BME/CENG/ELEC/SENG 499
Design Project

 

2014 Summer Projects Summaries


The Next Generation Thermostat


Personnel: Emily Swan, Alyona Ivanova

Summary:

The objective of the project is to develop a next generation thermostat that receives inputs from a remote home energy management application, and communicates bid and price information with a retail electricity market. Considering the three month long project timeline the scope involves modeling and implementing the design for a house model, standard thermostat and advanced thermostat.

First, standard thermostat analysis determines the parameters required for the next generation thermostat design. The initiative is to develop a closed-loop transactive control system that has a controller that takes clearing prices from the market at 5-minute intervals for the advanced thermostat that implements the house model correctly. The users bidding price is representative of the desired temperature and the comfort level that the user wants. With these clearing prices, the controller will switch on heating or cooling corresponding to the clearing price. The goal of the project is to reduce the demand of power during the peak times of the day, in turn reducing the load on the electrical utility company and have the capability to work with renewable energy sources.


SOUNDSCAPE: Sound Spatialization Using Low-Cost Motion Tracking


Personnel: Aaron Emery, Griff Pugh, Nic Hallschmid, Brian Vincer
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Wu-Sheng Lu

Summary:

Soundscape is an intuitive tool for manipulating the apparent spatial position of a mono-recorded sound. With the simple motion of a wand, a composer can draw a custom path around a listener. Through a pair of stereo headphones, the listener will hear a given sound as though it is moving along the created path. This effect can be experienced in real time, or the path can be saved and applied to audio later. Real time applications of this technology would include immersive audio for games or video. Saving audio paths will be an easy and effective way to create instrument separation and 3-D movement in a music composition.

The technology of Soundscape utilizes the infrared light source tracking capability of the Nintendo Wii Remote. Two remotes are placed at an arbitrarily fixed distance apart and point at a user holding an infrared LED wand. The system identifies the relative geometry between the two remotes and reconstructs the three-dimensional structure from multiple two-dimensional views. A software interface uses the position data to construct an appropriate pair of head related transfer functions to give a sound a virtual location at the LED wand.


NHL Fantasy League


Personnel: Alex Lajeunesse, Brad Lucas, David Dahlgren, Kai Fuglem
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Wendy Myrvold, Dr. Jens Weber

Summary:

Fantasy hockey is a sports game that allows hockey fans to act as team owners, allowing them to draft real hockey players on their fantasy teams and compete with other owners` teams using the concept of weighted player statistics. With the current fast­paced evolution of technology, online fantasy sport pools are becoming increasingly popular with large companies such as Yahoo, ESPN, and CBS hosting their own variations of fantasy sports applications.

Our project will offer all of the functionality of current fantasy hockey leagues with the addition of full mobile support and playoff integration. While many available fantasy league websites offer mobile capabilities, Beer League Fantasy Sports will improve on this ability by providing full player drafting and trading capabilities from a mobile web browser as well as a computer, something which does not currently exist in free fantasy leagues. Additionally, current leagues have regular season pools and playoff pools. Our goals are to support cross­platform simplicity and to implement a mixed pool incorporating both regular season and playoff statistics to give sports fans a great fantasy hockey experience.


Portable Self-Contained VHF Repeater


Personnel: Peter Hawker, Kyle Moss, Tyler Burch, Peter Kazakoff, Blake Abercrombie
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Aaron Gulliver

Summary:

For our 499 project, we are developing a portable, self-contained VHF/UHF repeater. Current products are not purpose built and are generally re-configurations of old commercial installations. As such, they are very large and cannot be used portably.

Our portable solution allows amateur radio enthusiasts or emergency crews to take our repeater with them into remote areas where coverage may be poor. This will allow them to increase the range of their broadcasts by up to 50km.

We will be receiving signals in the 137 - 172 MHz band and transmitting on the 400 - 470 MHz band. This eliminates the need for a large resonant cavity which would make the small form factor of our product unattainable. Our repeater is meant to weather all elements and temperatures between -20 to 40 degrees.

The main challenge facing this design is the huge power disparity between received and sent signals and the need to filter out the sent signal to prevent saturation of the received signal.


Smart Med: Medication Management System


Personnel: Kelsey Blair, Simon Diemert, Paul Hunter, Kirk Richardson

Summary:

In the world of modern medicine, patients who do not adhere to their prescribed medication regimens may be at risk of injuring themselves; it is estimated that the cost of damages caused by medication non-adherence in Canada is $1.6B annually. The complexity of the regimen can place a demand on the lifestyle of a patient leading to non-adherence in those who cannot smoothly integrate their medications into their everyday life. The Smart Med Medication Management System provides an easy and portable solution to help remind users when to take their medication, while helping them create a schedule that fits, or minimally interferes with, their lifestyle.

The system consists of a set of 'smart' pill bottles, each of which is capable of communicating wirelessly with a base station to retrieve prescription information and transmit adherence information. The bottles use the prescription information to notify the user with audio, tactile, and visual cues to indicate a dosage is needed. Prescription information and instructions are displayed on an ePaper screen embedded within each bottle.


Group 6


Personnel: Anubhav Mishra, Cole Bosmann, Conrad Foucher

Summary:

The Air.Auth team plans to create a web­based password management service that incorporates Leap Motion technology. Like all password managers, the Air.Auth system will allow users to store their various passwords and access them using a single master authentication. Instead of the traditional username and password combination, Air.Auth will allow users to gain access to all their stored passwords by scanning their hand with a Leap Motion Device. Air.Auth will also enable users to record hand gestures and assign them to specific websites for which they have stored passwords. By combining these two features, Air.Auth makes logging into a website as easy as showing your hand and making a gesture. Air.Auth will be accessible on devices that support Leap Motion and Google Chrome extensions, allowing users to have access to their passwords wherever they go. Not only that, but the Air.Auth team will be publishing this service under an open source license, allowing for free usage and open development for all. With Air.Auth, your hand is your identity, and what you can do with it just got a lot more powerful.


ESS Printer Service


Personnel: Saeedul Alam, James Parry, Steve Fagan, Tim Harris

Summary:

The Engineering Student Society (ESS) currently operates a printer that allows engineering students and faculty to print out of the ESS office by creating a printing payment account. The current system used to unlock the printer has been in place for many years and has become outdated and confusing to use. It involves a series of command cards to operate and is very inefficient. Therefore, for our project we decided to create an updated system that will function using a 7 inch LCD screen as an easy-to-use user interface and will retrieve a payment account by scanning the radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip located in the persons' student card (UVic OneCard). This creates a system that can be easily used by students and faculty and involves much less help from ESS members for setup. Our design was built using a BeagleBone Black Microcontroller, Mifare RC522 RFID Card Reader Module and a BeagleBone LCD7 cape. We've also created an external account database connected via ethernet and each account is retrieved by searching for the corresponding RFID tag. Our printing payment interface will be attached and connected directly beside the ESS Kyocera printer.


Group 8


Personnel: Jacob Gulliver, Sean Rumsby, Lewis Weston, Tyler Lanigan

Project Summary

Both the craft brewing and home brewing industries are rapidly growing in BC. Many of the home-brewers possess the expertise to brew beers of similar quality to those from craft breweries but they lack the equipment to do so. Typical home-brewing setups are pieced together with whatever supplies can be found and are inefficient, imprecise, and require large amounts of labour. Our goal is to address all of these issues while keeping costs as low as possible.

A handful of home brewing automation systems exist; however, these systems are around 2000$ or more and may not be as efficient or precise as desired.

Technical Objectives

  • Automate the brewing process from the mash step to the end of the boil.
  • Cost should be below $1300.
  • Efficiency should be above 75%.
  • The system must be able to brew over 4 gallons of beer.

Scope

Our project will automate the mashing and boiling steps of the brewing process. This includes filling and heating the vessels, and pumping liquids between each vessel. The system will also add hops at required times. The system will not mill the grains, load the grist or hops, pitch the yeast, or handle the fermentation.


Autonomous Pan/Tilt/Zoom Camera Targeting System Conforming to Cinematographic Rules


Personnel: Ryan Fier, Curtis Langley, Jonathan Sanders
Faculty Supervisor: Alexandra Branzan Albu

Summary:

The goal of our project is to bridge the gap between an unmanned camera recording and professionally recorded video from a trained cameraman. This will be achieved using an automated pan, tilt, zoom camera targeting system. The system will accommodate multiple targets while conforming to cinematographic rules (such as the rule of thirds). Using the video feed from the pan/tilt/zoom camera and a second stationary camera, software will be implemented that targets and tracks persons of interest using a number of computer vision algorithms along with a PID control loop. The real time system will have the capability to automate the process of aesthetically recording speakers in a dynamic environment. It will be able to track multiple persons of interest using the stationary camera and intelligently decide where to focus the PTZ camera. Potential applications for this system include recording a lecture, discussion panels, conference calling, or security.


Group 10


Personnel: Fraser DeLisle, Joel Buchholz, Jordan Yu, Logan Bissonnette
Faculty Supervisor:

Summary:

Epoch Computing is creating a web-based timesheet application targeting companies with under 30 employees which do not want to purchase an expensive competing product. Organizations will sign up and will be able to add employees to their organization. Once employees have been added, organizations will be able to add tasks and assign tasks to employees. Employees will record the time that they have spent working on these tasks. From this, employers will be able to track how much time is being spent on projects within their organization, how much to pay their employees for payroll and how much to bill their clients based on work done.

The application will be hosted on Amazon's web servers, and a downloadable version will be available for companies that wish to host their own copy of the application. The application will be monetized using advertisements.


The Cyclobeatz


Personnel: Forrester Whitney, Liam Cline, Omaseko Ofentse, Wilson Wong, John Chol Nhial

Summary:

Keeping up with tasks that expense energy such as working out, riding bicycles among others, many a time tends to challenge motivation of the individuals involved. Our new product blends the power of music together with heart rate information acquired during the physical activity to increase motivation. The product is fitted with a sensing mechanism that tells when an individual's heart rate is faster, slower or moderate. This information is passed to an Andriod cellphone via a headphone jack, and base on this information, an app that also stores three different music categories: faster,moderate and slower, determines whether an individual's heart rate is faster, slower or moderate. The intensity of music to be played is chosen based on the user's heart rate. When the heart rate is lower, our system boosts the user's drive by playing fast paced music. On the other hand, if the user's heart rate is too fast, the system provides slower music to moderate the intensity of activity, otherwise the music remains on a moderated mode. The system will play a chosen intensity of music for a given duration of time before it defaults back to the moderated mode.


Group 13


Personnel: Erik Kalf, Vincent Stupka, Brandon Tapp, Raymond Zeng
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Fayez Gebali

Summary:

With a growing student population at the University of Victoria, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a parking spot in a timely manner. The primary objective of our project is to design a parking lot capacity counter. Its general functionality will be to keep a running total of vehicles in the lot, as well as to provide a flag system that alerts the users if a specific row is full. The running total will be generated on a large display at the entrance to the lot, and will be updated by specially designed sensing units. Such units are comprised of two parallel sensing strips that will allow for bidirectional detection. The internal flag system will make use of LED indicators positioned aside each row, where there will be an additional row specific tracking mechanism. With the implementation of our design, the time spent searching for a spot as well parking lot congestion will be greatly reduced.


Group 14


Personnel: Justin Sketchley, Brandon Jacklyn, Morgan McKenzie
Faculty Supervisor: Alexandra Albu

Summary:

As touchscreens replace the functionality of buttons in the dashboards of many vehicles, tactile feedback for drivers is less possible and a more modern approach is needed. Our product aims to make any UVC­compatible webcam capable of recognizing basic hand­gestures. With this simple addition to a vehicle, the infotainment system will no longer require visual feedback thusenabling drivers to stay focused on driving, and make the roads a safer place.

The camera will recognize various gestures using background­independent recognition; common image­processing techniques such as skin color filtering, hand­shape matching, static background removal are applied to recognize a human hand. Although our product is designed specifically for a vehicle, it is flexible enough to use for any application.

The gesture recognition is being implemented in various stages. The first stage is to recognize the hand and then to track its motion. Next, further work is being done to recognize gestures involving more complex movements as well as the movement of individual fingers. With our simple API, the results of complex processing will enable the creation of interactive experiences with programs.


Group 15


Personnel: Dustin Steinbach, Zander Erasmus
Faculty Supervisor: Xiaodai Dong

Summary:

The wireless ECG is a device that is designed to be capable of recording and transmitting a patient's heartbeat wirelessly to a central server. This removes the need for stationary systems that nurses must occasionally check and also makes the patient's information more accessible to the hospital staff. The device has 2 stick­on electrodes that go on the chest of the user that will record the ECG data. The device could also be used by private citizens to monitor themselves or vulnerable family members by accessing the server via proper credentials.

The device will use ECG sensors that report either to the patient's cell­phone or an other bluetooth device. The device then efficiently transfers the data to the server for computation. In the event of cardiac arrest, the device can automatically notify your doctor and send a message to a family member. This project expands on a previous project that built a bluetooth ECG sensor and will consist of reducing the size and power consumption of the ECG device, researching lower­power alternatives, and providing a stand­alone bluetooth receiver for patients without smart phone


Next Generation Thermostat for Demand Response


Personnel: Martin Slama, Abhishek Parmar, Gezachin Ghebregioragis
Faculty Supervisor: P. Agathoklis, D. Chassin, N. Dijlali

Summary:

As the demand for greener and more efficient technology increases, the electricity market represents a perfect opportunity for the next big improvement. With the advancements of new smart grid technology and integration of renewable resources, our project "Next Generation ThermoStat for Demand Response" aims to develop a smart thermostat which utilizes user comfort level and the current electricity price to alter the usage of the HVAC system. While a traditional thermostat works like a simple and primitive on/off device, that is activated by calculating the difference between set temperature and current temperature, the next gen thermostat acts like a smart computer utilizing the electricity price data (as it is an indication of current peak load experienced by the utility) to economically operate the HVAC system during peak hours. Since the dollar value of electricity actually fluctuates similar to any other publicly traded commodity, it is expected that as the demand for electricity increases, its value also increases and visa versa. Through complex calculations and smart control we allow users the power to take advantage of simple economics while also negating various important issues of power distribution.


RFID Security


Personnel: Kalen Espey, Logan Northcote, Kyle Treloar
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. P. Driessen

Summary:

The current project plan is to create a list of directories with secured files on an android smartphone. These folders/files will be unlocked with the use of an RFID card. The smartphone application will allow you to add cards, copy files to the cards folder, or edit/delete a card's documents. The app will use the RFID cards HEX ID for an encryption key that will then encrypt a folder. This will prevent the need to remember many different passwords as you could use your card as a master password.

Allowing different cards access to different databases, and having one master card to unlock all files is something that has been considered. Another possible future plan would be to hide all of the folders on the phone and only make the file visible in the app. This would require not only encryption, but would also require the file to be scrambled and then unscrambled and displayed only on the app. One last implementation that is considered is to have a audio signal to be outputted from the headphone jack when an authenticated card is present, to unlock an external piece of hardware such as an electric bike.