Need idea for senior design

Discussion in 'Highly Technical' started by Borkil, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Borkil

    Borkil Senior member

    Sep 7, 2006
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    My group is having trouble thinking of an idea to design and implement.

    Here are the requirements

    Design Project Specifications
    Work on the design project is to be completed in teams of four students. The design project
    topic is flexible, and each group is encouraged to pick a product that uses the strengths and
    interest areas of their group members. The design must have the following components:

    • Microcontroller:To help make the project tractable, recommended microcontroller choices
    include Freescale, PIC, and Atmel variants. Development tools are readily available in lab to
    support these devices. Further, the devices themselves are relatively low cost and readily
    available. Optionally, auxiliary processing can be accomplished using a “motherboard”.
    Examples of these directly supported are Intel Atomand ARM-based platforms.

    • Interface to Something:Your embedded system must interface to some other device or
    devices. It could be a computer, or it could be some embedded device such as a Palm Pilot,
    telephone line, TV, etc. Some interface standards that could be used are: serial to a
    computer, parallel to a computer, Universal Serial Bus (USB), Firewire, Ethernet, Infrared
    (IR), Radio Frequency (RF), etc. This requirement has a large amount of freedom. To help
    with some of the more complex interfaces such as Ethernet, USB, or Firewire there are
    dedicated chips which encapsulate the lowest layersof the interface. This makes using these
    interfaces easier to handle but not necessarily trivial. Be sure to investigate the interface(s)
    you wish to utilize and make a reasonable choice. (NOTE: Interfaces involving A.C. line
    current require special permission – see the instructor for details.)

    • Custom printed circuit board:Through the process of the design, each group willbe
    required to draw a detailed schematic. From the schematic, a two-layer printed circuit board
    will be created. Board etching will be processed by the ECE Department (the first one is
    “free”, but any subsequent iterations are the team’s responsibility). The team is then
    responsible for populating the board (solder the parts on the board), and for completing the
    final stages of debugging and testing on their custom board.

    • Be of personal interest to at least two team members:It is very difficult to devote the
    time and energy required to successfully complete a major design project in which you
    and/or your team members have no personal interest.There are lots of possibilities, ranging
    from toys and games to “useful and socially redeeming” household items, like audio signal
    processors and security systems.

    • Be tractable:You should have a “basic idea” of how to implement your project, and the
    relative hardware/software complexity involved. For example, you should not design an
    “internet appliance” if you have no idea how TCP/IPworks. Also, plan to use parts that are
    reasonably priced, have reasonable footprints, and are readily available. Be cognizant of the
    prototyping limitations associated with surface mount components.

    • Be neatly packaged:The finished project should be packaged in a reasonably neat, physical
    sound, environmentally safe fashion. Complete specification and CAD layout of the
    packaging represents one of the project design components.

    • Not involve a significant amount of “physical” construction:The primary objective of the
    project is to learn more about digital systemdesign, not mechanical engineering! Therefore,

    Our first idea was to make a wifi (voip) portable "phone" but they shot that down because of cellphones. The second idea is to make a electronic monoply game board that connects to android devices so you can see your properties and money. They haven't shot that one down yet but they didn't seem to care for it. So anyone have an idea what to do?
    #1 Borkil, Jan 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
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  3. Sleepingforest

    Sleepingforest Platinum Member

    Nov 18, 2012
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    A tablet representation of a computer. Anything you do on the tablet is sent as input to the computer, with both a "mouse" mode (so it's like a laptop trackpad and the screen is off) and a "screen" mode (so you can use touch gestures). Meant specifically to make people feel better about Windows 8. While it's not in use as a touch device, it can display an RSS feed or something.
  4. ussfletcher

    ussfletcher Platinum Member

    Apr 16, 2005
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    There are several applications that can do things like that.

    We had our senior design projects handed to us, you are lucky. If you want examples to get you thinking, these are the projects from the semester I had it.

    I was on team 3, the "Android Enabled Programmable Camera Positioning System"
  5. Subyman

    Subyman Moderator <br> VC&G Forum

    Mar 18, 2005
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    Bluetooth sensor package that syncs to a tablet/phone? Temperature, humidity, pressure, weight scale, etc. Could be interesting depending on how it's packaged.
  6. MagnusTheBrewer

    Jun 19, 2004
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    Start at the beginning. What are your and, your team mates, interests?
  7. sm625

    sm625 Diamond Member

    May 6, 2011
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    If you seriously cannot think of something then you might want to consider whether you in the right field. You should not have any difficulty here. The possibilities are endless. I loved working on projects like this. This is how you get a job after graduating by the way... you wow your instructor with your design and get a letter of recommendation from them.

    If I was in school today I would take a simple counter circuit, some hall effect sensors, and a gyro circuit and mount it all onto an RC car. Then write a program to scan and capture a room's dimensions based on data from the counter and gyro. As I drive the car around the room, the room will map itself out on the computer screen.

    With android, arduino, and bluetooth, you can do all sorts of crazy cool stuff with an RC car. Just because a whole bunch of people already drive all sorts of stuff with their phones doesnt mean you cant expand upon it further.
  8. MagnusTheBrewer

    Jun 19, 2004
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    I agree. What disturbs me most is this is a senior project and the OP doesn't seem to know how to apply problem solving techniques to determine a viable project topic. Lead with your strengths and interests.
  9. Denbo1991

    Denbo1991 Member

    May 5, 2007
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  10. Eureka

    Eureka Diamond Member

    Sep 6, 2005
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    That's actually quite a restrictive project. When we were given ours, we had pretty much free reign on choice, it just had to be approved.

    Would you happen to be on the East Coast, preferably in NJ or around the NJ area? We actually have quite a few senior design projects here that we send out to the local universities. I know of at least one that might fit your bill...