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Author: Leyla Nazhandali
Smart Vehicles
In this project, students learn how making automobiles more autonomous can make them safer, by providing functionality like anti-lock braking, self parallel parking, and lane departure warnings. In the laboratory, the students work with small motorized cars with infrared sensors, programming the cars to spin in a circle, stop on a line, and follow a curvy path. In the process, the students learn about infrared sensors, motors, and embedded systems. A code framework is provided so that minimal programming skills are required.
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Author: Chris Macnab
Manipulating Everyday Objects with Prosthetic Hands
In this project, students learn how prostheses that use robotic technology can improve the lives of people with disabilities. In the laboratory, the students use Lego Mindstorms NXT kits to create an artificial arm or hand that can lift small objects, such as a coffee cup. In the process, students discover and explore the following concepts and ideas: Hooke's Law, hysteresis, Newton's Second Law, accuracy and precision, rapid prototyping, and the relationship between the voltage applied to a motor and its speed.
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Author: Sami Khorbotly
Error Correction Codes for Wireless Communication Systems
In this project, students learn how error correction coding makes wireless communications more robust in the presence of noise. In the laboratory, the students work in Matlab to code two simple error correction schemes, and simulate their use in a wireless channel. In the process, they learn concepts such as bit error rate, and see the trade-off between processing time and robustness.
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Author: Loren Wyard-Scott
Solid State Lighting for the Developing World
In this project, students learn how solid state lighting technology can improve the lives of people in the developing world, making their evenings more productive and safer. In the laboratory, the students design a portable, solar-charged, LED lamp that can provide two hours of reading light. In the process, they learn about basic circuits, the engineering design cycle, and light. They also compare the efficiency, durability, and cost of lighting technologies.
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Author: Taryn Bayles
Energy System Design: A Look at Renewable Energy
In this project, students learn how harvesting energy from renewable sources will help meet the future needs of society. In the laboratory, the students will develop a system to store energy from a renewable source (represented in the laboratory by a light bulb, a box fan, or flowing water). The students will transport the energy, and use it to supply an electrical load (a light bulb) in a different physical location. In the process, students will learn about energy and power, and will learn about
analysis of physical systems, modeling and simulation, and design under constraints.
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Author: Stephen Williams
Feedback Controlled Brushless DC Motor with Personal Electric Vehicle Application
In this project, the students learn how brushless DC motors have made personal electric vehicles (PEVs) possible, and calculate how much using a PEV instead of an automobile for some of their daily driving can impact their production of carbon dioxide, based on United States driving patterns. In the laboratory, students build a brushless DC motor using three different control methods, based on a reed switch, a Hall effect sensor, and optoelectronics, respectively. In the process, students learn about motors, and compare the components used for control in terms of their reliability.
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Author: Pamela Bhatti
The Coding of Sound by a Cochlear Prosthesis
In this project, students learn how cochlear implants work to improve the lives of people with profound hearing loss. The students experiment with the control parameters of a cochlear implant signal processor using Matlab tools, and learning digital signal processing concepts, including filtering, along the way.
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Author: Tom Hartley
Human Energy Generation and Electrical Signal Measurement
In this project, students learn about the energy generation and usage. Emphasis is placed on potential sources of renewable energy, and on how power demands vary from country to country. The students learn how energy is measured, and experiment with generating and storing energy themselves, using an AC generator connected to a bicycle and lead-acid batteries. They measure how long common household appliances can be run on the stored energy, and in the process gain a better understanding of their own personal energy usage.
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Author: Loren Wyard-Scott
Pico Power Generation for the Developing World
In this project, students create a power source capable of providing 1 Watt-hour of energy for night-time use. The students learn how access to even a small source of electrical power can make a difference to families in remote, undeveloped areas of the world. They also learn some basics of circuits, energy, and motors and generators, and gain experience with an engineering development process.
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Author: Jacques Beneat
Design of a Guitar Tab Player in MATLAB
In this project work with several MATLAB programs to look at the effects of frequency and modeling of signals. The project has two models. In the first module, the students use several MATLAB scripts to discover the effects of sampling, the frequency spectrum of signals, and the modeling of a harmonic signal such as that of a guitar string.
In the second module, the students make use of the modeling efforts of the first module to implement a realistic guitar tab player.
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Author: Masoud Agah
Discovering Wireless Sensor Networks: Applications in Structural Health Monitoring, Part 2
This curriculum module is part of a set of four curriculum modules. The curriculum module can be adapted to be used alone, or used as part of the set. In this set of projects, students learn about the importance of monitoring stresses on bridges and other civil infrastructure, and about how public safety can be improved by using wireless sensor networks for continuous structural health monitoring. This curriculum module, the second in the set, introduces topics in micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS), microsystems, and sensors. The students learn how MEMS technology has impacted a wide variety of products and applications, including airbags for automobiles, printheads, Wii controllers, and tools for analysis and sensing in medicine, biology and chemistry. In the lab, they use resistive sensor read-out circuitry developed in the first curriculum module, along with a resistive strain gage, to measure strain as a ruler is deflected. In the process, the students learn about the relationship between the digital signal captured and the physical quantity being sensed, and the factors that influence that relationship.
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Author: Allen MacKenzie
Discovering Wireless Sensor Networks: Applications in Structural Health Monitoring, Part 3
This curriculum module is part of a set of four curriculum modules. The curriculum module can be adapted to be used alone, or used as part of the set. In this project, students learn about the importance of monitoring stresses on bridges and other civil infrastructure, and about how public safety can be improved by using wireless sensor networks for continuous structural health monitoring. This curriculum module, the third in the set, introduces topics in radio-frequency wireless data communications. The students learn how wireless communications makes it possible to continuously monitor civil infrastructure from a remote location. In the lab, they experiment with the design of random access medium access control protocols for wireless sensor networks, which enable multiple sensors to share a radio channel. In the process, they see design trade-offs involving complexity, efficiency, and fairness.
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Author: Sanjay Raman
Discovering Wireless Sensor Networks: Applications in Structural Health Monitoring, Part 1
This curriculum module is part of a set of four curriculum modules. The curriculum module can be adapted to be used alone, or used as part of the set. In this project, students learn about the importance of monitoring stresses on bridges and other civil infrastructure, and about how public safety can be improved by using wireless sensor networks for continuous structural health monitoring. This curriculum module, the first in the set, introduces topics in sensor read-out electronics and data conversion. The students build a resistance bridge to measure an unknown resistance, which is sensed with an instrumentation amplifier and converted to a digital signal using an analog-to-digital converter. In the process, the students learn some circuit and sensor basics, and about the quantization error inherent in digital signals.
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Author: Luiz DaSilva
Discovering Wireless Sensor Networks: Applications in Structural Health Monitoring, Part 4
This curriculum module is part of a set of four curriculum modules. The curriculum module can be adapted to be used alone, or used as part of the set. In this set of projects, students learn about the importance of monitoring stresses on bridges and other civil infrastructure, and about how public safety can be improved by using wireless sensor networks for continuous structural health monitoring. This curriculum module, the fourth in the set, introduces topics in wireless sensor networks. The students learn about a variety of applications for wireless sensor networks, including environmental sensing, health applications, location tracking, and the identification of seismic events. In the lab, they use Zigbee-ready boards and resistive strain sensors developed earlier to build a wireless sensor network, and cooperate to send and aggregate strain data. A design exercise involves instrumentation of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge, which collapsed in 2007. In the process of doing the lab and design exercise, the students learn how physical limitations such as transmission range affects the design of wireless sensor networks.
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Author: Kamyar Dezhgosha
Map Mashups for Better Visualization of Location-Based Trends
In this project, students learn that map mashups can help improve understanding of a societal problem by allowing better visualization of location-based trends; for example, map mashups can be used to show the spread of epidemics, or the relative rates of child poverty, color coded on a map in an interactive and graphical way. The students learn how to program a map mashup, using the Google Maps API. In the process, they learn about object-oriented programming and web applications. Two versions of the project are provided, for students with and without prior experience in object-oriented programming (OOP). Version 2, for students with experience in OOP, has been zipped into one file listed under "Additional Project Materials".
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Author: Nicky Mostert-Phipps
Developing a Personally Controlled Health Record (PCHR) Using Microsoft Visual C#
In this project, students learn how personally controlled health records can make it possible for a person to capture, access, and manage his or her own health information in a convenient and secure way. They learn how these records can improve quality of care by improving communication between multiple healthcare providers, and reduce costs by avoiding unnecessary duplication of medical tests. In the laboratory, students use C# to program personally controlled health records. Along the way, they learn programming skills, about how encryption can be used to secure data, and about the design of user-friendly user interfaces.
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Author: Javier Resano
Digital Logic for Medicine and Biology Research: A hardware implementation of the Smith-Waterman algorithm for DNA comparison
In this project, students learn that the comparison of DNA sequences is important to a wide variety of applications in medicine and biology, including the analyses of ecosystem biodiversity, cancer mutations and the evolution of viruses. The students learn that specialized yet inexpensive digital hardware based on field programmable gate arrays can help speed the analysis of DNA sequences. They design and test a simple implementation of the Smith-Waterman algorithm that is broadly used for DNA sequence comparisons. In the process, they learn about computational platforms, digital logic, and a divide-and-conquer approach to design.
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Author: Yanfei Liu
Energy Scavenging from Vibrations
In this project, students learn that energy can be harvested or scavenged from the surrounding environment, in sufficient quantities for use in powering embedded systems. In the laboratory, students design and build a system using Lego pieces and a piezoelectric buzzer that harvests energy from vibrations and uses the energy to charge a battery. Along the way, the students learn about dc motors, cams and gears, piezoelectric material, and circuits for charging.
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Author: Andrea Mitofsky
Language Identification Software
In this project, students learn how it is possible to identify the language in which a text file is written, a necessary first step in automatic translation of information from one language to another. In the laboratory, the students write Java programs to compute histograms of letter frequencies in text files, and explore how letter frequencies vary in Italian, German, and English. Along the way, they learn about ASCII codes, and about how sampling a longer portion of a text takes longer, but produces a more accurate accounting of letter frequency for that text.
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Author: Sami Khorbotly
Embedding Data in Digital Images
In this project, students learn how digital watermarking is used to authenticate and protect copyrights in digital multimedia by permanently embedding data (a watermark) in the object of interest that only the original owner can change or remove. In the process, they learn how digital images are represented in binary format and stored, and work in Matlab, becoming familiar with matrices, arrays, and strings, and learning various techniques for data manipulation.
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Author: Alfred Yu
Electrocardiogram Amplifier Design Using Basic Electronic Parts
This project is broadly centered around the topic of biomedical circuits. Its overall aim is to provide biomedical or electronic engineering students with a hands-on opportunity to develop an electrocardiogram (ECG) amplifier circuit from scratch and thereby learn more about the technical details of bio-potential measurement devices.
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Author: Amy Bell
Arrhythmia Detection Algorithms for Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators
In this project, students learn how implantable cardioverter defibrillators allow people with certain kinds of cardiac arrhythmias to live normal, active lives. In the laboratory, the students use Matlab to investigate algorithms for quickly and accurately detecting the abnormal heart rhythms that require intervention. Along the way, they learn that signals can be processed in both the time and frequency domains, and how the complexity of an algorithm affects how quickly it runs. They also consider the ethics of an actual case in which a maker of defibrillators discovered a flaw in their device, but delayed publicizing the flaw for three years.
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Author: Warren Rosen
Microcontroller-based Smart House for Improved Energy Efficiency
In this hands on Real World Engineering project the students will program a simple microcontroller to measure temperature and control functions such as heaters or coolers in a prebuilt smart house. The house is made of a foam shell electric heater, thermoelectric air conditioner and an attic fan with vent.
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Author: Dmitriy Garmatyuk
Water Desalination via Energy-Efficient Capacitive Deionization (CDI) Technology
The project focuses on the new desalination technology for brackish water - capacitive deionization (CDI). Basics of electrostatics, engineering instrumentation and measurements, and design cycle are introduced. The students will assemble and test a functioning low-power, portable water desalination device.
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Author: David Lin
Remote Surgical Robotics: Control Systems and Human-Machine Interfacing
This Real-World Engineering Project focuses on optimizing a prototype remote surgical robot which has force-feedback capabilities. The objective is to detect the surface of a gelatin brain by tactile perception through the robot. Students explore the tradeoff between sensitivity and range while considering human factors as design constrains.
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Author: Anita Vasavada
Vehicle Passenger Safety: Exploring Whiplash Protection Systems
In this Real World Engineering Project, students will design and evaluate an active head restraint system.
-Learning about whiplash injury, and characterizing a physical model of the human head-neck system.
-Evaluating the physical model in the context of neck injury testing, and designing a head restraint which can limit head movements during a collision.
-Characterizing a motor and specifying commands which can move the head restraint appropriately when an impact occurs.
-Evaluating a sensor which will activate the motor before an impact occurs.
-Testing the ability of the entire active head restraint system to limit head motion during a simulated rear-end collision.
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Author: James Smith
Birth Weight Measurement in Midwifery and Mobile Health Care Delivery
Child birth is one of the most fundamental events in human existence. A key indicator used in the assessment of a baby after a successful birth is the baby's birth weight, as well as the baby's weight in subsequent checkups. Underweight babies have a demonstrated higher rate of mortality and are at high risk of developing a number of serious medical conditions. Identification of risk factors associated with birth weight is, therefore, an important task in post-term child healthcare provision. In this Real World Engineering Project, students are asked to design and construct a mechanical or electromechanical system to measure the weight of a baby immediately after birth and at discrete intervals representing growth over a two month period.
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Author: Felipe Perrone
Software Engineering: Public Service Announcement Movies Made with the Alice Programming Language
In this hands-on project students will develop stronger teamwork skills; create an animated PSA using Alice, a visual programming language; learn to use technology for mass communication and also receive an introduction to computer programming; put in practice the engineering design process, and have the opportunity to contribute to society by raising awareness to an important issue.
This software engineering project is centered on the idea of developing public service announcement movies with the Alice programming language. The proposal has emerged from the application of this project six different times in the context of an introduction to engineering course. This past history proved that the project is effective in teaching first-year college students the fundamentals of object-oriented programming in the context of the engineering design process.
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Author: Gregorio Cappuccino
Coping with the Emerging Energy Demand for Charging Plug-in Electric Vehicles
In this hands-on project, student teams will be engaged to cope with the very hot real-world problem arising from the increasing demand for charging Plug-in Electric Vehicles from the electrical energy distribution grid. By means of MATLAB simulations, each team will analyze the effect of multiple quasi-contemporary charging requests on the electrical grid, hence discovering how, as the number of users to be charged increases, either the grid collapses or the user requests may not be entirely fulfilled. The class will discover how smart energy dispatching strategies and smart battery charging methods may mitigate or completely overcome the discussed problems. The class will also be asked to reflect on how the traditional “dumb” grid infrastructure should be modified to allow each proposed solution to be really implemented, finding out the necessity of developing a smart grid capable of interacting with vehicles.
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Author: Tomas Ward
An adjustable movement-triggered switch access system for people with disabilities
In this project using an accelerometer, a relay and some basic analog signal processing circuits, students will develop a movement-triggered (tilt) switching system that can be used as a piece of assistive technology (AT) for people with disabilities. As a basic illustration of the concept students will use this switching system to turn on and off a simple battery-operated device such as a radio, fan, etc.
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Author: Christopher Kitts
Discovering Signal and Data Processing/Analysis Through Satellite Communications
This project involves the design and use of a simple, low-cost, receive-only satellite communication system compatible with numerous on-orbit spacecraft that continuously broadcast publicly available, amateur radio data signals. In general, this type of system solves the problem of remotely communicating with and controlling satellites (or other remote systems), a function that is necessary in order to cost-effectively provide satellite-based services such as global communications, weather monitoring, and scientific exploration. The receive-only communication system developed for this project accomplishes this task by supporting functions such as a) pointing the station antenna to the satellite (which may or may not be moving across the sky), and b) wirelessly receiving satellite audio signals. This laboratory allows students to explore concepts such as orbital motion and wireless communications. It also provides team-based hands-on prototyping and use of the station. A follow-on laboratory will be available in the future in order to extend the station with functions to decode digital telemetry signals and to process this data to support interpretation and analysis.
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Author: Ayanna Howard
Accessible Apps: Decoding of the World for the Visually Impaired
The project will illustrate the real-world contributions engineers make to society by showcasing how they can improve the quality of life for individuals with visual impairments. This real world-engineering project will enable students to expand access to the world for the visually impaired by coupling mobile device applications with auditory modality.
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Author: Mingrui Zhang
Image Processing Algorithms for Identifying the Gulf Oil Spill
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill between April 20 and September 19, 2010 was the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. Computer algorithms need to be developed to map oil contaminated areas. In this project students are asked to design image processing algorithms to locate and map oil spills on MODIS satellite images and implement the algorithms in Java-based software application. MODIS satellite images are prepared in BMP format for use.
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