1. Why is this project so much work?
As the project objective state, this is a "non-trivial" project. Hence, by definition there will be lots of work. You also have been warned in the procedures section. I also, strongly believe that students learn by doing, and this is the main objective of this course: to learn. Keep this in mind.
2. Why is the percentage for the lab so small in the final course grade?
This is not a project course. The lab is in the same category as the homework: you work a lot, and get little points at the end. The main gain of this work is not a letter grade, but rather your own understanding of the area.
3. What project should I pick?
4. What should we turn in on our first project report?
I expect you to have a good understanding on what the problem is. Moreover I expect you to have a good idea on what is the road to solution. Which are the steps that have to be completed to get the project done? When and who is going to make them?
Therefore I expect you to decompose the problem into many (10-20) tasks (sub-problems) and figure out the inter-dependencies between them (e.g., task 7 cannot be done until task 2 and 4 are done). A figure might help for this part.
For the tasks I expect you will give me a timeline (e.g. week 10-15 - task 1,2 and 3). Again a figure might help -> you can combine it with the previous figure.
Identify as many threats as possible to the success of the project.
Finally, I want you to assign a team member responsible for each task (you may have others helping) in such a way that the project cannot be successfully completed if each member is not pulling his/her weight.
At this point it should be pretty clear what is expected from everybody and what is the road-map for the project. I suggest you leave enough wiggle room for unpredictable events (killer bugs, compilation errors, portability issues, bad weather, huge homeworks at other courses, etc).
5. How will you figure out the contribution of each team member?
The team project grade will be assigned to individuals proportional to their contribution to the final product. To this end I will ask each of you to send me an email with the percentages that you consider that each team member contributed to the project. I am not interested in how much time each member spent on the project, but rather with the contribution to the project. For example, if a student was familiar with embedded system it might finish its part considerably faster than a student that never programmed on embedded system and spent considerable time learning the environment; however, if the contributions of the two students are equal, this should be reflected in the percentages that you send me (and in the final grade). The emphasis is on the contribution as opposed to time spent.
All contributions that count for the final grade of the project (programming, writing the final project, analysis of data, device setups, porting the necessary tools, etc.) will be considered. Also time spent in exploring dead-ends that looked like viable options at the time should be considered.
You may additionally attach an explanation if you feel the need to.