Glen Reynolds linked this gallery of 30 awesome college labs. My favorite at Princeton was our Junior year mechanical engineering course which was basically interfacing micro computers to mechanical devices (which was a non-trivial task in 1983). There were two one-semester courses. The first was mostly software, and involved programming an s-100 bus computer in assembly language to do various things, like control an elevator. My final project was a put one of the first sonic rangefinders from a Polaroid camera on a stepper motor and built a radar that painted a blocky view of its surroundings on a computer monitor.
But the really cool part for me was the second semester, when it was software + hardware. We had to build a complete electronics and mechanical package to perform an automated function on ... a very large n-scale model railroad. Well, readers of my blog will know that model railroading is my hobby anyway. My team built a coal loading facility where the train was stepped forward one car at a time and a hopper filled each successive car to the right level with coal (or actually little black pellets). We had sensors to be able to handle certain problems the professor might throw at us, like a car that was already full, cars of different sizes and lengths, etc. That lab with the big model railroad was easily my favorite.
In retrospect, I almost miss programming in assembler code, trying to cram the code into 4K EPROMS, etching my own circuit boards.... Almost. Now my only use for circuit boards is to shear them into strips to act as railroad ties when I hand-solder track work and my only use for etchant is weathering scale sheet metal to make it naturally rusty. Pictures of the latter in a few weeks.