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ECEN 4610 Projects
Spring 2006

Team Cornerstone

Team members:

      Michael Brogdon
      Enrique Conde
      Chad Gill
      Doug Schuyler

Project Description:

We are planning to design and build a sensing system that will make barcodes and current electronic security systems obsolete while making shopping experiences even more enjoyable and efficient. For this, we intend to design a system implementing the use of radio frequency IDs for merchandise, which would allow for electronic identification of the merchandise as well as maintain security.

For this project, we first need to design and build the merchandise-mounted transmitters. For this part of the system, we intend to make 24 bit IDs for the merchandise. Certain considerations we will need to make are the strength of the transmitters, power supplies, frequencies used, interference, and finally, size and economic restrictions. For the prototype, we intend to build four transmitters to show that our system can distinguish merchandise both accurately and precisely.

Another device we intend to create is a new shopping cart, which will read each item and tally the total cost as the customer shops. This part of the system will require the use of either an FPGA or a microprocessor, along with an LCD, a transceiver, and a database of all the merchandise. Considerations for this design include the need for user-friendly programming on both the customer and the employee level (for adding new merchandise to the database, for example), power supplies (possibly implementing an alternator), weatherproofing, and customer safety.

The third and final part of our project that we will design is the checkout interface, or a supplementary system to simulate the checkout. The checkout will receive a signal from the cart and create an itemized readout of the merchandise (while removing the item from the store electronic inventory database). This part of our project will also require either an FPGA or a microprocessor, as well as some kind of display, probably an LCD.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (191 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (1.08 MB PowerPoint)


Team Darsi

Team members:

      Adrienne Baile
      Matt Hulse
      Preston Schipper

Project Description:

The CU Formula SAE team designs and constructs a formula racecar that is used to compete once a year in a global competition in Detroit, MI. The team is comprised of a variety of engineers, primarily mechanical, which develops the car. In the past two years, several electronic systems have been developed to aid in data collection and data display on the car. In this project, an evolution of these systems will comprise of hardware minimization and more powerful PC interface. In addition to these improvements, expansions will be developed including a traction control system and an LCD display for the driver. These new additions will further the benefits that electronics can provide for the CU FSAE team and will continue a progression of success.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (924 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (1.50 MB PowerPoint)


Team EPA

Team members:

      Henry Au-Yeung
      Khushboo Verma
      Devon Dallman
      Jonathan Persinger
      Jonathan Snyder

Project Description:

The project we hope to implement will positively impact visually impaired. The project is titled Electronic Pin Aid (EPA). This will give the ability for the visually impaired to feel a page of Braille text and other three-dimensional pictures by manipulating an array of pins. Because the visually impaired are accustomed to using the computer for aid we will have the PC interact with the EPA to obtain the text and images. The text and pictures will upload to a computer and then display on the array of pins via serial communications either RS232 or USB. This project will require a USB transceiver, a micro controller and perhaps an image processing chipset. To actuate the pins a power supply will have to be designed (or purchased) and a driver circuit will have to be designed using either MOSFETs or relays. An array of solenoids connected to the driver circuit will magnetically move the pins. For use as a picture display, extensive software programming will be required to interpret the pixels and translate them for both location and pin depth.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (2.1 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (4.24 MB PowerPoint)


Team Eyebot

Team members:

      Amr Aldaiel
      Andrew Kravitz
      Katie Noble
      Zachary Taylor
      Alan Yim

Project Description:

Our group plans to build a security robot. This robot will be for use in homes or businesses where no one is present but surveillance of the premises is still desired. Our robot's monitoring instruments will be mounted on a mobile base that we will construct, driven by four motorized wheels. The robot's two main sensory apparatus will be its thermometer and camera, and may incorporate more sensors if time allows. The camera will have night vision or illumination capabilities for useful operation in unlit areas. Both instruments will send information back to a "base" computer to be displayed for the user. Initially, information traversing between the base computer and the unit will be accomplished via an RS232 cable. Once this implementation is working correctly we will attempt to upgrade to wireless communication. The robot's movement will be pre-programmed for specified routes on which it will collect data at specified locations to be transmitted back to the base computer. Once we have this functionality operating correctly we will attempt to add the option for a user to manually control the robot for real time information retrieval.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (412 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (2.92 MB PowerPoint)


Team iHome

Team members:

      Adam D.
      Chris Manning
      Ryan Patterson

Project Description:

Many home automation and security systems are currently on the market, but they all have the major downfall of not being a fully integrated system. The iHome Automation and Security System will be very unique in its ability to seamlessly integrate all desired system into one single system. The features we have planned to include in the system are automatically controlled lighting, heating, security, switching/safety controls for appliances, landscape/sprinkler, and audio entertainment. All of these sensors and peripheral devices are designed in such a way that will allow for future scalability, and will have wired as well as wireless connectivity, with the ability to control the devices remotely via a PocketPC and webserver.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (788 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (1.39 MB PowerPoint)


Team Ninja

Team members:

      Tim Palagi
      Kevin Riegner
      Simone Shen

Project Description:

The goal of Team Ninja is to design a smart vacuum, which will be completely self-controlled. This self-controlled vacuum will have the ability to successfully maneuver an entire room while vacuuming the floor it covers. Motors and a steering system will control its mobility. In order to be "smart," the vacuum will have peripheral sensors that will determine the vacuum's proximity to objects. Photo detectors, pressure sensors, or a combination of the two will enable this ability. The internal control system, either a microprocessor or FPGA, interprets peripheral data and reacts to it by controlling its mobility functions. Commercially available batteries power the device. However, the device will not be able to recharge itself. Similar to a traditional vacuum cleaner, it will have a limited user interface where the user will only designate on/off modes of operation. In addition to being more convenient for the everyday user, it could be utilized by disabled persons that do not have the ability to vacuum their residences by themselves.


Team None

Team members:

      Thomas Bozic
      Ian Nuber
      Greg Ramsey
      Henry Romero
      Matthew Unangst

Project Description:

Our group proposes to design and implement a pipelined 32-bit "softcore" processor featuring a MIPS-like instruction set. We will implement the processor in structural Verilog on a Xilinx FPGA. The processor will also require the use of certain off-chip devices. These devices include random access memory, read only memory, 16-button keypad, hardware interrupt handler, and a simple LCD. All of these modules will be integrated onto a custom designed printed circuit board (PCB), which we will wire wrap to the FPGA board.

The design process will begin with defining the interface file between the fundamental units of the processor. Such units include the program counter, register file, control logic, main memory, and the arithmetic logic unit. We will also need to design a higher level mapping which details the interactions between these functional units. This mapping will also need to account for the pipeline design. Once we have a clearer understanding of the workings of the processor, we will begin programming the functional units in Verilog, define the instruction set, and start on the assembler. Shortly thereafter, we will begin prototyping the off-chip PCB with a wire-wrapped design. At this point, all essential functional units will be implemented in the FPGA via Verilog and the assembler will also be complete. After the prototype begins to work efficiently, we will order our first PCB design. While waiting for the PCB, we will begin executing our secondary objectives for the project. Our secondary objectives include designing a simple compiler, I/O interfaces, Capstone Expo demo, and floating point unit. We are hoping the processor will be fully functional two weeks before the Capstone Exposition date, which provides the group with a buffer for unexpected set backs.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (535 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (929 kB PowerPoint)


Team Pacemaker

Team members:

      Min Dong Bian
      Ryan Laterza
      Sarah Makhija
      Luke Phillips

Project Description:

Team Pacemaker is working with mechanical and software engineering students to design and implement an apparatus for analyzing heart sounds. The approach to the production of the device is based on methods developed by Howard D. Weinberger, MD, Co-Director of Cardiac Imaging at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center.

The process begins with the simultaneous acquisition of acoustic data, by means of a microphone-affixed stethoscope, and traditional electrocardiogram (ECG) signals. Fast Fourier transformed and signal averaged data are then displayed on the LCD screen of a handheld device which also displays relevant patient information.

This relatively compact piece of equipment also acts as a user interface, providing basic functions such as on/off, and keypad data entry. Identification and cardiac data are stored on a portable memory card, for future computer assisted analysis of digitized heart sounds. The developed software system will decode and graphically represent heart function as averaged over the 20 second time period in which heartbeats were recorded. A visual depiction of cardiac acoustics will aid in a doctor's objective diagnosis of certain heart disease related abnormalities such as heart murmurs.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (3.5 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (5.32 MB PowerPoint)


Team PhotoEN

Team members:

      Brianna Bethel
      Robert Havlik
      Jessica Lowry
      Alex Silva

Project Description:

In past years, people were accustomed to taking pictures that were captured on photographic film. This film was then dropped off at the local development shop. A few days later, the pictures were available on photographic paper. But during the last couple of years, technology has significantly surpassed these recent photographic conventions. Now, one can buy a digital camera and seconds later, view the images on the computer. While it's convenient to avoid development charges and to view pictures right after they are taken, it is unreasonable to assume that most people carry their computers around to merely show their pictures. Instead, they want an easier way to display and share their memories.

As a senior project, we intend to build a digital picture frame that will use images stored on a compact flash card and display these images on an LCD screen. This project would function similarly to a traditional picture frame; however, it would be capable of displaying thousands of pictures in a slideshow format within a single device. Given the right microprocessor, LCD controller and other peripheral chips, we see this project expanding into a picture frame that has a significant amount of features and intelligence. The interface to our project includes a touch-screen which enables the user to zoom and manipulate the pictures. We will use USB, compact flash memory storage, and infrared technologies to share, store, and control the pictures.

Starting with a development kit, the software will be developed to control the LCD as well as other peripheral devices. While the software is written, the team intends to build custom hardware for our project. Once these hardware designs are complete, the design will be transformed into a printed circuit board, in which the hardware and software will be solely written and designed by the senior project team.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (2.5 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (12.9 MB PowerPoint)


Team Ramrod

Team members:

      Brian Arment
      Ryan Hunter
      Aaron Shoaf

Project Description:

In the spirit of nostalgia, our capstone group will be taking a 1965 classic electro-mechanical pinball machine, gutting it, and replacing it with both parts and a new theme of our own design. Performing this task will consist of several steps. First, we must analyze the working mechanical parts on the playfield that we will be able to salvage (coils, contact switches, lights, etc.). Second, we will modify the existing playfield and add more complex elements that will make the game more interesting to play. Third, we must then design a microprocessor-based logical brain in order to take in sensory input from the playfield, and translate it into things like sound, lights, scoring, and display. Fourth, we'll need a separate driver board to step up the logic level outputs from the processor board to a voltage that can power things like coils and lights. Fifth, we will design and build a custom display decoder that takes input from the processor board and translates that into score display with custom graphics using a dot matrix LED display. Finally, we will design a soundboard that takes input from the processor board and plays corresponding digital sound bites as well as a full musical soundtrack. This will require several different sound decoders and memory cells to store these clips. The goal is to have CD quality sound from our device. Due to the complexity of this project, several things can easily be scaled down if there is not adequate time or resources to do so.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (5.2 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (6.19 MB PowerPoint)


Team Rubber Duck

Team members:

      Alex Chi
      Ryan Ramos
      Joshua Rubin
      Alexander Starick

Project Description:

Our group will create a robot that can find objects laid in a small area, the "arena." The objects will be recognized by RFID tags, or other acceptable means. The robot will be fully autonomous and will use an FPGA to implement the logic. If possible, we may also incorporate "collision detection" into the design so the robot can recognize, maneuver around, and remember where obstacles are in the "arena." If all of this is implemented successfully, we will also attempt to place "scoopers" on the robot to pick up the object and bring it back to the starting point. We believe that this project may aid the following (but not limited to) people, blind, forgetful and physically handicapped people.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (851 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (957 kB PowerPoint)


Team SARS

Team members:

      Brent Anderson
      Lauren Cutsinger
      Martin Gilpatric
      Michael Oberg
      Matthew Taylor

Project Description:

The intention of this project is to use a thermal imaging array to dynamically track and identify different features of a human body in motion. While the body is in motion, the camera will identify and physically trace the head and take an accurate measurement of the person's temperature. Recent research has shown the utility of thermal imaging in medical applications, and thermal imaging techniques are already being put in place around the world to help slow pandemics such as SARS through early detection of persons with abnormal temperatures.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (2.8 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (822 kB PowerPoint)


Team Spirit C

Team members:

      Adeel Baig
      Andy Crahan
      Justin Eiler
      Jeffrey Morroni
      James Patterson

Project Description:

We propose to design an infrared tracking and solar supply system for use with a digital camcorder. It will feature a pan/tilt mounting system for tracking purposes and a small solar array to power all devices. Within the mounting system, one stepper motor adjusts the pan (left/right) movement while the second stepper motor adjusts the tilt (up/down) movement. The stepper motors will be controlled via the Xilinx Spartan 3 board. A finite state machine will be implemented to provide both automatic and manual control. The automatic control will be governed by an array of pyro-electric infrared sensors. Infrared radiation will be focused through a Fresnel lens at each sensor to increase the received radiation. A set of converters will be integrated into the solar power system to provide necessary voltages to power various loads and system components. A separate lead acid battery for the additional components and possibly the existing lithium ion battery will be recharged by the solar system allowing for night usage. For night filming, a high intensity LED cluster will be incorporated into the design. Possible additions to the project include: a solar tracking system to position solar panels for maximum power, a real time data acquisition link, video processing of acquired data, and a wireless manual control unit. There are several marketable applications for the system including home security, proximity alert, and live action filming.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (3.7 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (3.72 MB PowerPoint)


Team Vice

Team members:

      Andrew Hertneky
      John O'Brien
      Jason Shin
      Chris Wessels

Project Description:

We propose to build a digital control device for the Physics department that will be used to augment their laser cooling systems. The lasers they use are locked to a specific electronic transition of a rubidium atom and are used to cool rubidium atoms to temperatures in the micro kelvins (near absolute zero). As with all lasers, over time, they tend to drift in wavelength. Analog feedback exists to keep the laser locked at this wavelength. The laser can stay locked for very long periods of time, but perturbations such as bumping the table or rapid temperature changes can break the lock. An operator is then needed to make the delicate changes to the system to re-lock the laser. Our digital control device will do all of the work in locking and re-locking the laser and make it so all a human has to do is push a button. In order to accomplish this project, we are going to want this digital control device in a box that is 2U rack mountable. We plan to display things similar to an oscilloscope on a screen and have either a keypad or dial for user inputs. The main input from the existing analog system is produced by saturated absorption spectroscopy and gives information about the wavelength of the laser in relation to a sample of the reference material. We also plan to mount an I/O connection on the box to interface with a computer workstation, and an I/O connection to the analog control to exchange commands and status. Our main goal is to get this box to operate on its own, without help from another external computer. We then intend to give the Physics department the option of having this device controlled by an in-lab computer via an I/O port, giving our device, and the entire laser cooling system, a more automated feel.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (1.4 MB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (1.96 MB PowerPoint)


Team Wireless Nothing

Team members:

      Chris Browne
      Nick Ciocco
      Eric Hoffman
      Derek Lindberg
      Sean McDevitt

Project Description:

A common problem among motorcycle riders is communicating with fellow motorcyclists while riding. This communication typically presents great risks to the rider, as well as other motorists on the road due to the fact that the motorcyclist may be tempted to remove a hand from the handlebars to make a gesture or even worse turn their head to look at a trailing rider. Communications may take the form of giving directions, warning against hazards on the road, or simply socializing with fellow riders.

There are several parties affected by this problem. First and foremost, the motorcycle rider is the primary interest. Rather than shouting over the wind, traffic, and engine noise to your fellow rider and using random hand signals, this device will allow for simple and effective communication between motorcyclists. A second group of stakeholders are the other motorists on the road. This device will allow the riders to maintain concentration on the road at all times, thus increasing the safety of other motorists.

Preliminary Design Review presentation:  (897 kB PowerPoint)

Critical Design Review presentation:  (2.12 MB PowerPoint)