& Engr 466
Senior Design Projects: May 2004
Project Number: May04-01 (click to view the web site)
Title: Road Construction Safety Project
Description: Approximately 1000 people were killed nationwide in 2001 in road construction zone accidents. Many more were injured or had close encounters. Most of the accidents occurred because the passing motorists failed to sufficiently reduce their speed, didn’t realize their required stopping distance, or were distracted from their driving by other activities such as talking on their cellular telephones, eating, or attempting to control their kids. The approach would be to determine ways to make drivers more aware of the dangers of speeding in construction zones. The primary approach would to remind drivers on a real time basis of the need to slow down and be particularly careful in construction zones. A secondary approach would be to explore other mechanisms (public safety ads on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc) to educate the general public of the dangers involved.
Examples of primary approaches would include modifications to existing technologies including, but not be limited to: 1) computer-driven message boards, 2) radio transmitted messages, 3) radar units with visual feedback, 4) photographic monitoring results, 5) warning lights, and 6) reflective clothing enhancements. The use of other technologies also will be considered. The project will be conducted in a slightly different format than usual. During the first semester, the student team, working with an advisory group, will define a number of possible enhancements to the current systems for the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) to evaluate. Those enhancements that were approved will then be tested by the IDOT during the current or next available construction projects. During the second semester, the student team will evaluate feedback from the IDOT and make any necessary enhancements. A final report will be produced for the IDOT. The team will be working students and faculty in civil and construction engineering and psychology.
Project Number: May04-02 (click to view the web site)
Description: ISU currently has two pay-for-parking lots that have computerized control units with receipt printout capability. Each unit is programmable. The initial cost of each unit begins at $10,000 and rapidly escalates to more than $75,000 as features are added. Working with the ISU Parking Division, the objective of this project would be to develop a demonstrable, microprocessor-based prototype unit with a number of features such as variable time-of-day rate, add-on time capability, etc as specified by the ISU Parking Division.
Project Number: May04-03 (click to view the web site)
Description: A small company in northeast Iowa has developed a deformable putting surface, called The Dream Green, which can be used either as a practice putting surface in inclement weather or as a competitive game. A number of Dream Greens are being used by collegiate golf teams (including the Iowa State University golf team) while others have been purchased by sports bars and cruise ships. The putting surface is deformed by manually sliding wedges with plateaus under a number of bars that support the surface. Each end of the rectangular-shaped putting surface may also be manually elevated to add an additional putting challenge. The developer desires to automate these adjustments. A previous Engr 466 (Multidisciplinary Design) team has developed a basic design and has designed a new wedge system that can be elevated with an electric motor, but was unable to identify a motor of acceptable size and cost. This team, working in conjunction with ME students from Engr 466, will accomplish the following objectives:
Project Number: May04-04 (click to view the web site)
Description: The objective of this project is to completely define the requirements for a campus locator system. New students on campus as well as visitors to campus often need assistance in their travels about campus. Many campus groups have expressed an interest in such a system. For example, new students might want to get from the campus residence to their classes via the shortest route (running late for class) or via an indoor route (during bad weather) or visitors to campus might desire a guided tour of the historic or famous locations on campus. During the definition phase, the project team shall determine what are the possible uses, possible capabilities, possible implementations, and possible groups with an interest in such a system. The end objective of this project is to develop a complete set of requirements for the campus locator system that could be implemented by a follow-on senior design team. Campus maps, building maps, pictures of buildings and other structures shall be included. The use of PDAs, the Internet via wireless connections, CDs versions for computer installation, permanent electronic displayers around campus shall all be considered.
Project Number: May04-05 (click to view the web site)
Description: A commercial washer or dryer for use in a laundromat uses the same basic machine as the residential unit, but costs $300 or more for the addition of the coin-operated controller. The objective of this project is to complete a previous project to develop a controller that would enable and disable the electric supply to the washer or dryer and maintain a record of the number of cycles that the appliance and the controller have each operated. The owner should be able to set the cost per wash or dry cycle and the associated time period. The system should recognize when the user is finished with the appliance.
Project Number: May04-06 (click to view the web site)
Description: A student who misses school for any given period of time (or the student’s parents or friends) often must contact each teacher for each class missed to compile a list of all the reading and homework assignments to be completed. The objective of the project would be to develop an Internet-based system that will provide the student or his/her representative a single central website from which to print out the assignments and related information for all classes that were missed. The system must be easily accessed and understood by the student; it must be easily maintained and updated by the teaching staff. The system should log each time a student’s file was addressed.
Project Number: May04-07 (click to view the web site)
Description: At many technical conferences, a hard copy conference program is no longer provided; instead a CD that contains the conference schedule and proceedings is provided. Many attendees do not want to carry a laptop computer around from session to session. They need to be able to download to their PDA the portion of the conference schedule and the associated presentation abstracts or papers that they are interested in for that day. This will provide them the necessary information and they won’t have to carry their laptop throughout the day. The objective of this project is to implement the necessary software using a computer, a PDA (furnished by senior design), and the LabVIEW software from National Instruments.
Project Number: May04-08 (click to view the web site)
Description: A large number of devices, including many that have been implemented as senior design projects, require battery power of various voltages. These voltages typically include 1.5V, 3.0V, 3.3V, 4.5V, 5.0V, 6V, 9V, 12V, 18V, and 24V. Some voltages need to be +/- whiles others are only +. While AC-to-DC converters are readily available in these voltages, buying and storing ten (or more) separate converters to cover the desired voltage range is expensive and unhandy. This team will review the previous team’s design, implement, test, and demonstrate an AC-to-DC converter capable of selectively supplying as a minimum the ten voltages listed above. (The team will investigate the need for additional voltages and include them if appropriate.) The inclusion of a selectable current-limiting feature, voltage/current/power metering, and a multiple voltage output capability will be included. The converter must be low cost, easy to use, reliable and rugged, and meet UL (or equivalent) safety standards. The converter will be produced for use in the ECE senior design program and may have commercial potential if well executed.
Project Number: May04-09 (click to view the web site)
Description: Senior design has received one of the very first commercial versions of ELVIS. The ELVIS unit is connected to a digital computer through a data acquisition board. Students can build circuits on the supplied breadboard. Measurement results are displayed on the computer’s monitor. The objectives of the project are as follows: (1) to convert all of the EE201 laboratory experiments into ELVIS format and test them using a 201 student team, (2) determine how ELVIS might be used in other required departmental labs including EE203 and EE303, and (3) determine how ELVIS might be used in the senior design labs. The expected results will include: (1) a revised hardcopy of the EE201 lab manual, (2) an electronic version of the same document, and (3) a detailed report covering the other project objectives.
Project Number: May04-10 (click to view the web site)
Description: Eagle Bluff is a non-profit, residential environmental learning center located in southeast Minnesota near Lanesboro. Its maximum energy consumption is 500 kW. The center would like to become energy self-sufficient and remove itself from the electrical grid. The goal of the project is to explore various supply and possible storage alternatives including wind generation, photovoltaics, hydrogen production, fuel cells, bio diesel, and batteries and to make recommendations (including a system design) as to the best system. The expected end product will be a report that will include: (1) system requirements and environment, (2) options considered and descriptions, (3) prioritized options and reasons for prioritization, and (4) a detailed system design.
Project Number: May04-11 (click to view the web site)
Description: The conventional economic dispatch problem (as studied in EE 303) results in optimal economic operation of a set of generation stations based on optimization methods applied to the generation unit cost-rate curves together with the equality constraints on total generation and on generation limits. The problem is effectively solved with equal incremental cost values when the unit incremental cost-rate functions are increasing with generation level (implying convex cost-rate functions). Combined cycle units, however, have cost rate functions that are quite different from single cycle units utilized at traditional thermal plants. The main difference, because of the connection between the gas-turbines and steam-turbines, is that the cost-rate functions are not convex. In addition, there are a variety of time-staggered constraints between the units. This project will develop cost-rate models of combined cycle plants found in the MidAmerican Energy Company system and an economic dispatch calculation algorithm to identify optimum economic operation for systems containing such plants.
Project Number: May04-12 (click to view the web site)
Description: The State of Iowa and surrounding regions have significant potential for utilizing wind turbines in supplying electric energy needs. As a consequence, the total wind MW capacity has increased significantly in recent years. Unlike thermal (coal and gas-fired) and hydro power stations, wind turbine output is unpredictable because of wind variability. This project requires identification and testing of generation short- and long-term MW forecasting methods for wind turbines and development of a method to include the influence of wind turbines in dispatching algorithms for thermal and hydro units.
Project Number: May04-13 (click to view the web site)
Description: Each year students from middle schools and high schools across the United States participate in the FIRST (Fostering Interest in Research, Science, and Technology) Lego League (FLL) robotics competition. The FLL competition involves the design, building, and programming of small robots constructed from Lego blocks with a microprocessor, motors, and sensors from the Lego Mindstorm collection. The students design and program the robots to solve the challenge or perform the function (such as negotiating a complex maze in the fastest time) posed in the competition. Iowa State has been asked to develop aids, which are acceptable within the competition rules that will maximize the ability of handicapped students to participate as fully as possible in the FLL competition. Such aids might include, but not be limited to, audible signals from the robot that help a blind student track its motion; or, the inclusion of auditory response and large icon aids to programming the robots for blind students or those with limited sight. The aids will be developed to support the student for whom the request was specifically made but also may be extended to help specific categories of handicapped students selected by the team.
Project Number: May04-14 (click to view the web site)
Description: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? When will we get there? I’m bored!!” Such is the frustrating litany heard by many parents on an extended car trip. This project will develop software to be used on a laptop or PDA by children four to twelve years of age during an extended trip. The nature of the software, to be determined by the team, might include various games (especially those particularly pertinent to travel; e.g., locating roadside objects in alphabetical order), or learning-based exercises based on the local geography, etc. The team should consider a variety of games or exercises, both for individual or group play.
Project Number: May04-15 (click to view the web site)
Description: Computer console paradigms existing in the commercial world include the application of significant computer hardware within an enclosure presented in front of the operator which must be environmentally protected and maintained. The project team should consider other methods of allowing an operator to work at a workstation site without the need for a costly or massive console to accomplish their typical work tasks.
The project tasks include:
The corresponding Lockheed Martin tasks include:
Project Number: May04-16 (click to view the web site)
Description: Automotive and heavy equipment applications use sensors on machines to report temperatures, pressures, speeds, etc. to a central embedded computer, but the wiring harnesses always seem to be a reliability problem. This project will design a network of sensors that can report data wirelessly. Sensors can be battery powered and should provide updates to the central computer at selectable rates up to once every 10 milliseconds. Sensor networks on two different machines sitting side-by-side should not interfere with one another. For purposes of this project, we can ignore potential EMI/RFI considerations.
Project Number: May04-17 (click to view the web site)
Description: The Transportation Department of Heartland Senior Services provides transportation services to various special needs constituencies throughout Story County on both a scheduled and “by request” basis. The purpose of this project is to develop a software program that will help automate the scheduling activities. The program will implement as many of the following capabilities as possible in the priority order specified by Heartland: 1) determine the requirements for and schedule of “special equipment” vehicles and/or drivers; 2) build and maintain a database with address, contact, and “special needs” data for all passengers serviced by Heartland; 3) provide an interactive, easily used graphical user interface to enter transportation requests from Heartland clients, and update the database; 4) determine the most efficient, shortest routes including order of pick-up commensurate with required pickup and arrival times (routing is to be determined both between and within all towns in Story County); 5) honor the requirements of “special needs” passengers such as those using a wheelchair requiring “first in, last out” loading; 6) facilitate the transfer of all required passenger accounting data to other accounting software used by Heartland; 7) track usage data and schedule maintenance for the fleet vehicles; 8) track the status and schedule required training updates for drivers and other personnel; and 9) generate required reports automatically in Excel and/or Word format.
Project Number: May04-18 (click to view the web site)
Description: Boone Area Recreation is a recreation department that serves all of Boone County. It provides sports, physical activities, a variety of arts/crafts as well as learning opportunities for all ages. Software is needed for this small department to be able to track various parts of these activities in one place. The program must be able to:
Keep an inventory list and a way to track items that are checked out from the department.
Project Number: May04-19 (click to view the web site)
Description: The general objective is to access the main memory array, receive the data, serialize the data, and output the data matched to the external data bandwidth. More specifically, the project team will design a read data path that is able to meet the Fast-Fast Corner specification and the Slow Corner specification. The Fast-Fast corner specification must be met in order not to overload the storage capacity. The Slow Corner specification must be met in order to ensure the array access is not too long. The result will be a design report submitted to the client.
Project Number: May04-20 (click to view the web site)
Description: The automatic programming of software agents is an active field of research. One of the most powerful techniques, evolutionary computation, can program software agents to a relatively high level of performance, but with no method of certifying their behavior. This creates the need for software for testing and analysis of automatically programmed software agents. The potential user community includes cognitive psychologists, their collaborators, and 7th – 12th grade students wishing to experiment with software agents and simple robotics. The project team will produce software applications that run on both the C6 (the 3-D version) and Windows platforms (the 2-D version). The software will allow the user to build a virtual environment and populate the environment with an assortment of robots, boxes, barriers, pits, and other items. Evolutionary algorithms are used to program virtual robot agents that perform certain tasks (e.g. destroying other agents, building structures with boxes, painting the floor, and moving boxes into useful configurations), thereby allowing the software to be used in behavioral analysis of evolved software agents.
Project Number: May04-21 (click to view the web site)
Description: Operators of heavy equipment normally need to communicate via two-way radio, but very high ambient noise levels often make it difficult for an operator to hear what others are saying. This project will design, implement, test, and demonstrate an active noise cancellation system, possibly using cab-mounted speakers or a headset the operator would wear. The system should still allow the operator to hear specific warning horns and alarms, as well as radio transmissions.
Project Number: May04-22 (click to view the web site)
Description: Guidant uses batteries in implantable pacemaker and defibrillator products, and desires a better understanding of short and long-term battery performance. The existing battery-testing system in use is expensive, doesn’t meet all recent requirements, has features that are not used and relies on too many human resources. Thus, a new device could alleviate these issues by focusing on features that are required and saving cost by eliminating un-needed features. Decreasing overall cost would allow the use of more testing devices and reduce human resources. By testing more batteries accurately, Guidant will be better able to predict the long-term performance of pacemakers and defibrillators in a growing customer base.
The proposed battery testing device must capture voltage, current, cumulative energy and allow for the load on the battery to be programmable by constant current, resistance or power with millisecond resolution. The load must have low capacitance, low inductance and be controllable programmatically. Software will be required to program the device and display output. The end product must allow a user to export data for further analysis (delimited text for import into Excel). The senior design team will choose between using an onboard controller or a personal computer to drive the device and collect data over time. Each device should cost < $100 to construct, as long as all other technical requirements can be met satisfactorily. The devices must be capable of being cascaded so that one computer could program, control and receive data from multiple devices using TCP/IP communication.
The project deliverables include a design of the proposed electrical circuits, a working prototype device, and the corresponding computer software.
Project Number: May04-23 (click to view the web site)
Description: Two phenomena, “multipath” and “fading” are ever-present problems associated with an indoor wireless environment in homes and offices. Multipath is the effect of receiving multiple radio signals that have been reflected off walls, ceilings, floors and any other objects. Due to wireless systems being operated without direct and unobstructed line of sight (and this is clearly their advantage compared to infra-red systems), there is frequent blockage of the signal, which is fading.
Orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) is a technology that promises to resolve these problems satisfactorily, while at the same time providing more efficient utilization of the frequency spectrum as compared to the currently used technology of direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS). OFDM has been standardized recently and recommended for digital audio broadcasting (DAB) and digital video broadcasting (DVB). Unfortunately, OFDM is a very computationally intensive scheme, and a digital signal processing (DSP) based implementation could be used to efficiently implement the required operations.
This project will involve the design, simulation and possible prototype construction of a DSP-based OFDM system. In this system, timing performance is possibly the most critical factor, and extensive optimization techniques (taking advantage of native DSP features, etc) may need to be employed to gain the desired level of performance. Investigations of the OFDM algorithm, especially of its computational requirements will also be performed.
Project Number: May04-24 (click to view the web site)
Description: This project has dual objectives: (1) to build an experience base in the implementation of GPS-based technology, perhaps in conjunction with other technologies such as PDA-based instrumentation and control, for use in later, more complex senior design projects; and, (2) to build this knowledge base through the completion of a challenging and useful GPS-based project. Two potential GPS-based projects are offered for consideration as examples: (1) a GPS-based pedometer for use by joggers and runners who want to track their distances and velocities over other than known, closed courses of travel; and, (2) a GPS-based campus navigator, perhaps in conjunction with a PDA, that will help new students, or others unfamiliar with the ISU campus, successfully navigate the ISU campus and the surrounding environment. The team may also generate another GPS-based project for consideration. The final proposal for an acceptable project will be submitted to the senior design coordinator, Dr. John Lamont, for final approval.
Project Number: May04-25 (click to view the web site)
Description: The Teradyne Integra J750 Test System is a $500,000 tester that Teradyne has provided the department. Its function is to automatically test electronic circuit boards. The object of this project is for the team to learn how to use the J750 and to create a tutorial cookbook that can be used by students. The cookbook will provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform basic testing tasks and activities. At a minimum, the cookbook should include the following tasks: (1) testing of RAM, (2) testing of a simple circuit like a multiplexer, and (3) characterization of a gate to determine the margins of device parameters.
Project Number: May04-26 (click to view the web site)
Description: The crypto level RSA encryption/decryption uses 128-bit keys. Software encryption and decryption with these keys is fairly expensive (many multiplications and divisions are required). Even the proposed hardware implementations are expensive enough that they do not satisfy real time needs (10-20 cycles). A new class of needs for RSA encryption/decryption has emerged wherein some values need to be encrypted before being placed in the memory (this is to prevent security attacks on this data in the memory), and they need to be decrypted before program use. Clearly, such encryption/decryption needs to be extremely efficient (say 10 instructions) to be adopted. An advantage is that the attacker only has the run-time of the program to guess the private key, which could be limited to a few minutes. Hence, even a 32-bit key might do. This project explores the selection of key size given some run time constraints. Verilog or VHDL designs for a hardware scheme with the chosen key size will also be done to assess the timing of the encryption/decryption steps. The expected end product of the project will consist of two elements: a) an analysis of RSA encryption/decryption key size selection given an upper bound on the on-line attack on the key, and b) a Verilog or VHDL model of a hardware implementation of both encryption and decryption steps with simulated timing models.
Project Number: May04-27 (click to view the web site)
Description: The project team will review the design completed by the Phase 1 project team and then implement, test, and demonstrate a custom, portable, high-speed RF power level capturing system for measuring and mapping local RF fading in and around an aircraft. The system must operate in the 2.4 GHz ISM (Industrial, Medical and Scientific) band and in the 5.0 GHz U-NII (Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure) band. The system must be battery-powered, capable of incorporating any antenna design, and compatible with a laptop computer’s parallel port (and possibly with a USB port). RF levels captured by the system must be quickly read and stored in a table. The table increment interval triggering will be controlled by another software application to be supplied by Rockwell Collins. Rockwell Collins also will supply all components (or funding there for), as well as technical contacts as required.
Project Number: May04-28 (click to view the web site)
Description: This project will explore the use of processor-based FPGAs, such as the Xilinx Virtex2Pro or the Altera Excalibur, in microcontroller and embedded computing classes in the CprE curriculum, specifically CprE 211 (Introduction to Microcontrollers), CprE 483 (Hardware/Software Integration), and CprE 588 (Embedded Computing.) The goals of the project are:
Project Number: May04-29 (click to view the web site)
Description: The objective of this project is to develop a PDA-based grocery-tracking program. The user could create a shopping list and, as he/she goes through the grocery store, each item selected could be checked off and the price entered to keep a running total of the items purchased. The most recent price for each item would be stored in a data base, which as time went on would allow the user to estimate the grocery cost as he/she created a shopping list as an aid to staying within his/her budget.
Project Number: May04-30 (click to view the web site)
Description: Inexpensive ultrasonic tape measures are available that will measure distances up to fifty feet with an accuracy of approximately one inch. However, these units have a number of shortcomings for serious metrological applications. They can only measure perpendicular distances to fairly large, flat surfaces. In a complex environment it is impossible to determine which surface corresponds to the measured distance.
A new optical tape measure is needed that will measure the distance and bearing to any visible spot within its range. The point to which the distance is to be measured may be designated by shining a spot of light, such as a laser pointer, on it or by viewing it through the device, like a telescope. It should be able to determine the distance between any two designated spots, and, by designating an appropriate set of measurements, should be able to produce a model of a measured object such as the dimensions of a room or the size and location of a building. Distances up to 100 feet in length should be measurable with +/- 0.5% accuracy. The project will be to design, implement, test, and demonstrate the resultant system.
Project Number: May04-31 (click to view the web site)
Description: A simple, low cost digital rain gauge for use in a private home setting is to be designed, implemented, tested, and demonstrated. Features to be considered for adoption include an automatic emptying capability, a data recording system, remote (perhaps on home television or computer) and/or on-site display via wire and/or wireless modes, and compatibility with PC or other recording/control facilities. The digital rain gauge must be inexpensive, easy to install, use, and maintain, and capable of withstanding year-around Iowa weather if continually left outside.
Last updated: 17 Jan 2004 KML
© Copyright 2003, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.
Course coordinator: Dr. John Lamont|
Webmaster: Kathryn Lamont