Before you design a project it is important to realize what kind of project you are building.
Straight from Chris -> There's 3 types of projects in terms of application:
Toy- This device doesn't do anything in particular, but introduces a new cool concept.
Application- A device that engages a real life problem.
Tool- A tool is a device designed to expand the design space. It is similar to toys but has a purpose.
In terms of someone who is learning, I see projects in terms of creating new design space and not creating design space. It is important to be able to do both types of projects.
Another important thing to keep in mind is how to approach a project. Do you start from a idea or from a part. The problem with starting from an idea is that often you don't have the parts available. The problem with starting from a part is that you have no idea which parts are interesting or important. Personally, I find the prospect of plunging head first into endless amounts of literature to be a bad idea.
Under Construction - I need to scan my old presentation. Furthermore, a new idea has come about from cellulose enzymes.
Characterized Metabolic Pathways in E. Coli Metabolic Pathways