Design Project


499 Project Descriptions - Summer 2013

Project title: Raspberry Pi based Smart/Remote Home Automation System
Contact person: Dave MacLELLAN (250-217-2924)
Project discription:

Home automation and security is an increasingly available and attractive option to homeowners. However, cost and ease of installation and use are still barriers to widespread adoption. The goal of this project is to design a cheap, open source, and easy to as more traditional users.

Based around the cheap but powerful Linux based RaspberryPi mini-computer, this project will implement several common home security peripherals. A remote sensor will be available to monitor doorways and other security zones. A power switch will allow remote monitoring and control of a wall socket. Images and video will be available via a remotely controlled webcam. Best of all, these peripherals (with the exception of the camera) will be totally wireless, communicating with the central RaspberryPi hub via low cost and low power wireless communication. These peripherals will be controlled via a web-based interface served on the RaspberryPi and accessible from inside or outside the home.


Project title: UAV Power Management System
Contact person: Chris PEDERSEN (778-679-2785)
Project description:

The QT 1.1 developed by Quartenion Aerospace includes multiple electronic systems (autopilot, DGPS, servos, payload, etc). Each of these systems has different voltage requirements that make it difficult to use a single battery. Additionally, multiple batteries introduce the challenge of tracking current consumption and remaining battery levels. A single power management unit able to monitor and control all power requirements for the system on board the UAV greatly improves the UAV efficiency and design.

We are designing a power management unit that would feature dc to dc converters able to handle multiple input voltages. This system will be monitored and controlled by a microcontroller that calculates current consumption and ensure only the necessary dc to dc converters are running. All the information computed by the microcontroller should be accessible to either the autopilot or ground station to allow computation of remaining flight time.


Project title: Environmentally Friendly Garden Protection System
Contact person: Connor MALTAIS (250-889-9717)
Project description:

Building on our basic design in ELEC 399, our group will be designing an environmentally friendly garden protection system. This system will be designed to detect and remove unwanted animals/pests from your home garden using water and sound and its primary methods of deterrent. This system is environmentally friendly, using off-the-grid solar charging to maintain adequate battery levels, with a backup grid power option in the event of low battery.

Making this item as practical as possible, we've decided to increase the functionality of the design to also act as a personal garden watering tool - which can be controlled remotely. Features of this design include wireless communication to turn on/off the water, obtain regular reports of garden intruders, get feedback from soil humidity, and set up watering schedules.


Project title: EM Level Sensor
Contact person: Kris DOLBERG
Project description:

The objective of the project is to design an embedded device capable of measuring power transmission through a medium (such as water) vs. air. The system will consist of an array of patch antennas connected to a Software Defined Radio (SDR), Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) module available in the communications laboratory. The flexibility of SDR allows us to remove several costly components such as LNA, Amplifier and a power measurement circuit. The USRP using GNU radio has the capability of taking the antenna directly and using software to filter, amplifier and measure power easily.


Project title: British Columbia Power Correction
Contact person: Ryan CRAIG
Project description:

The purpose of this project is to provide a solution for correcting the power factor of loads on a utility. In the context of this project, the power factor is defined strictly as the ratio of real power to apparent power flowing into a given load. Adding reactive power to a system helps to maintain voltage levels for receiving end loads, which in turn boosts the power factor. Unity power factors or power factors of one are ideal as it requires the minimum volt--amperes to supply the load with power. Conversely, lower power factors increase the apparent power relative to the real power, requiring a utility to generate more volt--amperes than necessary to supply a load. Lower power factors also increase the amount of current on the line and reduce the efficiency of transmission. BC hydro applies a surcharge to businesses whose power factors are below 0.9, which is a financial deterrent for businesses with low power factors.


Project title: Real-Time Mission System of Autonomous Vehicle
Contact person: Ping-Hsiang HUNG
Project description:

AUVic is an autonomous vehicle team at University of Victoria that have attended the AUVSI RoboSub Competition for many years. The goal for the team is to design and develop an unmanned underwater vehicle that is capable to complete tasks autonomously. For example, the vehicle needs to identify the colour buoys then touch them with the right pattern. Despite the current AUVic's autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) can perform smoothly, the mission controller, however, has no decision making ability and can only follow a list of tasks that generated at the vehicle start-up. The current design is efficient design by following the list in the case that all instruments can provide correct information, but it is not rare that the instruments or the algorithms perform poorly at some situations. If the equipment fails to identify targets, the vehicle can potentially lose time during the competition on stand-by and waiting for the current task data. To resolve the potential problem that can affect the team performance, it is urgent to develop a system that has ability to manage and analyze vehicle's mission tasks.


Project title: Man-Overboard System
Contact person: Sean KILLINS (250-884-6251)
Project description:

Active monitoring is sometimes not possible due to factors as simple as not enough manpower to carry out the monitoring and cost for an active monitoring solution can be prohibitive. A passive monitoring system can be limited by not providing a warning of a problem in a timely manner for some situations. At sea it is not possible to actively monitor all personnel on board a vessel at all times. At a daycare it can be difficult to keep an eye on all of the children at all times. A passive system such as geo fencing requires that a boundary be established beforehand and sensors be laid out to establish the area of limit. Our project would combine the quick response of an active system, and provide the hands off, lower cost, and manpower of a passive system.

Our project will utilize the industry established Zigbee protocols to form a mesh network that will allow for a combination of active and passive monitoring. By building a wearable technology solution, the project can be customized for particular use cases; e.g. wristbands for use on boats to monitor if a crew member falls overboard or smaller packages that can be placed into children's shoes, or sewn into clothing to monitor them on playgrounds.


Project title: RC Vehicle Control System
Contact person: Hallan CURRIE
Project description:

This project will be to build a control system with several motors and servos that can be controlled through multiple android devices in a coordinated effort. For our implementation we will use a blimp or balloon as the platform to prototype the control unit. This allows us to focus on the control system and application design.

The end goal is to design and build an interactive controlled submersible in the small tank located in the Engineering Building to be used for open houses with the intention of increasing student interest in the Oceanic Engineering discipline.

Our solution will be to get in contact with several department members for guidance on building our model. The system will be required to move in 3 dimensions, so we will have to be able to control elevation and propulsion. To make the project more interactive and interesting, we will design the system to be controlled by multiple people. Each person will be able to control either a motor or servo using a mobile device and they must work together to pilot the model.


Project title: Redesign and Improvement of Xournal
Contact person: Andrey POLYAKOV
Project description:

Xournal is an open-source note-taking and PDF annotation software available for Linux and Windows with support for a digital stylus. Our project involves the analysis of the current design and features of the application. After this initial step, we plan on improving the usability of the application by adding features, fixing bugs, updating the design to work with more recent graphics libraries. Features that we are considering implementing include handwriting recognition, math formula support, cloud-synced noted, wide-monitor support, ink-like gradient pen tools, and better cross-application/platform support.


Project title: Car-Link Uvic - Enhanced Adaptive Cruise Control
Contact person: Pelle BJORNERT
Project description:

The overall project will employ several technologies to receive input from the environment and it will make use of the data acquired within its environment to safely accelerate or decelerate the vehicle to optimize traffic flow and avoid collisions. A laser range finder will be used to obtain an accurate distance from the front of the vehicle to the vehicle directly in front of it up to distances of 60 metres. This laser range finder will be used in conjunction with a camera that will use computer vision to get a distance that will aid the laser range finder by identifying objects outside of the laser's field of view. The two distances acquired will then be fed to a microcontroller to be turned into one reliable distance through programming logic. The microcontroller will also be given a speed of the vehicle for use in the proportional integral differential (PID) controller onboard the microcontroller. This PID controller will output values via the microcontroller to the accelerator and break to optimize the safe distance between the vehicle employing the Car-link system and the one in front of it. The user will be able to enter the desired speed into a touchscreen mounted on the vehicle's dashboard up to a speed of 50km/h.


Project title: Technology-Driven Small-Scale Greenhouse for the Home
Contact person: Mohammad AZAM (250-889-8628)
Project description:

Our technology-driven greenhouse project is designed to support self-driven people interested in living in a sustainable and eco-friendly way through home gardening. Not everyone who chooses to grow their own herbs and plants has the expertise to maximize yield through their efforts. In support of this, our product is designed to automate a number of processes in creating an ideal environment for growth of a selected herb or plant. Some of these automation features include monitoring of present conditions, optimal water levels, humidity, temperature, nutrient level of the soil, light level, and making adjustments to the environment inside the greenhouse based on a specified ideal environment for the plant being grown.

The grower will also have control over the conditions presented inside the greenhouse. Some of these features will be the selection of which plant to grow, setting of light levels based on environment, and adjustments to water levels. Controls for the greenhouse will be in an intuitive manner and, time permitting, allow for connectivity to mobile devices for remote monitoring and control.