Sixth Form.
These modules cover systems and control design and manufacturing techniques as well as the basic theory needed to implement electronic control systems. You need to be able to ask and answer questions like - how and why products are designed the way they are? What should they be made of and why? How can you mass produce them? It is all very well to produce a single product in the electronics laboratory but how do you make it by the tens of thousands?!
In Systems and Control, the emphasis is on electronic systems. This covers the whole range of the subject from basic analogue circuits to complex digital ones including PIC/microprocessor chips. All project work involves the use of programmable chips; students will develop both the hardware and software (programming) needed to implement surprisingly advanced and sophisticated electronic systems. The course is heavily computer based and potential students will learn to use professional design and programming software.
A typical Sixth Form project – A remote control vehicle with IR beam shooting capability. On the right is the wireless controller with OLED screen; on the left is the vehicle with rear wheel drive. The turret on top is independently moveable. The IR beam is emitted from the front of the turret, if it hits another vehicle (he built 2 of them) the vehicle is disabled and the game is over.