Senior Design Project Suggestions from ECE Faculty
                                               Spring, 2009
           ...
society, there is still a lot of space for improvement in their processing speed and accuracy. It is the objective of this...
Project 2: Automate instruction fusion analysis
Write software tools that can analyze programs, at assembly code level, to...
only transmits data, but also provides power to remote devices. This project will involve considerable hands-on
tasks and ...
amount of programming using Matlab will be required. The candidates of this project must have taken advanced
calculus and ...
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is used to locate objects outdoors and has been integrated into numerous
automobile de...
Adviser: Dr. Mickle and Peter Hawrylak

Active RFID tags following the ISO 18000-7 standard need to incorporate sensors to...
GPS
    1 second pulse                     Port 1
                                                             STOP
      ...
POSITIVE VOLTAGES

                GPS
             One Second
               Pulse



                                   ...
GPS
            One Second
              Pulse



                                      Stop
Reference                    ...
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CR Department

  1. 1. Senior Design Project Suggestions from ECE Faculty Spring, 2009 Partial list – Updated May 14, 2009 J. Robert Boston Office: 438 BENDM Email: boston@engr.pitt.edu Real-time Beagle Board System (with Mark Murawski, Vocollect) Beagle Board is a low cost, high performance, low power embedded system platform designed by BeagleBoard.org community members and intended for open-source use. It features a OMAP3530 processor to provide laptop-like performance at handheld power levels, OpenGL© ES 2.0 capable 2D/3D graphics accelerator capable of rendering 10 million polygons per second, HD video capable TMS320C64x+™ DSP for versatile signal processing at up to 430MHz, and USB power, as well as ports and drivers for a variety of peripherals. Open source Linux-based development software is available on-line. The goal of this project is to port a real-time signal processing application developed in MATLAB to the Beagle Board. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Vocollect, a global company based in Pittsburgh whose product, Vocollect Voice, talks workers with mobile jobs through their daily tasks, replacing traditional lists and traditional data capture methods with personal voice dialogues. They are interested in learning about Beagle Boards for potential use in their products. Groups interested in this project should include both EE’s and CoE’s. Allen C. Cheng Office: 333 BENDM Email: accheng@ece.pitt.edu Title 1: Toward Efficient Multi-core Parallel Computing Chip-multiprocessor like Intel Core2 Duo (soon Core2 Quad.) has become the most dominant trend in mainstream general-purpose computing market (e.g., desktops, laptops, servers, or even game console chips etc.) Yet, neither the industry nor the research community is quite ready to realize the full potential of such powerful computation paradigm. For example, expert game programmers are struggled to write games that can be fully exercise the mustang-like IBM Cell processor chip to live up to the high expectation of the Sony Playstation 3. It is the objective of this project to come up with novel ideas and techniques that can make it easy to harness the true potential of the state-of-the-art multi-core processor. Title 2: Efficient Processors for Wireless Sensor Networks Wireless sensor networks consists of spatially distributed autonomous devices using sensors to cooperatively monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature, sound, vibration, pressure, motion or pollutants, at different locations. They were originally motivated by military applications such as battlefield surveillance and are now used in many civilian application including environment and habitat monitoring, healthcare applications, home automation, and traffic control. Due to the nature of these sensor networks, processors used in sensor devices have tight resource constraints such as energy, memory, speed, and I/O bandwidth. It is the objective of this project to come up with novel techniques to research and design a new class of processors that can achieve all the design goals. Title 3: Efficient Processors for Biomedical Imaging Devices Biomedical imaging devices are widely used to diagnose and examine disease in specific human patients as well as to understand processes in living organisms. In addition to their clinical and research uses, many of the techniques developed for biomedical imaging also have scientific and industrial applications. Despite their wide impact in our
  2. 2. society, there is still a lot of space for improvement in their processing speed and accuracy. It is the objective of this project to come up with novel techniques to research and design a new class of processors that are optimized for these biomedical devices that impact our society everyday. Title 4: Efficient Computation for Portable/Mobile System-on-Chip (SoC) Embedded microprocessors used for portable/mobile handheld devices, such as smart phones (e.g., iPhones), iPods, and PDAs demand high-speed processing powers to meet real-time requirements while dissipating minimal energy for longer battery hours. This new class of energy-efficient high-performance microprocessors calls for innovative hardware-software co-design approaches to meet these conflicting goals. To accomplish this grand vision of efficient portable computing, we have broken it down into the following projects, each of which are very suitable for your senior design experience and are to be carried by a team of three or four students. Project 1: Implementing a highly efficient function unit for mobile microprocessors The objective of this project is to implement and synthesize a novel function unit codenamed Versatile Processing Unit (VPU) using ASIC and FPGA design flow. VPU is a promising alternative to the conventional ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) inside a mobile microprocessor for its superiority in processing a wide range of diverse data subgraphs of embedded programs. You will be given the high level design specification of the VPU and implement it using standard cell ASIC synthesis and FPGA. Compare both implementations in terms of the area, speed, and power consumption. You will also be provided the chance to research scalability issues and some low-power techniques to conserve the energy consumption for longer battery life. Knowledge in VHDL and/or Verilog is required.
  3. 3. Project 2: Automate instruction fusion analysis Write software tools that can analyze programs, at assembly code level, to detect and extract any instruction pairs that can be fused into VPU instructions. You can also investigate the potential of fusing more than two instructions, e.g., how long can you keep fusing instructions together until it is no longer beneficial to do so? You will have the opportunity to gain experience of using industry-strength microprocessor simulators. Knowledge in C is required. Project 3: Automatic synthesis of application-specific memories Write software tools that can profile and characterize program data access patterns to investigate the benefits of incorporating queues (FIFO access pattern), stacks (LIFO access pattern), and accumulator as additional registers and/or as part of on-chip memories to improve efficiency in accessing on-chip caches and off-chip main memory. Project 4: Constructing VHDL/Verilog Model for Thumb-2 Architecture ARM is a predominant vendor in the embedded microprocessor market. Its newest Thumb-2 technology is a new instruction set for the ARM architecture which provides enhanced levels of performance, energy efficiency, and code density for a wide range of embedded applications. Thumb-2 technology builds on the success of Thumb, the innovative high code density instruction set for ARM microprocessor cores, to increase the power of the ARM microprocessor core available to developers of low cost, high performance systems. In this project, you will have the opportunity to build a RTL datapath in VHDL and/or Verilog that can execute this Thumb-2 ISA. Mingui Sun (Departments of Neurosurgery, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Bioengineering) NOTE: For any of the following projects, please contact Steve Hackworth, Head, Neuroelectronics Lab, Laboratory for Computational Neuroscience, Departments of Neurosurgery; Phone: 412-802-6478; email: stevenahackworth@gmail.com ; please also cc. to: drsun@pitt.edu Project 1: Stress Detection and Evaluation Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are major causes of mental and physical disabilities among return soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is a need to develop convenient computational tools for the remote evaluation of stress level at low cost. The team will investigate the use of historical recordings of telephone or cell phone conversation for quantitative stress level assessment. Computer algorithms will be developed to process speech data automatically. Good mathematical background and high interest in signal processing are preferred. For legal purpose, only mock recording data will be used in this research. Project 2: Finger-Tip Keyboard As the mobile computer and the smart cell phone integrate and miniaturize, data input to a mobile device becomes a critical problem. This project investigates new hardware that can record relative positions of fingers. A finger position code will be developed to represent all or a subset of keyboard characters. The result will be tested and the feasibility of finger position coding for computer input will be accessed. This project will be jointly directed by Professor Zhi-Hong Mao. Project 3: Solar Ease The proposed project focuses on developing a solar panel system that utilizes novel wireless energy transfer technology (WiTricity) to transmit solar power into homes and buildings without any wires through the wall. Reducing cost, complexity, and long term investment risk normally associated with solar installation will encourage adoption of this “green” source of energy, coinciding with government initiatives and energy efficiency programs. A prototype system will be built to validate the concepts of this system. Constructions of special RF coils and electronic circuits will be performed. Project 4: Wireless Power Transfer by WiTricity WiTricity (Wireless electricity) transfers power without wires between a central station to a group of devices within a certain distance (e.g., within a room). The aim of this project is to design and implement a new “router” which not
  4. 4. only transmits data, but also provides power to remote devices. This project will involve considerable hands-on tasks and experimental studies within our electronics laboratory, including resonant coil design, evaluation, and testing. Project 5: Body Sensor Network Using WiTricity This project aims to construct a sensor network for the human body. It involves implementing an array of microsensors in the form of low-profile sticker pads which are easily pasted on clothes. Both power supply and communication functions will be implemented using the WiTricity concept. Hands-on construction and evaluation of resonant coils and sensor interfaces will be the main tasks of this project. Project 6: Finite Element Simulation Using powerful computers and software packages, many physical phenomena can now be simulated accurately by implementing finite element methods (FEM). The main tasks of this project are high-level computer programming using commercial FEM packages, physical system analysis, and explanation of simulation results. Candidates of this project should have taken college level courses in physics and differential equations. Project 7: Micro and Nano Structured Skin Electrode Many insects have the extraordinary ability to grasp and walk on the surface of difficult objects, such as a vertically positioned glass panel. Scientific studies revealed that their legs have special micro and nano structures that enable them to perform these tasks. This project will investigate the leg structures of insects and use the knowledge to design a new skin grabbing electrode. Research tasks include biological study, structural design, material selection, micro/nano fabrication, and evaluation. Project 8: Digital Camera Interface The general aim of this project is to design and build a wearable sensor/camera to record and index eating and exercise activities during a person’s daily routine, and to process the acquired data. The specific aim of this senior design project is to understand the heart of a digital camera, and to integrate several off-the-shelf electronic components, including a miniature camera control module and electronic switches/controls. We are looking for someone with experience in electronic circuit design, preferably with embedded system design experience. Project 9: Digital Interface with a Removable Storage System The general aim of this project is to design and build a wearable sensor/camera to record and index eating and exercise activities during a person’s daily routine, and to process the acquired data. The specific aim of this senior design project is to investigate a digital video data storage system and construct circuitry containing an interface with a 4GB+ SD card based on off-the-shelf components. Required Skills: We are looking for someone with certain experience in electronic and circuit design. Project 10: Body Shape Classification The aim of this project is to study the algorithms that automatically classify the body shape of a person into several pre-defined categories. The classification takes place when the person walks through several video cameras mounted at fixed positions. Required Skills: We are looking for someone with good mathematic skills. Project 11: Wireless Data Communication Using Zigbee for Biological Signals ZigBee is a powerful wireless data communication standard from the IEEE. It supports high data rates and consumes relatively little power. This project consists of a study of this standard, construction of miniature Zigbee transmitters integrated into small electrodes, construction of a base receiver, and performance evaluation for wireless transmission of biomedical data such as EEG and ECG. This project requires knowledge of wireless system and antennae design. Project 12: Mathematical Study and Algorithm Development for Signal Processing This project is designed for candidates who are good at mathematics and are interested in theoretical studies in signal processing. The aim of this project is to study sparse representation and compressive sensing. A moderate
  5. 5. amount of programming using Matlab will be required. The candidates of this project must have taken advanced calculus and linear algebra. Guangyong Li Office: 441 BENDM Email: gli@engr.pitt.edu Project 1: Design of High Voltage and High Frequency Amplifier for Sorting Carbon Nanotubes As-grown carbon nanotubes (CNTs) come with one third of metallic ones and two third of semiconductor ones. This unavoidable mix limits the wide applications of CNTs especially in electronics. Studies have shown that CNTs can be sorted by high frequent alternative electrical field. When the frequency above certain value, electrical field will generate positive dielectrophoretic (DEP) force for metallic CNTs (pull the CNTs to the electrodes) and negative DEP force for semiconducting CNTs (push the CNTs away from the electrodes). Therefore, the CNTs can be sorted by a High Voltage and High Frequency Voltage Supplier. In this project, the High Voltage and High Frequency Amplifier will be designed and fabricated. Its effectiveness in sorting CNTs will be tested. Steve Jacobs Office: 433 Benedum Email: Jacobs@engr.pitt.edu Project 1: Amplifier Impedance and Level Matching: Many people enjoy using a personal music player (e.g., Apple iPod or Sandisk Sansa) with their car radio or another stero system. One way to do so is by connecting the headphone output of the music player through an 1/8" stereo cable to an auxiliary input on the stereo system, and many new car stereos provide an input for just this purpose. However, in most cases the signal level and output impedance of the music player are designed to be appropriate for headphones, which may be quite different from the signal level and impedance appropriate for the auxiliary input. This project includes measurements of the parameters of different music devices and stereo inputs, and the design and construction of an amplifier and impedance matching network to insert between the music player and the stereo system. The circuit would present an optimal input impedance to the music player and accept the maximum signal level produced by the player, and produce an output signal of appropriate level and have an output impedance matched to the input impedance of the stereo. Ideally, the system would be tunable, so that it could be connected to a variety of devices, and would be powered using a 12 V cigarette lighter receptacle. Marlin Mickle OFFICE: 432 BENDM Email: mickle@ee.pitt.edu Project 1 Asset Tracking Visibility Software First responders often enter buildings and/or structures when responding to an emergency with very little knowledge of the building/structure itself. Typically first responders have very little or no knowledge of the dynamic situations, such as locations of people, inside the building/structure. Further, while in operation, the commander has little visibility not only into the dynamic situations but also lacks knowledge of the locations of the first responders. Solutions exist to provide first responders with a floor plan of the building before they enter. However, these solutions can provide only very limited knowledge of the details about the current situation inside the building. Additionally, the current solutions do not offer the ability to monitor first responders once they enter the building from a central command post.
  6. 6. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is used to locate objects outdoors and has been integrated into numerous automobile devices to provide directions. However, GPS does not work well indoors or in areas with significant amounts of matter between the GPS device and the satellites (sky) as is often the case in cities or forested areas. Alternative technologies based on various RF characteristics are an alternative to GPS in areas (inside buildings) where GPS does not work. To address this problem the RFID Center of Excellence has developed a new location determination system. Software is needed to provide a user interface and to evaluate different location determination algorithms. This software program must be modular and will consist of two parts; Part 1 will handle the information display and the user interface (UI); and Part 2 is the location determination algorithm. Part 1 will accept an (x,y,z) coordinate and a tag ID and will update the display accordingly to show that Tag ID at location (x,y,z). Part 2 will receive input from base stations and will execute the location determination algorithm to find the location ((x,y,z) coordinates) of each particular tag. This information will then be transmitted to Part 1. This software program will perform the following functions and have the following features for Part 1. 1. Accept floor plans in from standard CAD tools as input. 2. Allow first responders to identify locations for various functions, such as command center, media center, first-aid stations, evacuation routes, etc. 3. Allow the identification of the location of set base stations within the building/structure. 4. Display these floor plans and special locations to first responders. 5. Accept location input in the form of an (x,y,z) coordinate with information pertaining to a specific tag. 6. Display the location all tags on the map. 7. Differentiate tags by using different colors or symbols to separate first responders, assets, students, teachers, employees, etc. Further sub-grouping such as EMTs, police officers, SWAT Team, fire fighters for the first responder group and other classes of tags is possible. This software program will perform the following functions and have the following features for Part 2. 1. Accept location input in the form of an (x,y,z) coordinate with information pertaining to a specific tag and a specific base station. 2. Perform the location determination procedure. Project 2 The project is to design and test an RF "tunnel" to monitor rats as a part of a social/cognitive experiment. The RFID Center has a Magellan RFID system with multiple planar (flat) antennas connected to a reader. The existing antennas have connections and matching circuit topologies that can be used as a starting design. The project is to lay out a planar spiral coil that can be rolled in a form such as a Pringle's can such that a rat being monitored can pass through the coiled antenna ("tunnel") an be read. The design of the spiral coil (inductor) can be by software tools coupled with experimentation. The coils can then be matched for optimum performance. The system can then be tested with existing tags. In the final implementation, the RFID tag will be implanted under the skin of the rat by medical personnel. Project 3 We have a simplified equivalent circuit for a passive device that can be remotely powered by RF energy. The circuit has 5 E,R,C elements and three switches. The applied RF can be switched on and off (modulated) for both communication and clocking. The project is to derive a simulation of the equivalent circuit with an appropriate energy source where the strength and duration of the energized signal may be varied to study the limits of operation which included the repetition rate of the energizing pulses. Project 4 Active RFID Sensor Tag
  7. 7. Adviser: Dr. Mickle and Peter Hawrylak Active RFID tags following the ISO 18000-7 standard need to incorporate sensors to monitor conditions of assets during transit. Many different types of sensors are required in the marketplace, for instance, temperature, pressure, shock, humidity, dosimeter, and light. A standard for a plug-and-play sensor and interface is provided by IEEE 1451 (IEEE 1451.7 for RFID). The project is to build the sensor and sensor interface component for an ISO 18000-7 tag using IEEE 1451. This will involve designing the analog electronics to accept sensor inputs, electronics to provide an interface to the main processor on the tag, and embedded programming for a separate sensor processor. The component would later become part of a fully functional ISO 18000-7 tag. Dr. George Kusic Email: kusic@engr.pitt.edu The following project is possible with help from Dr. Kusic: Signal Project : Use GPS Signals to Determine the Absolute Phase Difference between 2 Voltages Hardware : Trimble Manufacturing has donated several integrated circuit boards which are GPS timing devices as well as the GPS antenna to provide input signals. The circuit boards are self-contained with connectors for the antenna, input power supply, and output signals. Purpose: Use the Trimble circuit boards to measure the phase angle of the ECE laboratory 60 Hertz voltage voltage with respect to a 1 second timing pulse sent to the Trimble board from earth satellites. Learning: Students will understand how a time signal is everywhere synchronized on earth to +/- 10 nanoseconds from the satellites. The accurate timing is used to study computer communication networks and servers that relay signals all over the earth. A greater use is controlling electrical power flow on the entire grid of the United States and provide economic energy transfer and protection against blackouts. Simple Demonstration: Use the 1.0 second time pulse from the GPS to measure the start of the 60 Hertz waveform. This is a simpler test that to examine the start of a digital wire or wireless computer signal. Earth Power Background: On earth power transfer on transmission lines depends upon the voltage magnitude and phase angles difference at the ends of the line. The line may be 50 , 100 miles length or more. The phase angle differences are on the order of 0.3 degrees. The voltages at the ends of the line are easily measured from the line to earth. The earth is usually taken as 0.0 Volts, or ground potential. Only a time reference accurate to 10 Nanoseconds from a GPS satellite can be used to measure the phase difference of the 2 voltage signals at the ends of the line. A phase angle difference can be obtained in the laboratory by any 60 Hz circuit – R’s, L’s, or C’s between points in the circuit. The project is to use the available GPS hardware, get data from the literature, assemble the experiment, and demonstrate its use at the end of the term. Trimble, which has provided the hardware, is one of several manufacturers of GPS timing devices. The 3 following graphs depict how the phase angle is measured with a GPS device, signal generator, several circuits, and a laboratory counter. Other methods can be devised.
  8. 8. GPS 1 second pulse Port 1 STOP and Vin Port 2 COUNTER 60 Hz Signal Processor 5 Volt Zeners GPS 1 sec pulse Signal Generator Time Pulses Time 60 Hz Voltage +5 Signal Clipped Time -5 Gate Signal Time Vin <0 PHASE Pulses To Counter MEASUREMENT Time Start Stop Count Count
  9. 9. POSITIVE VOLTAGES GPS One Second Pulse Time Stop Reference Count #1 Bus #1 +5 Voltage Clipped Time -5 Stop Bus #2 Count #2 +5 Voltage Clipped Time -5 N1 Pulses Time N2 Pulses Time Start Count PHASE MEASUREMENT W/R reference PHASE  N − N2  = α = α1 − α 2 =  1 180 O ANGLE  N  N = Counts / 180 O POSITIVE REFERENCE, NEGATIVE OTHER VOLTAGE
  10. 10. GPS One Second Pulse Stop Reference Count #1 Bus #1 +5 Voltage Clipped -5 Stop Bus #2 Count #2 Voltage Clipped +5 -5 N1 Counts N2 Counts Start Count PHASE  N − N2  O = α = α1 − α 2 =  1 180 + 180 O ANGLE  N  N = Counts / 180 O

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