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ECEN 4610 Projects
Fall 2007

Team Ameriranikistan

Team members:

      Kyle Huston
      Dan Mackin
      Farhad Majdeteimouri
      Ahmad Muhammad

Project Description

Our project will use self-organizing maps (SOM) to model a strand of optical fiber. Essentially, what this entails is shining laser light through a multi-mode fiber-optic strand and recording the resulting speckle pattern using a CCD sensor. The Matlab Image Acquisition Toolbox will then be used to pull this pattern into Matlab. The user will frequently tap the fiber at different points and the SOM algorithm will eventually learn the topology of the fiber. After that, analysis of the data will determine the exact location of where the user is tapping on the fiber. Once we have developed this system, we will pursue further expansions in dimensionality and speed.

Current systems use a definite number of sensors to detect movement on a structure. Our system implements a string of "sensors" (neurons) that is potentially less costly that current setups, both in construction and expansion. Because of the number of taps (samples) needed to learn the topology, we intend to automate the sampling process utilizing a microcontroller to both position and control the tapping mechanism. We could use the idea to model three dimensional non-rigid body motion for use in the aerospace and robotics industry.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (134 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (900 kB PowerPoint)

Expo Photos


Team DANDE

Team members:

      Brandon Gilles
      James Gorman
      Eric McIntyre
      Gabe Thatcher

Project Description

DANDE team members have agreed to take on a project under Space Grant called DANDE which is an acronym for Drag and Atmosphere Neutral Density Explorer. The DANDE satellite that we will be helping with will be used to study the thin upper atmosphere by taking readings and sending measured data back to earth via an RF signal. DANDE measures atmospheric density variations using an array of highly-sensitive accelerometers, and atmospheric composition and local wind direction using a WATS (Wind And Temperature Spectrometer). This satellite will have a multitude of data collecting devices which will save their processed data to a local flash memory for later transfer to a ground station via RF.

An entire satellite is a huge project that can take many years to finalize and have ready for launch. For this reason our Capstone project will not be the entire satellite, but only the Command and Data Handler. The CDH section on this satellite will require us to connect all the devices and setup a communication protocol. The design that will be finished by the end of Capstone will be the fully functional satellite without size constraints. This means that all of the components will be laid out on a lab bench, connected, and working as it would in orbit.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (3.0 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (2.0 MB PowerPoint)

Expo Photos


Team RIDE

Team members:

      Brennan Dayberry
      Adam Marrapode
      James McGlynn
      Ben Sufit
      Chris Taylor

Project Description

Our design goal is to create a virtual racing vehicle cockpit. R-factor and Logitech have already made a forced feedback steering wheel, and we intend to expand that to the seat. The basic idea is to decode the control signals from the game, or the Logitech wheel, and send that into a decoder that then sends the signals to liner actuators controling the movement of the seat. For example, if one were to brake the car the seat would pitch forward, if one were to go up on two wheels and hit a rumble strip the seat would yaw to the side and then "rumble" or vibrate. The idea is to create a more realistic feeling experience.

Some of the problems we are anticipating are the copyright laws around the game and the wheel. Also the cost of this project may be quite substantial. These are questions we need to answer.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (1.0 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (2.1 MB PowerPoint)

Expo Photos

Movies taken at expo:


Team Electric Zen

Team members:

      Elliott Hedman
      Andrew Leung
      Jim Lindblom
      Jordan McConnell
      Paul Streibrecher

Project Description

We plan on using the hardware within the Lego Mindstorms Robotics kit to help construct a controllable water fountain display. The kit has an ARM processor, memory, and bluetooth hardware. We will be using Lego's hardware and software development kit to add our own hardware as well as write firmware for it. We plan on adding a water pump to the system and use another motor to move it. We would like to control the movements of the water fountain with a Nintendo Wii Remote via bluetooth. We are hoping to have a modular project and are still considering adding features such as a way to make the system react to sound.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (1.26 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (1.5 MB PowerPoint)

Expo Photos

Movie of project demonstration taken at expo:


Team LLAMP

Team members:

      Sri Teja Basava
      Steve Karcher
      Nada Memic
      Francis Yi

Project Description

Laser Lattice Associative Multi-touch Product (LLAMP)

LLAMP is a product for acquiring touch input simultaneously from multiple sources. A standard LLAMP package consists of a laser grid input system, supporting software, and an audio/visual output system. These components are managed and interfaced by a standard PC.

The laser grid input system acts as an oversized touch panel. A two-dimensional lattice of human-safe light supplies a photo diode array with stimulus. Interrupts to the light are registered by the diodes, and supporting logic translates the analog interrupt into time-space coordinates. The grid itself is a perfunctory device; the supporting processor and software determine all the available inputs and how they are mapped to the grid. Users spatially associate the display area with the available inputs, while the output system provides real-time feedback. Instead of conventional resistive- or capacitive-touch technology, the laser grid frees and enlarges the user interface from the physical display.

Multiple sources can interact with a single LLAMP grid simultaneously. Depending on the application, "sources" may be the fingers of a single user, multiple users working on the same task, or independent users accessing information from the same display.

As a proof of concept, we will architect a complete LLAMP package that implements an interactive "paint" program or interactive public kiosk. We anticipate that in addition to the novel nature of such a device, marketability will stem from cost savings wherever traditional touch-sensitive displays are implemented. The LLAMP system may also find utility in public galleries, where the status-quo method of information dissemination is inanimate printed media.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (2.4 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (2.2 MB PowerPoint)

Expo Photos

Movie of project taken at expo:


Team RF On

Team members:

      Sarah Ditlevson
      Erez Falkenstein
      Anthony McDougle
      Nathan Sutton

Project Description

Our team will design a wirelessly powered sensing device that can be embedded in concrete. There will be a base station unit that transmits power, and communicates with the sensor. At the device location there will be two antennas, one for RF power reception, and one for communication. We need to ensure that our sensors are reliable for an extended period of time as they will be embedded in concrete, which limits accessibility.

We have an expectation of incorporating one sensor type, and communication with a single sensor. A combined temperature and humidity sensor as well as an accelerometer have been chosen as the first types of sensors that we will use. A microcontroller will be used to communicate and control the sensor. Power considerations are paramount for all parts in our design as we are attempting to use wireless power. A base station will be designed to provide the wireless power and bi-directional communication. The base station does not have low power requirements, as it will be powered from grid power.

Once basic operation as described above has been established, we hope to expand our design in several respects. Research into strain/sheer force, displacement, and/or chemical concentration sensors is ongoing. We hope to use a variety of sensor types. We also hope to enable communication with multiple sensors. Our current design also has separate antennas for power and communication, and exploration into a single antenna for both will be done as time permits.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (523 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (20.5 MB PowerPoint)

Expo Photos


Team SWAT

Team members:

      Paul Kasemir
      Pavel Mayyak
      Jeff Shin
      Tyler Stubbs

Project Description

Our design team will create a home security system that utilizes infrared sensors. There will be a centralized control station that will collect data and monitor all of the sensor nodes. The system will be set up inside and will be systematically placed around doorways, windows, and passageways.

Each sensor will operate independently of the others but will communicate with the control station. The sensors will be set up such that they are wireless with relation to the control station. The sensors will be idle but periodically sample their immediate environment to detect changes. If a change is detected, then the sample frequency will increase for that specific node. All of this will be tracked and recorded by the control station. Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (400 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (1.3 MB PowerPoint)

Expo Photos


Team Vibrating Probe

Team member:

      Zach Eichmeyer

Project Description

The Vibrating Probe is a device which detects current densities by vibrating a probe about a micron in amplitude, using a piezo-electric bender/oscillator. The probe output is fed into a lock-in amplifier which allows the probe to be sampled at the same frequency as the bender. This reduces signal noise, and giving a voltage reading of max amplitude.

The Vibrating Probe is an instrument capable of measuring current densities up to 10 nA/cm2. It is most commonly used to detect current densities in biological mediums. It will be used in conjunction with other research that BEMSS is doing. The probe is the best way of getting sensitive data without disturbing the cell under test.

  • Probe design
  • Selecting the appropriate oscillator. Piezo-electric is most applicable
  • Interfacing the osillator with the probe
  • Implement pre amp in series with a lock-in amplifier
  • Building the appropriate structure for implemention
  • Implementing a data acquisition system Goals:
    • To be able to measure current densities <100 mA/cm2
    • To eliminate/control extraneous noise
    • To build the appropriate test setup to implement the probe with a microscope
    • Implement into current BEMSS research
    • Measure current densities in other biological samples

    Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (2.7 MB PowerPoint)

    Critical Design Review presentation:  (4.0 MB PowerPoint)


    Team Vigilant

    Team members:

          Joel Keesecker
          Mark Kien
          Pat Hauser

    Project Description

    Vigilant Sensing Technologies has conceived of a list of possible applications for a broad band remote sensing application surrounding the public well being. Some of the industries that could benefit from such technology are: public safety, nuclear power, medical, environmental, and general security.

    The team's initial development plan will include the design and implementation of a remote sensing network consisting of two remote sensors (one wireless (UHF) and one linked via RF over power lines), a self supporting master control unit controlled/monitored with a Graphical User Interface residing on a host PC. The hardware/software design will incorporate a common platform, which will allow for seamless transition between the types of sensor that is used. For instance in a hospital setting one type of sensor enabled on the network could be monitoring the level of cellular radio emissions in a cellular restricted zone while another sensor could be monitoring the wind speed on the roof to determine if conditions are acceptable for landing a medevac helicopter.

    Although the initial idea was based on a nuclear radiation threat, testing and availability of this type of sensor is not feasible for the available resources and time frame. Therefore, VST plans to use a PIR motion detector as the sensor to demonstrate functionality of the wireless and power-line communication, as well as having industrial benefits in all areas stated above.

    Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (4.8 MB PowerPoint)

    Critical Design Review presentation:  (2.6 MB PowerPoint)

    Expo Photos