The assignment as summarized from AJC Online:

"To enhance the design concept in engineering education, the ECSEL program at the University of Maryland is working with instructors teaching ENES 102 Statics to develop a special device that can be used in classroom teaching.  It is a friction apparatus for demonstrating critical concepts related to friction.  They are the coefficients of static and kinetic friction as a function of surface conditions, such as surface finishing and material properties."  

This has been an ongoing project for several semesters and there remain unresolved issues from last semester that we tried to focus on.  These included reducing the overall weight of the apparatus, removing the transverse forces on the motor screw from last semester's project, and updating the computerized interface with the apparatus.