Design Project



Supervisor: Kin F. Li, (January 16, 2015)

KFL1 Assistive Learning for Autism

Autism which forms the core of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), is characterized by delays or abnormal functioning in one or more of the following domains: 1. Social interaction; 2. communication and 3. restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. There is growing evidence that individuals within the autism spectrum respond very well to therapies and programs that involve interaction with computers and robots, leading to improved communication and social interaction skills. Our goal is to evaluate and design prototype applications on a low cost microprocessor controlled or computer- and Web-based virtual robot. This could become a powerful platform for the development of interactive exercises that could be used and programmed by therapists working with those with autism. As an example, a team led by Dr. Nigel Livingston ( is developing a low cost, customizable, highly adaptable and interactive robotic system known as Freddie- Friendly Robot Employing Digital Devices that Interacts and Engages. Freddie will be used in a wide variety of applications including therapeutic, educational and skill building. Freddie is incorporated into a modified R2D2 toy robot ( The prototype is controlled by Raspberrry Pi computers, however BeagleBone computers could also be employed. Freddie has a variety of on-board sensors including a video camera. A key project goal is to design and evaluate a facial recognition program that would identify individuals in a group or alone as they look at Freddie. Freddie would then acknowledge each individual by name.

KFL2 A Facial Gesture Recognition System

The goal of this project is to design, build and evaluate a low-cost computer- and/or Web-based facial gesture recognition system. As in the project above, the system, while stand-alone, should be designed so that it could be incorporated into Freddie. Specific deliverables include a comparison of various low-cost input devices such as Webcam, Kinect, etc., and using the selected device to design and implement a simple system that can recognize some simple facial expressions such as smiling, frowning, and gazing at the input device. This facial gesture recognition module is envisioned to be part of a larger-scale system for many useful applications, for instances, an interactive robot for improving the communication skills of people with autism, an assistive tool for controlling the home interior environment for the elderlies, or a validation device for allowing security access to sensitive areas.

FGKL1 (Co-Supervisor: Fayez Gebali) Smart Phone and Education

The advancement and popularity of smart phones have made them a useful tool in many domains of applications. Similarly, education has been leveraging advanced technologies such as the clicker to enhance students learning experience. This project investigates the potential and feasibility of using smart phones as an educational tool. A framework is to be designed and implemented to accommodate specific-purpose modules that share information. Currently available projects include the design of a unified framework for all software and hardware platforms, real-time in-class testing app, course mark and grade reporting app, etc. It is expected that some of these apps, upon successful implementation, will be deployed immediately for use within the Faculty of Engineering. For more details please contact supervisors.

FGKLMM1 (Co-Supervisors: Fayez Gebali and Michael McGuire) Smart Campus Design and Development

With the advances of communication and information technologies, many cities and campuses have initiated projects to develop smart environment that can assist citizens to perform various tasks and to maintain their personal wellbeing.

The primary objective of this project is to provide a smart environment for the University of Victoria campus. Using the latest technologies such as GPS, RFID, smart Grid, etc., a Smart UVic system (aka SUVs) is to be designed and developed in a cost-effective fashion. Services offered as apps on smart phones may include building directory, route planning, emergency planning, people lookup, university announcement, etc.

399 Design Project I Deliverables:

  • Background survey of state-of-the-art smart campus technology.
  • In-depth report of deployed smart campus systems elsewhere.
  • Justified list of desirable features for SUVs.
  • Multi-phase and modularized development plan of SUVs.

499 Design Project II Deliverables:

  • Multi-phase and modularized development plan of SUVs.
  • Design exploration of selected modules as apps on smart phones.
  • Implementation of chosen design modules.
  • Verification and validation of the implemented modules.
  • Integration of validated modules into SUVs.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Participating in a large-scale project.
  • Learning research and development.
  • Gaining design experience.
  • Acquiring project management and planning experience.
  • Culminating teamwork and soft skills.
  • Solving real-world problems.

KFL3 An Assistive Monitoring System for Seniors

Many senior people live by themselves. In case of emergency such as falling or slipping, they may not able to contact their relatives or friends. This project deals with the design and implementation of an assistive monitoring system for the seniors. Technical aspects of the project include video and audio hardware, and event detection with software, using cameras, microphones, and the Internet.

Non-technical aspects to consider include privacy and user acceptability. An ideal deliverable would be a mobile app that one can monitor and view a subject's home in real time, as well as notification based on image analysis for certain critical events.