For the last three summers Lehigh University has sponsored a Research Experience for Undergraduates with support from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Technology Alliance. Each year 10–12 rising sophomores were recruited from throughout the US to work with 4–5 graduate students and 2 professors from biological sciences and mechanical engineering. The project’s goal is to create a chemical sensing, mobile robot using a carbon based electronic nose developed by the California Institute of Technology for NASA and principles obtained from observations of the common housefly. To date the project has: developed protocols to train houseflies to approach or avoid a novel chemical stimulus; determined the electronic signature for a pure chemical using principal component analysis; and designed and built chambers for testing the enose and flies. Lab work and lectures are complimented by seminars from professionals in biology, engineering and robotics to expose the students to scientists from research and industry. Assessed by informal interview before and after the project indicated that the students learned basic principles in biology and engineering, and were more likely to enter these fields as a result of their participation in the project.

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