Registration Closed April 25, 2016


Engineering Clinic Projects
L-3 Communications
“Analog Interference Cancellation (AIC) for Simultaneous Transmit and Receive”

The goal of this project is to develop an analog interference cancellation circuitry controlled by a digital adaptive algorithm in order to mitigate cosite interference. Cosite interference refers to in-band interference generated by a transmitter located near the receiver (in the same vehicle). The interference disrupts proper operation of the receiver so, in general, the transmit and receive signals are isolated in frequency or time. Therefore, the plan for this project is to allow the transmit and receive signal to operate simultaneously and at the same frequency but to use interference cancellation to mitigate the known transmit signal from the receive path. The first step in cancellation is analog because the cancellation has to be performed as close to the antenna as possible so that the receiver amplifier does not saturate. The three major components include an analog adaptive channel model, an analog combiner, and a digital control algorithm. The implementation will have to be evaluated using a typical communication signals for the desired signal and interference generated using matlab and test equipment connected to the AIC.

Team: 5 EEs
Advisor: TBD
Liaison: David Landon
Rocky Mountain Power
“Irrigation Signal Detector”

Rocky Mountain Power serves very diverse types of load across its territory and is challenged to find solutions to meet the needs of each load type. In Idaho, the territory has a high percentage of irrigation load. Most of this load is irrigation pivots, and their pumps are controlled with variable frequency drives. These drives produce harmonics, and if the customer does not have filters installed, the harmonics can be injected into the main power system which can impact other customers. In Idaho, there is a significant amount of unfiltered irrigation load due to upgrade of irrigation pivots with swing arms that follow tracer wire buried in the ground. The problem is that the power level of harmonics on the power system is high enough to produce interference with signal levels from the tracer wire. This team will research the types of tracer wire and control systems used on irrigation pivots to determine tracer wire signal strength and frequency. The team will build a monitor to measure signal strength of the power line and tracer wire. The monitor will generate an alarm anytime the tracer wire signal is not detected and report the power line signal strength, and if a tracer wire signal is detected, the monitor will measure the power system signal strength and will generate a warning if the power system signal equals or exceeds the signal strength of the tracer wire.

Team: 5 EEs
Advisor: Masood Parvania
Liaison: TBD
Sandia National Laboratories
“5-Axis Inspection Station”

In a continuation of last year’s project, the 2016-17 Sandia clinic team will complete the development of a 5-axis inspection station that will translate a Keyence laser displacement sensor around an object to determine its outer surface dimensions.  This information will subsequently be used to inspect the object by positioning other probes, such as off-the-shelf sensors that measure ultrasonic resonance or ultrasonic thickness.
Key tasks include
  • Completing any remaining design work on two axes
  • Designing advanced bracketing to interface with a variety of sensors
  • Designing and implementing a robust homing procedure for autonomous scanning
  • Integrating the control of the inspection head with the collection of sensor data
  • Processing 3D data
  • And continuing the design of a GUI to control the unit and display data in real time.  
  • Possible additional goals include the design and development of a compatible 4-point probe device to measure sheet resistance.

  • Team: 3 EEs and 2 MEs
    Advisor: Kam Leang (ME)
    Liaisons: Steven Paradise, Bryan Loyola
Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Projects
Design of innovative systems using Oxide Memories
“Oxide Memories (OxRAMs) are one of the promising candidates for next generation Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) applications.”

In this project, we propose to study the use of OxRAMs in co-integration with regular CMOS circuits, in order to realize low-power digital-applications-oriented circuits. Hence, two directions will be explored. First, the student will have to propose an innovative circuit structure able to exploit the routing interest of OxRAM. In particular, coarse-grain digital co-processors will be targeted. Then, the student will design novel computation elements that rely of OxRAM to make energy-efficient computation. The final objective is to quantify the performance gains (area, delay, power) leveraged by the proposed technique

  • Good background in digital design
  • Experience with Synopsis DC tool
  • Knowledge in machine-learning is highly appreciated
  • Experience with Cadence tools, electrical simulators and verilog-A modeling is a plus

Advisor: Pr. Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon
Design and Implementation of a Video Coding Application on FPGA using Advanced Logic Synthesis Techniques
“Source coding techniques are of paramount importance in video applications. For performance reasons, such algorithms are mostly realized in hardware.”

In this project, we want to design and implement a H.264/AVC video codec on modern FPGAs, using standard and novel logic synthesis tools in conjunction. Novel synthesis techniques, developed at the Integrated Systems Laboratory, will operate on critical blocks of the system to optimize further the performance. Traditional commercial flow will then be used to map the design on a state-of-the art FPGA. A physical video demonstration of the designed H.264/AVC system on FPGA will conclude the project.

  • Good background in digital design
  • Good background in logic synthesis
  • Proficiency in VHDL, Verilog, C/C++
  • Knowledge of FPGA systems
  • Prior experience with video coding applications is a plus
Advisor: Pr. Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon
Tattoo Antennas for Implantable Medical Devices

Implantable medical devices touch virtually every major function in the human body. Cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, neural recording and stimulation devices, cochlear and retinal implants, etc.  Wireless telemetry for these devices is necessary to monitor battery level and device health, upload reprogramming for device function, and download data for patient monitoring.  Antennas are inevitably one of the largest if not the largest component of the telemetry communication system and are generally mounted on or in the implanted battery pack, usually in a body cavity.  This limited real estate significantly constrains the performance of implantable antennas and results in substantial power loss in the body.  This research is investigating the design of implantable antennas by tattooing (nearly invisible) conductive nanoparticles in the skin and adjacent fat layer at the body surface, coupling passively to the implant.  The antenna will be able to use as much surface area as needed. 
  • Interest in electromagnetics
  • Already taken ECE 5324
  • Interested in continuing the project for a masters degree
Number of Students: 1
Advisor: Cynthia Furse
Design and Implementation of Smart Building Energy Management

This project involves designing hardware and software tools for real implementation of a smart building energy management system (S-BEMS) in campus. The implementation sites include new College of Law building, and new Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute building. The S-BEMS design objective is to manage the energy consumption of buildings in order to minimize their electricity bill and carbon footprint. The S-BEMS integrates all the energy components of the building, from smart lighting, smart heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) system, to rooftop solar panels and neighbor electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Through this project, the students will have the opportunity to work with the other undergrad and graduate students at the U-Smart lab at ECE department to work with commercial software tools and supercomputers, as well as real solar panels and EV charging stations. Participation in this project will not only prepare the students for the growing smart energy job market, but also makes them a part of the larger Smart Campus Initiative at the U.

Number of Students: 1-2
Advisor: Masood Parvania
Neural Recording Arrays

Neural recording electrode arrays are swiftly increasing in density, allowing for higher resolution neural mapping of the brain. Testing of these high-density arrays takes place in rodent brains, where signal-to-noise ratios are very poor. This project is the design of a pneumatically controlled 3-Dimension control and measurement tool for experiments in neuroscience. The goal is to facilitate very low-noise, high density neural recordings in the motor cortex of mice. This tool will be developed in collaboratively with a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There are two parts of the project. One portion is focusing on control systems, amplifiers and DAC implementation. The second part will focus more on control software, user interface, and data acquisition, and synchronization of multiple sensor types.
  • Knowledge of control systems
  • Python
  • C/C++
  • basic electronics and PCB board design
  • Interested students should be willing to start the project in the summer
Number of Students: 1-2
Advisor: Ross Walker
Dual PL System (Solar Cells)

This project will focus on an optical design and implementation of an optics train to deliver photoluminescence to two CCD detectors (Si and InGaAs) covering different spectral ranges.

Number of Students: 1
Advisor: Mike Scarpulla
Optimize Cl treatment (Solar Cells)

Optimize the design processing (temp, time, gas flows) to optimize passivation of CdTe solar cells.

Number of Students: 1
Advisor: Mike Scarpulla
Novel Solar Cell Deposition (Solar Cells)

This project involves setting up photoassisted growth experiments in MBE or thermal evaporator for CdTe. It includes the design and building of a system for novel solar cell deposition.

Number of Students: 1
Advisor: Mike Scarpulla
Experimentations with Solar Cells (Solar Cells)

This project involves multiple experiments with light and dark annealing. A student will learn to anneal semiconductors in light and dark conditions and test for properties changes.

Number of Students: 1
Advisor: Mike Scarpulla
Noise Spectroscopy (Solar Cells)

This project involves using the fluctuations on DC signals to probe trap states in semiconductor devices.  Very cool signal processing experiment.  Investigation into whether or not a low-noise amplifier will be needed for testing with be done.

Number of Students: 1
Advisor: Mike Scarpulla
Solar Cell Device Modeling (Solar Cells)

This project involves research on the equivalent circuit to model the device physics of CdTe and other solar cells.

Number of Students: 1
Advisor: Mike Scarpulla