ECE 457/458 Design Project I/II is the capstone design experience where students expand their abilities and develop important real world engineering problem solving skills. The students were divided into twelve groups. The details are given below.
Senior Design Instructors:
Dr. Howard Michel and Dr. Paul Fortier
|Group 1||Automated Chat Notification System (ACNS)|
|Group 2||Portable Night Vision Laboratory|
|Group 3||NIR Coefficient of Retro-reflection Measurement & Sample Holder with Automated Bi-axial Stage|
|Group 4||Lake Monitoring System|
|Group 5||Radio Data System Receiver|
|Group 6||Printed Circuit Processing System|
|Group 7||Computer Controlled Guitar Player|
|Group 8||Wireless Digitizing Hydrophone|
|Group 9||Dolphin Monitoring/Communication System|
|Group 10||Dynamic Braking Alert System|
|Group 11/12||Micro-fluidic Bio-Sensor: Proof of Concept|
Automated Chat Notification System (ACNS)
For this project, our group was tasked with creating an Automated Chat Notification System (ACNS) for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Newport, RI. Currently, NUWC uses communication via a Chat Server to provide a means for Navy personnel out on a fleet to send in a help request, in the event that they require assistance with a technically high-level problem. The Server machine for the chat system is located in a library at NUWC, where any incoming requests are currently processed by an on-duty librarian, and then forwarded out to the proper Subject Matter Expert (SME), who is simply a Navy employee with an expert-level of knowledge in a particular technical field. However, since the library is not staffed 24/7, NUWC was looking for a more automated approach to this help request system, that would be capable of contacting the correct SME based on the topic of an incoming help request, without requiring any human interaction, which is where our group comes into play. And with that background information in place, the ACNS acronym should hopefully make a bit more sense -- “Automated” because a working system wouldn’t require any intermediary human operation, the “Chat” referring to the server through which the help requests are sent, and the “Notification System” referring to the process of ‘notifying’ an applicable SME that their aid is required.
Portable Night Vision Laboratory
Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), constantly works to improve the performance of the military’s camouflage fabrics and camouflage patterns. The NSRDEC emphasizes on improving each respective material’s spectral signature in the near-infrared region, which is the region where night vision goggles operate. In order to showcase the materials they have created, the NSRDEC requires a miniature version of the laboratory that is set up at their facility. The main goal that our design team will be working towards this year shall be the creation of a portable, lightproof system that can accurately simulate the brightness and the spectrum of no less than four different moonlight levels. The device we create shall be compatible with the PVS-7D night vision goggles, as they are the military standard, and may allow for the compatibility with all 3rd generation night vision goggles.
Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC)
NIR Coefficient of Retro-reflection Measurement & Sample Holder with Automated Bi-axial Stage
The customer requires an automated biaxial stage for holding fabric and an efficient way to calculate the retro-reflection coefficient. Currently, the Natick Soldier Systems has fabric sent to another lab for accurate testing. While the company has the necessary detector and source, they do not have the ability to test in house. The intent of this project is to decrease the testing time. The project must follow the ASTM formulas provided by the company.
Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC)
Lake Monitoring System
A Lake Monitoring System was developed for the Citizens for the Preservation of Waterman Lake (CPWL) located in Geenville Rhode Island. The scope of this project was to develop a system to gather and store data on a website (cpwl.org) to support real-time viewing of the lake’s and environmental status. The system gathers wind speed, wind direction, water temperature, water depth, rain fall, flow rate, temperature and humidity. There are three locations in which different sensor systems are located. The main housing station is located at Professor Viall's house. The main unit consists of the wind speed, wind direction, rain fall, temperature and humidity sensors. The secondary units will have the water temperature, water depth and will be located on Viall's dock. The last unit will have a flow rate which will be located at a culvert on the lake. The entire system supports environmental monitoring of the lake’s conditions in real-time.
Citizens for the Preservation of Waterman Lake (CPWL)
Radio Data System receiver
The RDS receiver, just like its name implies, is a receiver that will be monitoring RDS signals. Radio Data System is a communications protocol used to embed digital information onto traditional FM Broadcast signals. Information that RDS carries include time, program information, and traffic announcements. For this project we were required to design Radio Data Service (RDS) receiver that will be used by our customer to monitor the data of a radio station on the FM frequency range. The device will monitor the RDS data stream and display the information for the user. If the signal is lost the device will alert the user of loss in data feed by sounding an alarm.
DBA SAHTECH Company for Cape Cod Broadcasting Media
Anisha Reddy Gangapuram*
Printed Circuit Processing System
The scope of this project was to improve upon an existing design for a desktop printed circuit board etching system. Our customer, Mark Whittaker with the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering here at UMass Dartmouth, builds devices to improve the lives of disabled people. Many of these devices, such as a bed incline controller for someone who is quadriplegic, require custom circuitry designed specifically for them. In order to save on cost, the circuit boards used are etched in house. Etching circuit boards requires the use of extremely corrosive chemicals that can be harmful to both people and any metallic objects in the immediate surroundings. After viewing the existing design, its ineffectiveness and inability to produce usable circuit boards consistently, as well as its requiring chemistry-lab ventilation in order to be safe, led us to the decision to do a ground-up redesign. We decided the system had to be able to be used in our customer’s lab, with a self-contained air filtration system, and be able to make usable circuit boards the first time, every time.
Computer Controlled Guitar Player
The scope of the project was to design, build and test a computer controlled musical instrument device that would allow an individual with limited mobility to create, store and playback music on a pluck-able string instrument. Musicians are undoubtedly some of the most passionate people in the world but playing an instrument, such as a guitar, is not an easy task for a musician with limited mobility. This device will open doors allowing a disabled individual to surpass physical boundaries and create music without limitation. This project is sponsored by the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering, a non-profit organization which designs and manufactures tools to help disabled individuals complete everyday tasks.
Wireless Digitizing Hydrophone
The DH-100 is a comprehensive data acquisitioning system that records, filters, samples, and stores underwater acoustic data. The system is relatively low cost, of moderate fidelity, and simple to use and deploy. A MIKEL specified hydrophone will be connected to a custom designed splash proof enclosure which encases the electronics necessary to wirelessly transmit the data via a Wi-Fi module. The data will be received by a PC client where the acoustic data will be recorded and saved into .wav files for user playback and analysis. Acoustic signals recorded by the hydrophone will be filtered by a low-pass filter which cuts off frequencies above 50 KHz. The signal will then go through a single-end to differential-driver circuit in order for the analog to digital converter (ADC) to correctly sample the signal. The ADC will generate a 16-bit word determining the values of the signal at a rate of 100 KHz and communicate with the microcontroller via 16-bit SPI interface. The microcontroller will send the digitized data via 16-bit SPI to the Wi-Fi module for which the data will be wirelessly received by a PC user. A PC-side program will convert the digitized data into associated voltage values and save the data for users to later observe.
Dolphin Monitoring/Communication System
The motivation for this project is based on the research of two-way dolphin communication done by Denise Herzing. She has developed a system that transmits signals to the dolphins in order to teach them new “words.” The new project involves designing the preamplifier, data storage, and means for allowing listening in the audible frequency range by heterodyning the received signals. The project also includes developing a communication component that allows user to send real time and pre-recorded signals (or messages) to the dolphin.
Timothy Doucette Jr.*
Dynamic Braking Alert System
The goal of this project was to develop a prototype for a new brake light system for motorized vehicles. This new brake light system indicates, by use of RGB’s, more precisely how fast the vehicle is decelerating. The revised requirements given by our customer is compared to our engineering requirements. These requirements are compared and contrasted to lead to our customer’s satisfaction. Tasks and responsibilities are divided amongst the teammates according to their strengths in order to lead to the project’s success. Many different designs were created, here we have three main designs that help lead us to our final design and completion of the project. All of our designs have high level diagrams but our final design is described in much further detail. The budget for our initial and final designs are listed as the requirements changed slightly throughout the duration of the school year. Lastly the ATP (Acceptance Test Plan) is listed and described as it pertains to the completion and testing of our design.
Hippo ePhi Data Storage Inc.
Micro-fluidic Bio-Sensor: Proof of Concept
The analysis of dielectric data and biological effects on electromagnetic fields has been investigated for decades. When placed nearby high frequency circuits, the dielectric properties of biological elements modify the electromagnetic field, creating the possibility to obtain a dielectric ‘signature’ of a certain substance. Based on the prior research performed in the field, our customer, Mr. Tom Lambalot, ultimately desires a product that can perform an early warning detection for diseases through dielectric analysis of blood, at a relatively cheap cost. When performing blood tests, doctors send the blood sample to a lab for analysis, which can take anywhere from 12-72 hours. Analysis through electromagnetic fields could potentially take only seconds, providing doctors the ability to assess and treat their patients quicker. In rare cases, early warning detection could even save lives. As a team, our task was to provide evidence that electromagnetic fields are in fact affected by different substances and that the effects are also differing themselves. To accomplish this task, we were provided with multiple hybrid RF couplers and a set of parts manufactured by Dolomite Microfluidics. The hybrid couplers were intended for a prototype build to provide the proof of concept. The Dolomite parts were provided for the prospect that we obtained a successful prototype with enough time remaining to create a final product. Although we were unable to provide a final product, we were able to accomplish our task by providing a proof of concept through our successful prototype design. There were numerous design options we were presented with, leading us to perform a large amount of research and computer simulation before selecting a final design for our prototype build. Figure 1 below displays our high level work flow. There were numerous customer meetings and design presentations (not indicated in the work flow) guiding us through the process.
TWIA, Mr. Tom Lambalot