We believe it is vitally important for our students to be able to take the theories and methods that they learn in class and apply them to real-world challenges. In addition to the two-semester Senior Design course, ECE students participate in a variety of enrichment programs that give them the opportunity to conduct hands-on research, experience team dynamics, employ critical thinking, and create working prototypes. In some cases, these student projects turn into viable products and services that can be commercialized.
Below are some examples of undergraduate student research projects.
CPR+ is an interactive CPR mask that allows an untrained bystander to perform CPR by collecting vitals and dynamically walking the user through each step of the process. You hear the instructions from the device and it can also tell you if you are performing CPR incorrectly.
Inventors: Samuel Clarke, a mechanical engineering and computer science major from Indianapolis; David Ehrlich, a computer engineering major from Portland, Oregon; and Ryan Williams, a computer engineering major from Las Vegas.
Lightning from the Edge of Space
The Lightning from the Edge of Space project is part of the The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program, which unites undergraduate education and faculty research in a team-based context. The Lightning from the Edge of Space team launches balloons loaded with electronics, cameras, communications equipment, and sensors, to the edge of space (100,000 ft) to not only capture incredible views, but to gather valuable scientific data about thunderstorms (electric field, x-rays, optical measurements).
FireHUD is a real time monitoring system and Head Up Display (HUD) that displays biometric and environmental data to firefighters and outside officials. A heads-up-display attaches to a firefighter's mask and measures heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen level, body temperature, external temperature and other vital signs. This information will help firefighters determine whether they are overexerting themselves and are at risk for cardiac arrest. Invented by Zachary Braun, a computer engineering major, and Tyler Sisk, an electrical engineering major, the device was fine-tuned in the CREATE-XIdea to Prototype class. The invention won first place in the Georgia Tech InVenture Prize, which rewards students with cash prizes and free patent filings for inventions that aim to solve societal problems.
Raising the Steaks
The "Raising the Steaks" Senior Design team created a long-range Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) system for use in the cattle industry. Sponsored by CattleTime, a cattle recordkeeping software company, the team was tasked with improving the read range and capabilities of the RFID technology in order to reduce the day to day labor of counting cattle in various herds.
Understanding of the atmosphere and its processes draws from many fields of science and engineering due to its global scope and importance to life on this planet. The most visible and well known facet of this system would be cloud formations. The varied nature of clouds allows them to act as a herald for near-future meteorological events and as indices for general climate trends. Gathering more data on cloud properties will improve global climate models and forecasting, benefiting the scientific community and general population. This data can be collected via the use of CubeSats.
Stratus is a pathfinder mission whose goal is to build, deploy, and demonstrate a low-cost
CubeSat platfon11 capable of measuring Cloud Fraction (CF), Cloud Top Height (CTH), and Cloud
Top Wind (CTW). If successful, several inexpensive Stratus spacecraft could be deployed in the future to gather accurate and extensive data relevant to cloud-driven climate forecast models at a continuous rate across the world. Stratus will measure CF data while in Nadir-Pointing Mode. Stratus will then measure CTW and CTH data utilizing spin-stabilized stereoscopic imaging. The Stratus mission shares similar goals to NASA as described in the 2014 NASA Strategic Plan document. It is most with objectives 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4 of Goal II: "To advance the understanding of Earth and develop technologies to improve the quality of life on our home planet."
Research Goals & Desired Outcomes
The goals of the payload integration and mission-level design is to produce documentation which can wholly describe the mission operations of Stratus, and to design, implement, and document the payload of the satellite to ensure successful integration. The desired mission outcome is that Stratus is completed, launched, and performs at or above the levels indicated in the mission-level documents. The long-term functionality of Stratus would demonstrate the cost effectiveness of using CubeSats to gather cloud data. This could justify the efficacy of a swarm of Stratus craft to gather global hyper-local weather data.
The desired subsystem outcome is a fully integrated payload subsystem which can accurately image data during nadir-pointing and stereoscopy phases of the mission. This fully characterized subsystem would have all interactions with other subsystems described in Interface Control Documents to ensure safe and correct integration of the payload into Stratus.
The plan of attack for completing research on the Stratus is as follows: (I) Develop mission-level design documentation so stratus is developed with a clear direction. (2) Research and develop methods to improve the ability of the payload to produce accurate, on-demand data retrieval. (3) Document the Stratus payload and its interactions created with other subsystems via Interface Control Documentation. (4) Characterize the payload through rigorous and through testing procedures to ensure intended functionality. Note that some of these processes are cyclic in nature due to redesigns that may occur during the development process.