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ELG 4911 - List of Projects

This document contains a list of possible projects for ELG4910/ELG4911. You are not required to accept a project from this list; you may suggest a project of your own, or you may work on a project sponsored by another professor.

Note that several projects on this list require work with an outside company or faculty member. In that case, you must obtain their approval before beginning work.

Controller Projects

Many new microcontrollers are specifically designed to allow easy interfacing with the web via a small web-server and TCP/IP interface, or to a touch tone telephone line via a DTMF interface.

The projects listed here provide a sample of the many interesting things that can be remote control enabled using this technology.

  • Internet-enabled coffee maker (#1)
    Description:
    Coffee makers use wall socket power primarily to heat water, and secondly to warm the coffee. The amount of power required to warm the coffee depends on how much is left in the pot. Based on power consumed, it should be possible to tell when each heating cycle takes place.
    Objective:
    Based on measuring the current flow into a coffee maker, create a circuit, based on a small microcontroller, which will allow internet querying of
    − when the last coffee pot was made
    − (approximately) how much coffee is left

    Warning: This project requires access to 120V systems. High voltage can be dangerous and potentially life threatening. Do not implement any designs on 120V systems without first consulting the instructor or the lab technician.

    Status: available

  • Internet-enabled coffee maker (#2)
    Description:
    Using a web-cam system, it is possible to image a coffee pot, in order to see when coffee is being made and consumed.
    Objective:
    Based on a web cam connected to a PC, capture and process video images in order to allow internet querying of
    − when the last coffee pot was made
    − (approximately) how much coffee is left

    Status: available

  • Whistling recorder / decoder controller
    Description:
    Would you like to "whistle for your supper"? This project aims to allow you to do that. The system can record a whistle signal; when it "hears" the signal later, it will detect and activate a relay to control the system of your choice.
    Objective:
    − Design software to record and process whistle signals.
    − Design a system based on a microcontroller which can record, analyse and identify whistles. If desired, whistles can be recorded on the PC and downloaded to the microcontroller for identification.

    Status: available

  • Thumbs up / thumbs down controller
    Description:
    Would you like to control a system based on hand gestures like thumbs up / thumbs down? This system uses a PC and web cam to capture and analyse video images, When it detects thumbs up / thumbs down, it will turn on / turn off a relay to control the system of your choice.
    Objective:
    Design and build a video analysis and control system. Hardware will be a PC with a web cam. Relay control may be via Serial or USB output.

    Status: available

  • TV exercise controller
    Description:
    In order to encourage exercise while watching TV, this project will require the watcher to exercise on a stationary bike. If the exercise level drops too low, then an IR (remote-control) signal is sent to turn off the TV.
    Objective:
    Design and build a system based on a microcontroller or analog electronics which will 1) measure the stationary bike output level, 2) filter and compare the output to a set level, 3) send an IR Off signal if the level is too low. Note that you must design the IR electronics; it is not adequate to use a commercial TV remote control.

    Status: available

  • Eye controlled mouse
    Description:
    The idea for this project is that it should be possible to conrol the computer mouse by looking at a part of the screen. Using a PC and an attached web cam, a video of the face and eyes is taken, from which the direction in which the eyes are pointing is calculated. This direction is then used to move the mouse pointer. Once the pointer is in the right place, the person will look straight ahead, and the mouse will stop moving.
    Objective:
    Design and build a software system to allow control of the mouse pointer based on processing video images of eye movement.

    Status: available

  • Automatic watering for indoor plants
    Description:
    Forgetful people (like myself) would like to still have indoor plants. This project aims to measure the soil moisture of an indoor plant and to control the watering for the plant. The project consists of a water reservoir, attached to a tube with a valve controlled by a microcontroller. The microcontroller is also interfaced to a moisture sensor, and to a serial or USB input for computer control. The user will run software on their PC to enter the type of plant and water level required. The SW will download the appropriate parameters to the microcontroller.
    Objective:
    Select appropriate microcontroller, valve, and moisture sensor. Design and test a microcontroller system and PC software to implement this system.

    Status: available

Biometric Identification Projects

Biometric systems allow identification or identity verification of people based on behavioural and/or physiological measurements. There are many facinating projects in biometric applications. The goal of the following projects is to implement the biometric verification algorithms accociated with various biometric modalities. Note that design of a successful system is difficult.

References

List of biometric technologies

  • Fingerprint recognition
    Fingerprint recognition is based on analysis of the pattern of ridges on fingerprints. Capture devices are based on optical devices or silicon measurements. You will need to purchase a fingerprint image capture device (make sure that the device allows raw output of fingerprint images).
    Status: available

  • Iris recognition
    Iris recognition is based on analysis of infrared illuminated images of the human iris. You will need to design an camera system capable of illuminating and imaging in the infrared.
    Status: available

  • Face recognition
    Face recognition is based on analysis of images of human faces. You will need a digital camera.
    Status: available

  • Dynamic signature
    Dynamic signature recognition is based on analysis of the pattern of signing of a document. The easiest data capture device for this project is a USB Pen-Tablet input.
    Status: available

  • Speaker identification
    Speaker identification analyses the characteristics of the recorded sound of a speaker. Text dependant speaker identification requires the speaker to repeat a specific pass phrase. Data capture can use a standard microphone input.
    Status: available

  • Keystroke dynamics identification
    Keystroke dynamics identification analyses the characteristic pattern with which a person types on a keyboard. Typically, a user is required to type a specific passphrase for login access.
    Status: available
  • Fingerprint simulator
    Description:
    The research group of D. Maltoni has developed a high quality fingerprint simulator, SFinGe. However, for our work, this simulator has some limitations.
    Objective:
    Develop a model based fingerprint simulator along the lines of SFinGe.

    References

    • SFinGe

    Status: available

Biomedical Engineering Projects

  • Inductive Plethysmograph System
    Description:
    Inductive Plethysmography systems non-invasively measure breathing in a patient using two bands around the chest and abdomen. Each band is made with a wire wound as an inductor; as the inductor changes length due to chest expansion during breathing, the inductance changes. These changes in inductance are measured and output as an index of breathing.

    The patent protection of the original inductive plethysmography concept has now expired. Several companies (including some in the Ottawa region) are now working on designing such a system with improved performance.
    Objective:
    − Design and build an inductive plethysmography system which can measure breathing

    References

    • Cohen KP, Panescu D, Booske JH, Webster JG, Tompkins WJ. Design of an inductive plethysmograph for ventilation measurement. Physiol Meas. 1994 May;15(2):217-29

    Status: available

  • Accelerometer based activity monitor
    Description:
    Recently, the price / size of accelerometers has dropped due to advances in MEMs technology. This project seeks to build some innovative biomedical instruments based on such devices. These projects consist of an accelerometer and small microcontroller to make mobile measurements. Subsequently, data is downloaded to a PC were it is analysed.
    Idea #1: build a 'pedometer'. Measure the movement of the leg, and use it to calculate the distance walked.
    Idea #2: build an activity monitor similar in function to the Actigraph activity monitor
    Idea #3: measure mountain biking behaviour. Device would attach to the frame of the bike to measure activity levels
    Objective: Design and build activity monitoring system based on a MEMs accelerometer with a microcontroller. Design PC software to download, analyse and present data.

    References

    Status: available

  • Pulse Oxymeter system
    Description:
    A pulse oxymeter measures the oxygen saturation in blood by measuring the absorptivity of light across the finger. As oxygen is used in the blood, oxy-hemoglobin (HbO2) is reduced to hemoglobin (Hb). This changes the colour of the blood, which can be measured by shining red and infrared light through thin section of tissue (such as the finger). (Technical details in the references)
    Objective:
    Design and build a pulse oxymeter system. Test it by measuring blood flow in your finger after exercise.

    References

    Status: available

  • Image Processing system for Ultrasound images of the eye
    Description:
    In closed angled Glaucoma, fluid pressure in the eye increases because of inadequate fluid flow between the iris and the cornea. One important technique to assess patients at risk of glaucoma is to analyze ultrasound images of the eye to detect the structural changes. Currently, these images are analyzed manually. Recently, we proposed an algorithm to automatically identify clinically important features in the ultrasound image of the eye. The main challenge is stable detection of features in the presence of ultrasound speckle noise; the algorithm addresses this using multiscale analysis and template matching.

    In this project, the algorithm will be extended to analyse additional regions of the eye image to calculate additional required clinical parameters to allow measurement of iris thickness changes in a dose-response study.
    Objective:
    Develop and test software to calculate the parameters of the thickness of iris images.

    References

    Status: available

  • Pseudo-random noise based tissue impedance instrument
    Description:
    The impedance of tissue is measured by many biomedical monitoring systems. Typically, a sine-wave current is input across a pair of electrodes, and the induced voltage measured across another electrode pair. See the reference for applications on tissue impedance measurement.

    One limitation of sinusoidal tissue impedance measurement is that only one measurement can be made at a given frequency. In many systems, such as for electrical impedance tomography (EIT) it is necessary to make many simultaneous measurements of tissue impedance. Previously, the typical way to solve problem is via time division multiplexing − to make measurements in sequence.

    This project aims to test whether it is possible to address this problem differently. Instead of sine-wave current injection, a pseudo-random noise signal is used instead; this results in a more broad frequency spectrum, but allows multiple signals to be in a medium to be separated from each other.
    Objective:
    Simulate, design, build and test a tissue impedance instrument based on pseudo-random noise current injections.

    Warning: Tissue impedance systems can be dangerous if protection circuitry fails. To prevent this issue, this project does not require testing on humans. Instead, tests should be done on a saline phantom.

    References

    Status: available

  • Inflatable cuff-based blood pressure system
    Description:
    The most popular methods for blood pressure measurement are based an inflatable cuff is applied around the upper arm. The cuff is then inflated to occlude the brachial artery. The pressure in the cuff is then released gradually. For the auscultatory method, a stethoscope is used to listen at the brachial artery for characteristic Korotkoff sounds, which indicate systolic and diastolic blood pressure. For the oscillometric method, instead of using microphones (or stethoscopes) to listen for characteristic sounds, the pressure signal generated from the cuff is used to determine blood pressure. The pressure signal is caused by the interaction between the cuff and the blood flow through the brachial artery.
    Objective:
    Design and build a inflatable cuff-based blood pressure system based on either a microcontroller or a PC with an A/D card. You may use either the auscultatory method (in which case you must design a microphone / stethoscope input) or the oscillometric method. A pressure input is required for both designs. Note: testing the accuracy of your design is not a requirement for this project; however, the results should be somewhat reasonable.

    References

    Status: available

  • Bird Call identification
    Description:
    Many computer software products have been produced for bird watching enthusiasts. This project aims to develop one more: if you hear a bird song, record it, and play it to the PC, the PC will attempt to match the song against a database of bird calls. For an even more difficult challenge (not required) a person can attempt to imitate the bird call, and let the software identify the bird.
    Objective:
    Develop software to identify bird calls based on a sample audio recording. Recordings can be obtained from the internet (see references). (Note: this project is difficult)

    References

    Status: available

Other projects

  • Doppler ultrasound motion detector / alarm
    Description:
    Moving objects shift the frequency of sound signals based on the Doppler effect (most familiar from the change in sound in auto races as the cars drive past). This effect can be used in an alarm to detect motion.
    Objective:
    Design and build a motion detector using doppler ultrasound. System should be based on a microconroller with an ultrasound emitter and detector.

    Status: available

    There are many ingeneous ways to create house / car / computer alarms. This projects illustrates a few possibilities, but you are welcome to come up with others.

  • PC to stereo FM transmitter
    Description:
    In order to play music from your computer on your stereo system, you typically need to run wires. However, one easy way to connect these devices is to broadcast the music via the FM frequencies.
    Objective:
    Build a microcontroller based FM transmitter. This system takes two inputs: 1) 1/8 inch DIN stereo output (analog output signal), and 2) USB (power and control to switch channels). In addition to simply broadcasting music, this system will have a USB control and PC software to allow changing FM channel. (I recommend you use an FM modulation chip, rather than designing the modulation circutry yourself)

    Status: available

  • Hand cranked recharger
    Description:
    Several companies advertise hand cranked emergency rechargers. This is great for travellers who need just a few extra minutes from their cell phones. The refrences list a device that accomplished this task fairly well, but has a few limitations, notably the voltage drops at low crank speeds. The goal of this project is to design a device that works at any crank speed. The key idea is to store energy on an internal capacitor until there is sufficient energy for at least a few seconds of charging. At this point the power output is enabled. If the stored energy on the capacitor drops too low, power output is turned off until the capacitor recharges.
    Objective:
    Design, build and test a device hand cranked charger that works (with stable output voltage) at any crank speed. (You may purchase the crank and generator hardware, but the electronics design must be yours)

    Warning: While this project is "advertised" as a way to charge your cell phone, it is clear that doing this will almost certainly void your phone warranty. You are not required to actually charge your phone with this device for the course.

    References

    Status: available

  • Deshredder
    Description:
    Most paper shredders will slice paper into thin strips along one axis. This does not really provide protection against a concerted attempt to reconstruct documents. If each slice is scanned, then it is possible to use a computer to reconstruct an optimal ordering of the slices to rebuild the original pages.
    Objective:
    Design and develop software to take scanned images of shredded pages and reconstruct the original documents. The software should be able to handle the case where up to ten pages are mixed together in the shredder.

    References

    Status: available

Last Updated: $Date: 2005-11-21 13:31:28 -0500 (Mon, 21 Nov 2005) $