At Boston University, electrical and computer engineering (ECE) students aren’t just learning about real-life problems in their field – they’re trying to solve them, too.
At this year’s ECE Day on May 9, seniors had a chance to show off their final senior design projects that included a sprinkler system that waters a garden only when needed, a video condenser that quickly sifts through hundreds of hours of surveillance footage, and an iPad application that allows hospital staff to efficiently prioritize their patients’ needs.
Fifty-four students made up fourteen teams that worked to design and prototype a product, electronic device, or software system. They worked with customers ranging from industry figures to faculty in order to improve upon everything from healthcare to oil spill detection.
“The seniors have worked tirelessly over the last two semesters to achieve the results they have gotten today,” Alan Pisano, associate professor of the practice (ECE), told a packed house earlier this week. “Personally, I think the judges are going to have a very difficult time choosing the winners this year.”
Six alumni judges – Emily Hostage, Jon Lobo, Bradley Rufleth, Dan Ryan, Jon Tang, and Marco Tavernini – returned to BU to watch the seniors give their presentations and demonstrate their final projects. The competition was tough, but they ultimately selected GloveSense as the winner of the top prize, the P. T. Hsu Outstanding Senior Design Project.
Luke Anderson, Anna Evans, Patrick Henson, Jonathan Kwan, and Angelo Luo made up the winning team. They worked with customer Lesley Yu of National Instruments to create a smart glove for first responder communication that allows firefighters and other emergency personnel to communicate through non-verbal gestures.
“As they risk their lives for public safety, an emphasis must be placed on their communication roles,” said Luo. “We believe that there is a dire need for a more effective means of communication.”
Their device, which consists of a motion capturing glove, microprocessor for signal processing, and wireless output, functions as an electronic communication system and can recognize a large library of gestures that can be expanded using its LabVIEW software interface.
While the day largely focused on the seniors’ accomplishments, several of their teachers were honored as well. David Castañón, ad interim department chair, presented Janusz Konrad with the ECE Professor of the Year Award, and Gordon Brummer, Daniel Cullen, and Amanda Gaudreau received GTF of the Year honors.
Other awards announced at this year’s ECE Day included:
ECE Department Award
Center for Space Physics Undergraduate Research Award
Michael F. Ruane Award for Excellence in Senior Capstone Design
iNTEGRATED iRRIGATION: Kuan Chen, Yue Fung Choy, Michael Moreira, Tracy Thai, and Timothy Wolfe
Design Excellence Award
CHICO: Joshua Mendez, Preston Miller, and Francisco Suarez
Integrate and Image (BME-ECE Interdisciplinary Team): Austin Collins, Nikka Ghalili (BME), Shannon Grover (BME), and Craig LaBoda
-Rachel Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org)