Design Project



Supervisor: Michael McGuire,

MM01 Mobile Gaming or Multimedia Presentation

The continuing miniaturization of microprocessors has resulted in cheap (<$50) microprocessors with capabilities such as multicore computing, 3D graphics processing, high data rate communications, and high speed signal processing that were previously available only on desktop platforms. With this project, students will work with the newer generations of embedded processors for a mobile computing, automation, or robotics project.

Example project applications are:

  1. Portable games/Location-aware computing.Handheld devices using the Android and iOS operating systems are well known to be excellent portable computing platforms. There are also cheap prototype boards such as the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, or STM boards which allow portable or low power computing appliances devices to be developed at low cost. The networking and portable nature of these devices has not yet been fully exploited to provide unique applications. Some of the devices also have the ability to find the user location which allows for additional dimensions to be added to the applications. Application like this could be useful to provide a way for helping new UVic students learn how to navigate the campus, learn the locations of important resources, and to socialize with other new students.
  2. Multimedia presentation/communication.Low cost mobile communications devices are equipped with wireless networking and multimedia codecs such as video playback ability. The university has created a high capacity wireless network which can support these capabilities. In this project, the students will develop a specialized communications application with multimedia presentation. For example, a communications application can be developed to give students working on homework assignments the ability to share video, image and text information. For example, this program might permit drawing on top of slides with audio interaction between students. Perhaps an application could be developed for supporting 'flipped classrooms' where the students can provide images and/or text for presentation on the projector system. A system for collecting all of the common data, auditing it, and then combining it for presentation needs to be done.
  3. By participating in this project, students will gain experience with the development of software applications on portable devices and the functionality of wireless local area networks.

    Prerequisites: Good software development skills and the ability to learn new computing languages and environments.

    MM02 Practical Use of Drones or Modified Drone

    Drones and other robotics platforms are becoming cheaper and their use is now being considered for more common business uses. With this project, the students will work with a drone to examine its use for some practical application or some new control system. For example, the students could look at the use of a robot to do inspection/cleaning of gutters or examining roofs. Challenges include how to incorporate location information with the collected image/video data in an automatic way.

    There are special restrictions for the use of drones in Canada (Transport Canada Regulations). If a drone is to be used away from an open field, there will need to be special control and safety mechanisms installed. This project could be on developing some of these required safety mechanisms such as collision avoidance, redundant radio controllers, automatic landing systems, telemetry systems, or whatever other mechanisms might be needed to permit these devices to be used close to buildings.

    Prerequisites: Good software development skills, hardware development skills, and the ability to solve hardware/software co-design problems. An interest in automatic control and aviation would be helpful.

    MM03 Automatic Stereo Equalization

    The goal of this project is to develop a system for a stereo system which can either automatically equalize itself to optimize the audio playback quality or enhanced the 3D effects of the sound being played back. This will be accomplished with an adaptive equalizer being placed before the speakers in the stereo system and microphones placed throughout the room where the stereo is located. The equalizer will compare the sound being heard at the microphones with the signal that is being sent to the speaker and calculate the required equalization settings to optimize the sound quality. A rough block diagram of the system is shown below:

    This project is ideal for 2-4 students who are interested in high-end audio playback and signal processing algorithms.

    Prerequisites: Good software development skills, hardware development skills, and the ability to solve hardware/software co-design problems. An interest in high quality audio would be useful.

    MM04 First Year Robotics Platform

    The objective of this project is design a simple robot platform for use in the first year ENGR120 class. The first-year students will build this robot from supplied instructions and then use it as the base platform for other class assignments. We are always looking for new projects to test the abilities of the first-year students. The project should be challenging but the technical difficulty should not overwhelm the first-year students. For example, the robot could be asked to find a point that is indicated by the intersection point of two lasers. Part of this project will be to determine a good method for point indication so that the first-year students can build several possible detectors designs with knowledge available to them. The students working on this ELEC499 project will also be build some prototype designs of how the search and travel task can be accomplished.

    The objectives of this project are listed below:

    • Find a simple robotics project suitable for construction by first year students.
      • Instructions should be appropriate for a first year engineering student.
      • Any required sensors should be simple for first year students to understand and use cheap, reliable, and robust sensors such as phototransistors, limit sensors, cheap hall effect magnetics sensors, etc.
    • Robot mechanics should be suitable for our student's VEX kits:
      • Two motors with rotation sensors.
      • Two motors without rotation sensors.
      • Simple gearing systems.

    Skills required:

    • Basic programming skills to generate code for robot.
    • Excellent communication skills (written and visual) to generate instructions for first year students.
    • Creativity to modify project to make it interesting, challenging, and fun for first year students.
    • Electronic skills to generate sensors for the robots.

    MM05 Other Projects

    I can also supervise other projects that students may have come up with on their own. My research interests and expertise include signal processing, embedded systems, and radio communications.

    FGKLMM1 (Co-Supervisors: Fayez Gebali and Kin F. Li) 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.