ECpE Senior Design

 

Previous Projects - December 2007

 

Jump to Project:
Dec07-01: Automated Mail Box Mail Detector System
Dec07-02: Parking Meter - Phase 8
Dec07-03: Economic Analysis of Alternative Energy Sources
Dec07-04: Alternative Energy Supplement System Design
Dec07-05: A Wireless Identification System to Assist Sight-Constrained People - Phase 2
Dec07-06: A Universal RF Communications Link
Dec07-07: Entrance Security System

 

Project Number: Dec07-01   (click to view the web site) ▲TOP

Project Title: Automated Mail Box Mail Detector System

Project Description: Many older people do not feel comfortable in making the journey from their house to their mailbox, which is located next to the street, in bad weather. The objective of this system is to alert the person, when he/she has received mail. The system will detect that something was inserted into the mail box and will transmit a signal to the person’s home indicating that the mailbox door has been opened and something inserted into the mail box. The system must not interfere in any way with the normal operation of the mailbox including significantly reducing the interior space. The system must be able to withstand normal Iowa winters. It must provide a reasonable battery life with conventional AA or 9-volt batteries. It must indicate when the batteries need to be replaced. It must not provide false signals to adjacent, similar systems. The mailbox owner must be able to insert outgoing mail into the mailbox and not receive a signal of mail present after he/she returns inside.

Faculty Advisor(s): Chen Client: Senior Design
 
Team makeup:
 
Tyler Clifton EE Mario Limonciello EE
Steven Walker EE Yee Wong EE
 
Project Number: Dec07-02   (click to view the web site) ▲TOP

Project Title: Parking Meter - Phase 8

Project Description: Previous teams have developed an automated parking meter as a potential replacement for the ones in the lot west of the armory. The current units are very expensive and require that a programmer be flown in from Canada to make any changes; moreover, the company has recently gone out of business. The new unit includes a dual-processor (with redundant memory) master and a single-processor client to serve a parking lot with up to 999 parking spaces. This team will help support customer testing beginning this semester, will help produce a second client unit, and will develop an interface to easily update changes in the software using a laptop computer.  Each client does/will include a coin acceptor, printer, keypad, and display. All communications to/from the master unit are/will be through a client unit.

Faculty Advisor(s): Lamont, Patterson, and Smith Client: ISU Department of Public Safety
Doug Houghton
515-294-1987
dad@iastate.edu
 
Team makeup:
 
Wilson Kwong CprE Pooja Ramesh CprE
Bret Schuring CprE Alex Wernli EE
 

Project Number: Dec07-03   (click to view the web site) ▲TOP

Project Title: Economic Analysis of Alternative Energy Sources

Project Description: A current project (May07-03 – Program to Evaluate Alternative Energy Sources) is developing an Internet-based program that could help a rural resident or farmer evaluate the applicability of various alternative energy sources as either a supplement to or a replacement for their current energy supply.  The team is including the following types of sources: wind, solar, small-head hydro, micro-turbines, fuel cells, heat pumps (both vertical and horizontal), biomass, and various types of energy storage.  The end user will specify the various types of energy usage that the system would supply (home, lighting and energy for other buildings, grain drying, remote electric waters/feeders, etc).  Other inputs would include energy usage both peak and monthly values for each major application and current energy costs from their present supplier.  Three types of operating modes are being investigated: a.) the alternative source(s) operating in a stand alone mode without backup; b.) the alternative source(s) operating as the primary source of power with utility-supplied power as a backup; c.) the utility-supplied power operating as the primary source of power with the alternative source(s) as a backup.  If the alternative energy system is a supplement to the current energy supply, the protection requirements must be defined.  The end user shall be able to specify where (possibly zip code or longitude and latitude coordinates) the system is to be used.  This will be used as the basis for sunlight, wind, and temperature conditions.  The end user shall be provided with a prioritized list of practical alternative energy sources and their expected life. For each alternative energy source and/or storage system, the end user shall be provided with a detailed check list of items that should be further investigated.  This shall include any required technical capabilities (human and machine) to install, operate, and maintain the equipment.   The project is to provide initial estimates of the costs for each applicable alternative energy source and/or storage system.

This objective of this project is to develop a rigorous economic analysis of a selected system. The analysis will produce best estimates of the cost to install the system, to operate the system, and to maintain the system.  Computations shall be based on the economic analysis methods taught in IE 305 or its equivalent.

Faculty Advisor(s): Lamont, Patterson, and Baird Client: Senior Design
   
Team makeup:
 
Kyle Drees EE Mitchell Fraizier EE
Peter Howard EE Abraham Tarbey EE
 
Project Number: Dec07-04   (click to view the web site) ▲TOP

Project Title: Alternative Energy Supplement System Design

Project Description: A previous senior design team (May06-16, Alternative Energy Evaluation) developed an extensive database for researching and comparing various alternative sources of energy.  A current project (May07-03, Program to Evaluate Alternative Energy Sources) is developing an Internet-based program that could help a rural resident or farmer evaluate the applicability of various alternative energy sources as either a supplement to or a replacement for their current energy supply.  (See the first paragraph of the Description of the previous proposed project, Dec07-16, Economic Analysis of Alternative Energy Sources.)

The objective of this project is to apply the results of the aforementioned projects and other resources as may be needed to develop a comprehensive design for implementing alternative energy uses to an actual facility (a small acreage located several miles west of the ISU campus).  At a minimum wind, solar, heat pumps, and various types of energy storage elements will be considered for implementation in each of the three operating modes described above.  Unique methods of energy usage will be considered including resistance heating of water, house supply from supplemental sources, or stable area supply from stand-alone wind turbines,.  Past energy usage data and projected building plans and uses will be provided to guide the development of the plan.  The team will interact with the clients to select and narrow the options as the project progresses.  A comprehensive design of the selected option(s) will be completed.  This will include the specification, with costs, of all equipment, parts, and materials necessary; all permits, requirements, and regulations to be satisfied; and an economic analysis of the installation, operation, and maintenance of the system with the aid of the members of the above project as may be made available.

Faculty Advisor(s): Lamont, Patterson, and Baird
Client: Patterson and Family
 
Team makeup:
 
Matthew Kelly EE Aaron Kulow EE
Daniel Rathe EE Joshua Riley EE
 
Project Number: Dec07-05   (click to view the web site) ▲TOP

Project Title: Wireless Identification System to Assist Sight-Constrained People – Phase 2

Project Description: Identifying food products once they have been purchased and brought home is a difficult task for a person with little or no sight capabilities.  The ability to scan barcodes and determine whether the can contains beans, peaches, or soup is currently available as a computer hardware/software add-on.  The problem is that it is not practical to carry a group of cans from the kitchen to another room where a computer is located each time a meal is being prepared.  The objective of this project is to design, implement, test, and document a portable wireless device that could be placed in the kitchen.  This device could be used to: (1) scan a barcode on an unknown can, (2) wirelessly transmit the barcode to the person’s computer in another room, (3) receive back from the computer the description of the can’s contents (chicken noodle soup), and (4) speak the can’s contents in a synthesized voice.  Since barcodes exist for more items than food, the system should be easily expandable to these other items.

This project was started by another senior design team and needs to be improved and completed.  The original project is being expanded to an oral pronunciation of the contents of the can in the room where the scanner is located.  Software is available for the pronunciation, but the transmitting and receiving system needs to be added.

Faculty Advisor(s): Wang
Client: Iowa Department of the Blind
Curtis Chong Program Administrator
Field Operations and Access Technology
524 4th St.
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (515) 281-1361
Fax: (515) 242-5781
chong.curtis@blind.state.ia.us
 
Team makeup:
 
Ryan Boesch EE Grant Jennings EE
Samora Mogaka EE Sumarlin William EE
 
Project Number: Dec07-06   (click to view the web site) ▲TOP

Project Title: Universal RF Communications Link

Project Description: An embedded radio frequency (RF) link is often required in many electrical and computer engineering senior design projects.  However, the design teams usually do not have the time and expertise to design such a link specifically for each project.  To meet this need, several basic, microprocessor-controlled RF links have been designed and tested by two previous design teams but with limited success.  This project team will review the previous teams’ results but will also conduct a comprehensive search for more recently developed technologies in order to produce an optimum RF link for use in future senior design projects.  To enhance the usability of this link, a companion development board, similar to the microcontroller development board used in CprE 211, is also required.  The project will involve the design, fabrication, testing, and documentation of the complete RF link package.  This will include the selection and integration of the optimum component parts, the layout of the appropriate printed circuit board, the provision of various antenna systems, the addition of various data and signal processing capabilities such as analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversions, the addition of various output transducers and capabilities such as pulse-width modulation, the development of alternative power supplies and packaging, and the comprehensive testing of the complete system.  Full documentation will include tutorials and design guides for using the RF link.  Multiple sets will be constructed for use by senior design teams in the future. 

Faculty Advisor(s): Ma Client: ECPE Senior Design
 
Team makeup:
 
Joseph Beierschmitt EE Shawn Freese EE
Jared Leonard CprE Matthew Raygor EE
 
Project Number: Dec07-07   (click to view the web site) ▲TOP

Project Title: Entrance Security System

Project Description: Building security has always been a difficult goal to achieve. Keys can be lost or stolen. Combinations to combination locks can be broken or simply revealed to unauthorized personnel. As a result, building occupants, equipment, and data systems can be vulnerable to injury or loss.

Recently, to improve the state of the art in building security, many high-tech solutions have been proposed and implemented, including biometric and radio frequency identification systems.

In the proposed project, the student team will explore the latest high tech building security technology solutions and propose a novel, but cost effective, approach to the building security problem. After approval by the faculty advisor and the course coordinator, the team will design and develop their solution, and demonstrate the working prototype. In particular, the team could attempt to tackle one of the great remaining problems in building security - an authorized person “holding the door” for someone who may or may not be authorized to enter the building. The team will also consider commercializing their product. A working solution could also be used for ISU labs and/or building security.

The senior design program has computers and a finger print reader, which the team can use, if they desire, as part of their prototype solution. The program also intends to add RFID device development capabilities. Cameras also may be considered as a part of the solution.

Faculty Advisor(s): Mina Client: Senior Design
 
Team makeup:
 
Nahiyan Ali EE Vaibhav Kumar EE
Alex Weigel EE Tao Zeng Math/EE

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