Systems Engineering

The mechanical and electrotechnological systems used in our homes and industry have a significant effect on society and the environment. The aim of VCE Systems Engineering is to apply innovative systems thinking and problem-solving skills to understand how technologies can transform people’s lives.

In the study, students design, construct and assemble an operational, integrated and controlled system using both mechanical components, such as gearboxes, pulleys, drivers and motors, and electrotechnological components, such as circuitry and sensors.  Applying technological, mathematical and scientific principles, the students design a solution for a system-based problem, need, opportunity or situation. They plan and record production activities, then testing and evaluation is undertaken.  The systems selected for exhibition were completed as School-assessed Tasks, addressing Outcome 1 of Units 3 and 4.

See Systems Engineering in action

Seven of our System Engineering students demonstrate their final works 

Hugo Begg, ARAMO: Articulated Robotic Arm: 0:00 
Jovial Singh Chattrath, Skittles Sorter: 1:00
Alexander Daley, Acoustic Guitar Autotuner: 1:57 
Luke DeBuhr, Actuating Prosthetic Hand: 3:58
Joshua El-Khoury, Integrated Blind System: 4:52 
Mrigaendran Muralidharan, Automatic Aquarium Maintenance Device: 7:16 
Warren Rogan, A.T.O.M: 8:16 

Hugo Begg

Girton Grammar School, Bendigo

ARAMO: Articulated Robotic Arm

NEMA 17 and 23 stepper motors, TB6600 stepper drivers 250 W 24 V, Arduino Mega 2560, Pololu parallel gripper, clear acrylic, 3D printed ABS plastic, M3/M4/M5 nuts and bolts, SBR12 linear rails, GT2 belts and pulleys, melamine and MDF base, aluminium and steel standoffs, resistors, diodes, LEDs, capacitors, header pins, DIP switches, screw terminals, 5 mm clear steel shaft, bearing races, wires, voltage regulators

This articulated arm operates in a repetitive manner to work in pick-and-place situations. The system is based on trigonometric calculations and algorithms to move the end effector to the desired location. The biggest challenge with this project was to create a system with a complex design and a simple interface that was easy for any user to control.

Jovial Singh Chattrath

Kambrya College, Berwick

Skittles Sorter

Acrylic plastic, ABS plastic, steppers, servos, Arduino

In daily life, people often experience situations that require objects to be sorted by varying attributes, such as size, weight and colour. Automatic sorting by colour involves the use of sensors, which detect the different colours and assign values to each one. These values can be used by a microcontroller and relevant operations are then conducted to sort the objects. This technology is already applied in various industries such as agriculture, where it is used for vegetable sorting and separating defective rice grains and cereals. I have created a Skittles Sorter to streamline the process of making complex foods, such as cakes, that require one specific colour of ingredient from a multipack. This idea came from when my mother asked me to separate a packet of Skittles into different colours for a cake that required just one colour for the icing. As well as reducing the time taken to manually sort these elements, the Skittles Sorter also minimises the amount of handling, so has hygienic benefits too.

Alexander Daley

Scotch College, Hawthorn

Acoustic Guitar

Autotuner PLA, 3 mm acrylic, ESP32 controller, OLED panel, electret microphone, continuous rotation brass geared servo motors

I designed a removable, portable electromechanical system that can autonomously tune a guitar with minimal user interaction. My system accurately and autonomously tunes all six strings of an acoustic slotted headstock guitar, in response to a sensory detection of the audio frequency produced by the user plucking any given guitar string. I was able to achieve this using an electret microphone, an ESP32 and six continuous rotation servo motors.

Luke DeBuhr

Ballarat Grammar, Wendouree

Actuating Prosthetic Hand

Micro linear actuators, Arduino Nano, non-latching switches, switch, acrylic sheets, connector wires, glove

Controlled with a simple wearable glove design, this prosthetic hand uses micro linear actuators in its system. These help to achieve the desired high-quality design and a reliable system. I have developed an affordable and functional prosthetic hand that empowers users and gives them greater independence.

Joshua El-Khoury

Scotch College, Hawthorn

Integrated Blind System

DS1307 Real Time Clock Breakout Board, DRFR0067 Humidity Sensor, TSL2561 Lumosity/Lux/Light Sensor, Arduino, Adafruit TB6612.1.2A DC stepper motor driver, SparkFun Electronics IR Remote control, 9 V motor with encoder, acrylic, PLA, wood, blind system

I designed the Integrated Blind System to meet the needs of my grandmother, who has the medical condition arthritis. The intended and designed functionality of my system was to help my grandmother with the seemingly simple task of operating blinds. I have found this project particularly fulfilling, as I was able to design something to improve the quality of my grandmother’s daily life.

Seth Feeney

Catherine McAuley College, Bendigo

World Engine

Steel tubing, 29 inch wheel frames and tubes, plastic containers, cloth tape, Znter batteries, wires, battery snaps, LifeStraw filter, cable ties, magnetic strips, switches, Arduino, wood, hose connectors, hose valves, plastic tubing, heat shrink wires, plastic plates, foam, bearings, steel tube, dynamos, 3D printed parts

My idea for the World Engine was to design an affordable humanitarian aid device for the developing world, that was capable of filtering unsafe drinking water in a sustainable way. My prototype filters the water during the return trip from the source and can hold more water than an average person can comfortably carry. After extensive work this year, the result is a cheap-to-make prototype that functions as intended.

Mrigaendran Muralidharan

Dandenong High School, Dandenong

Automatic Aquarium Maintenance Device

20 L Aquarium Starter Kit, Duinotech UNO r3 Board, Peristaltic Liquid Pump with Silicone Tubing, L293D Motor Drive Shield, Gravity: Arduino pH Sensor/Meter Kit, Nema 17 Bipolar Stepper Motor, Arduino Compatible 5 V Relay Board, breadboard power rail, 3D printed structures (PLA), laser cut plastic panels, jumper wires, plug pack

The Automatic Aquarium Maintenance Device aims to ensure the correct and uninterrupted supply of food to fish in an aquarium. Additionally, my system maintains the optimal pH level of the aquarium water at all times. This automated solution establishes a relaxed and user-friendly environment for fish owners, which can still function in their absence.

Warren Rogan

Mornington Secondary College, Mornington


Plywood, acrylic, PVA, servos, Arduino Mega 2560, pin headers, breadboards, wires, jumper cables, bearings, RGB LED, resistors, leather, potentiometers, switches, backpack straps

A.T.O.M is the first model for a humanoid robot designed to be used in environments that are unsafe for humans. It replicates the arm movements of the user and was a challenging system to create, as it required a large quantity of custom-made parts to build.

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