Student Design Competition 2012


Welcome to the 2012 Twelfth Annual Student Design Contest, hosted by IEEE Rochester Institute of Technology Student Branch.


The IEEE RIT Student Branch invites students in accredited engineering schools to showcase their senior level, undergraduate, design projects at our annual student design contest. Each year we mail contest advertisement posters to schools in the northeast US and Canada (IEEE regions 1, 2, and 7).

Projects are evaluated by judges experienced in the field of engineering and six awards are given based on specific criteria. Held during the annual ImagineRIT Festival, the student design contest is a great way to obtain feedback from industry professionals as well as gain promotion of your design project and connectivity to other engineers.

May 5th 2012
7:00 am – 8:00pm

Rochester Institute of Technology
Xerox Auditorium, Bldg 9

Application Deadline:
Team applications will be accepted until April 13th.

How to Apply:
Visit This Page to enter your team in the 2012 Student Design Competition.

Also Email Us the following information (Once per team):

  • First and Last name of each team member
  • A current IEEE membership number for at least one of the team members
  • A contact E-mail address, phone number, and street address for the team members
  • The full name of the team’s university and department
  • The project’s advisor name and E-mail
  • Project title and a brief description (~100-200 words)
  • Links to project website if available
  • Entry documentation, papers, or reports can be emailed after registering

Invitation/ Event Description:
The Rochester Institute of Technology Student Branch of the IEEE invites you to participate in our 12th annual Student Design Contest. This event has become an excellent way to showcase innovative projects related to electrical engineering built by teams consisting of undergraduate students. Time and time again participating teams have proven that through their perseverance and intellect some truly awe inspiring advancements in technology are achievable and we look forward to carrying on this tradition. As reward for these students diligence, a panel of judges will determine the first, second and third place teams to win this year’s cash prizes.
RIT IEEE holds the right to accept or deny any applicants.


Judging Criteria:

Presentation – 15%

Project Demo – 20%

Teamwork – 15%

Quality of Technical Content – 30%

Creativity/Innovation – 20%

Total – 100%

*Add up the total points of all four judges for each team.


Honorable Mentions:

1x Most Marketable

1x Most Innovation

*Each judge is to choose 1st and 2nd for each category
*For each category, the team with the most judges votes wins
*If tie still exists, see chairman



Jeff Kramer is the Product Marketing Manager at MKS ENI Products in Rochester, NY. Jeff competed his Engineering undergraduate work at Penn State University and RIT, and is also a graduate of the University of Rochester Executive MBA program. He served as a member of the High Intensity Laser Research Faculty at the University of Rochester and has over 30 years of experience in electronic design, project management, product marketing and manufacturing in the Semiconductor, Solar, Process Control and Industrial Manufacturing marketplaces.

Aaron Radomski is the Chief Scientist at MKS ENI Products in Rochester, NY. He received a BS in Computer Engineering at RIT in 1989 and an MS in Electrical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University in 1995. He has over 25 years of industry experience in areas such as Power Systems Engineering, Semiconductor IC Processing, Reliability Physics, and Failure Analysis.

Ms. Myra A. Torres is a Senior Lead Engineer and Program manager at Impact Technologies, focusing on prognostics for electronic systems, and new R&D. At Impact Myra interests have been on fiber optic diagnostic innovations, and her team has developed real time video implementations for fiber optic end face diagnostics, wireless human performance monitoring and condition based maintenance for avionics. Myra has over 15 years of experience in electronics. Prior to Impact, she was Assistant Research Director for PHM development at the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) at the University of Maryland. Prior to CALCE, she was at Sun Microsystems, where she was a manager and individual contributor in Advanced Component Engineering and Signal Integrity. Myra’s focus at Sun was in device, packaging, and interconnect design; as well as reliability for new microprocessor modules. She also initiated the collaborative research program at Sun, which transitioned several key research programs from the University of Maryland and Georgia Tech to Sun Microsystems. Myra also architected IP development that transitioned to Cadence Systems and was incorporated into their Signal Integrity tool sets. She has degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly University and Technology Management from Pepperdine University, and is currently active at MIT Sloan’s management program. Myra is also an active member of IEEE where she serves as the Rochester Student Activities Chair and on the R&D and S&T policy forums for IEEE USA.

Speaker: Dr. Robert Pearson

Dr. Pearson is a graduate of the Rush Henrietta school district right here in Henrietta. He is the son of an RIT Imaging Science graduate and retired RIT faculty/staff member. He received his BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from RIT. He played soccer for RIT and did his coops with Fairchild Semiconductor in Portland Maine and Palo Alto California. As an undergraduate student under the supervision of Dr. Lynn Fuller he fabricated the first diodes, solar cells and transistors ever made at RIT. After graduation he worked in the semiconductor industry before returning to teach at RIT as the first faculty member hired by the Microelectronic Engineering program. He obtained his PhD from SUNY Buffalo in Electrical Engineering. After helping to establish the RIT Microelectronic Engineering program he left RIT to be a founding faculty member of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering and supervise the start-up of their new clean-room and microelectronics program. He returned to RIT in 2003 and in 2008 he became the Microelectronic Engineering program director. His research interests include semiconductor device and micro-electro-mechanical systems design, simulation, fabrication and testing.


Design and Development of a Visible Light Communications System

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Calvin Ball, Kevin Tien

This project entails the development of hardware for a unidirectional end-to-end visible light communications link enabled by a software-defined radio (SDR) framework through the USRP2 radio module and the GNURadio software toolkit. This work is meant to contribute to the body of linear power-efficient circuit topologies that will allow for further research into complex modulation schemes and multiple input multiple output (MIMO) system topologies. The use case for such systems are as dual purpose lighting and communications elements. A prototype system has been achieved with a data rate approaching 3 Mbps, link distance of 2.6 meters, and optical and electrical power characteristics appropriate for localized home lighting. Through the hardware developed, communications system research at the level of modulation and above can be implemented at a more realistic scale of deployment and with minimal concern for non-idealities introduced by the transmitter/receiver front ends. Future improvements concerning bandwidth, optical power output, overall system functionality, and the IEEE 802.15.7 standard are also proposed in this work.




Syracuse University

Matt Scott, Rob Naphen, Chris Bonner

Sentinel is a robot that is remote controlled via the internet and has the ability to stream its surroundings to a host PC. The system resides on a metal base with tank like tracks to propel the robot. There is a mobile PC on the base, an arm to open elevators, and a PTU with a web camera to stream video back to the controlling PC.



SUMo Autonomous Lawnmower Team

Syracuse University

Andrew Cash, Chris Budwey, David Perra

The name of our project is Syracuse University Lawnmower (SUMo) and is an autonomous lawnmower capable of cutting the grass autonomously in a standard mowing pattern, while avoiding static obstacles. The lawnmower uses a inertial measurement unit, wheel encoders, and stereoscopic vision to detect its surroundings.

All of the calculations are done by an onboard PC, and communication with the wheels is done via PC to Arduino board to Motor Controller. The sensors are connected to the PC via USB, and there is a laptop charger to keep the laptop powered.



Automated Antenna Radiation Pattern and Gain Measurements

Rochester Institute of Technology

Sheldon Palmer, Danielle Walters

With the rapid advances in wireless technology at frequencies in the low gigahertz region, the assessment of an antenna’s design and performance has become very challenging. The objective of this project is to design, construct, and calibrate a shielded anechoic chamber (8ft x 12ft x 8ft) that will minimize reflections of the source antenna beam, shield the test antenna from spurious electromagnetic radiation and be capable of making automated measurements of the antenna gain and radiation pattern in the frequency range 2GHz to 6 GHz. The RF absorber that includes 4” to 12” cones glued to the walls, have been placed judiciously to ensure higher absorption in the specular regions of the chamber. These specular regions are defined as where the first reflection occurs off the sides, roof, floor, and on the walls behind the transmit and test antennas with lower absorption in the corners. The transmit antenna is an elliptical dish powered by the Agilent N5181A signal generator. A rotating platform has been designed and constructed, which allows for different heights and widths of test antennas. The angular position of the test antenna placed on the rotating platform with respect to the transmit antenna is determined by synchronizing a DC motor with an Agilent spectrum analyzer using LabVIEW. The gain and radiation pattern of several antennas have been measured successfully. This chamber resides in the Electromagnetic Theory and Applications (ETA) Lab in the Electrical Engineering Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was constructed with support and guidance provided by SRC, Syracuse and Kodak, Rochester.



iSCISM: Interference sensing and coexistence in the ISM band

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Joe Baylon, Ethan Elenberg, Samantha Massengill

Non-WiFi interference signals in the 2.4 GHz Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) band cause performance degradation in WiFi systems by increasing the bit error rate and decreasing throughput. iSCISM seeks to alleviate the effects of interferers by applying interferer-specific mitigation schemes. Because narrowband Bluetooth and wideband microwave oven signals are two prominent sources of interference in the ISM band, the system design has focused on identifying the presence of these interferers and mitigating them accordingly. A testbench was created in MATLAB to simulate 802.11g WiFi transmissions and the effects of interference signals on throughput. An algorithm for locating transmission peaks was developed for extracting information from interference signals. Several machine learning classification algorithms were tested for identification accuracy and computational cost, and Naive-Bayes was selected to serve as iSCISM’s method for classifying interferers. Rate adaptation was chosen as the mitigation scheme for Bluetooth interferers, and timed-transmission was chosen to mitigate the effects of microwave emissions. Accurate identification has been demonstrated, and mitigation algorithms have been shown to improve throughput in the testbench in the presence of both Bluetooth and microwave oven interference. The WiFi testbench and iSCISM system are currently being implemented on a software-defined radio platform for further testing.



RFID Tunnel Reader

University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth

Christopher Goonan, Edward Wiencko, Barry Gaffey II, Stephen Buckley, Joshua Rogers, Mike Mongeau

Every year thousands of dollars are wasted in the medical industry by means of unused equipment. When a patient is on the operating table, it is not the time for the hospital to realize that they are a few parts short of completing the task at hand. In order to compensate, hospitals order more equipment than they need. This results in either unused equipment being discarded after it expires, or sent back to the distributer where it is usually lost in translation and billed to their account anyway. All of this money wasted each year could be saved by creating a better way to log instruments and implants that are shipped back and forth between hospitals and distribution centers. We propose a method of achieving this goal of cutting down on waste and saving hospitals thousands of dollars. This is done with an RFID tunnel reader. Using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags as opposed to bar codes (which have to be manually scanned individually) allows hospitals to scan multiple RFID tags in the same box within seconds. A process that once took a half hour can now be cut down to less than a minute. A conveyor belt is used to move the package through the tunnel which helps the reading of the tags. This project involves multiple disciplines in engineering, including mechanical (building conveyor/tunnel frame), computer (developing software to run the RFID components), and electrical (powering the motor and setting up RFID system); all of which have to work together to create the final product.



Magic Touch – Home Device Manager Via Speech Recognition

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Aliaksandr Razumkou, John Machairas, Edward Gronostalski, Toufic Tannous

We have developed a system for people with no motor control to manage household appliances and devices via speech. System usage and setup do not require technical background. A wide range of devices such as telephone, TV, computer, lights etc can be controlled and is not restricted by the size of the house. The software provides an easy interface for setting up and controlling the system. Besides the basic functionality, the software provides advanced features such as crash recovery, user friendly graphical interface that allow the user to schedule tasks which permits the user automated control of any device at a time most convenient for them. The system is much cheaper and more functional than any comparable device commercially available on the market. The system will empower disabled users to accomplish their basic daily tasks that most people take for granted.



BiRTH: Biomimetic Robotic Teleoperated Haptics

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Abrar Rahman, Kerestell Smith

In robotic control applications, the robot operator needs to practice manipulating robotic appendages that are an abstract analogue of a human body part, such as a claw in place of a hand. This paper proposes a solution to remove the learning period to master the robot and to improve on fine control. This system is intuitive because it operates a robotic hand by mimicking the movements of a human hand. The fine control comes from position based force-feedback implemented using artificial tendons, similar to those of a human hand. To date we have implemented a prototype for a single finger with four-degrees of freedom.



House Away

Stony Brook University

Justin Mandurano, Nicholas Haber

The goal of House Away is an internet-enabled system consisting of three subsystems for monitoring and control. The three systems include a temperature monitor and controller (thermostat), lighting controller, and flood detector. House Away sends alert notifications via a wired Ethernet connection, which is the link to the internet. The wired Ethernet connection additionally allows the system to host a web-based user interface, providing the user with control of the thermostat and lighting from his or her smartphone.

House Away is designed for easy retrofitting into already existing residential structures with little, if any, significant structural changes—such as internal electrical wiring changes. House Away was designed with this less invasive concept in mind to set itself apart from other systems which require higher levels of structural integration into a home. The system replaces the existing thermostat and light switches, allowing for easy installation by almost anyone. House Away is versatile and is also installable during new home construction as well.



Development of an Airship Flight Control System

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Abhay Masher

This paper describes the design, construction, and testing of a small airship. The design process of the airship using teleoperated flight controls is illustrated. We document the construction of the airship. We explain how the airship structure has been improved by using flight test data. We have conducted preliminary work in developing an autonomous actuation system for telemonitored flight. The planned system framework, controller design, and brief testing of a controller using fuzzy logic is discussed.



Going Blue

Rochester Institute of Technology

Kwadwo Opong-Mensah, Alem Bahre Gessesse, Francisco Saravia

This project aims discern the plausibility of Bluetooth enabling conventionally wired devices. For many years, RS-232 serial transmission cables have connected many kinds of electronic equipment, but upon the advent of Bluetooth, the Serial Port Profile (SPP) has enabled these shackled devices to roam where they need to be in a room with minimal modification their environments. To determine plausibility, this project will amalgamate a Bluetooth front end with microcontroller and eventually incorporate a remote controlled car which will be able to be controlled via a serial port application on a Bluetooth enabled phone. As small scale as this goal may seem at first glance, upon success, the wheels of the car, in future projects, can be replaced with the control system of a pacemaker or a wearable blood glucose meter. The data can then be processed by an application in the phone to give real-time assistance from a medical service center, but that would just be the beginning.




Rochester Institute of Technology

Matt DeCapua, Michael Thomas, John Seybold, Jonathan Cormier, Jeremy Jensen, Eric Walkama

The TigerBot is a humanoid robot with 22 degrees of freedom, 31″ tall, an on board computer, several sensors for environmental interaction, and voice control. The robot has been designed as a platform for advances by future engineering students.



Thermoelectric Power Pack for Haiti

Rochester Institute of Technology

Andrew Phillips, Xiaolong Zhang, Lauren Cummings, Colin McCune

We are working with a partner team to develop a more fuel-efficient stove to be used in Haiti. Part of the design of the stove includes a fan to more effectively control the heat flow from the fire. Our team is using a thermoelectric generator to convert the temperature difference created by the fan and fire into energy. The energy is then stored in a battery and used to both power the fan and to charge a device via USB.



Sleep Apnea Monitoring and Alarming System

Implementation of WBAN on Smartphones

New York Institute of Technology

Haibo Zeng, Renyuan Cheng, Jiayuan Wang

This paper presents a noninvasive system to monitor the aspiratory activities of people who suffer from Sleep Apnea. The proposed system uses micro pressure sensor to measure nasal and oral aspiratory patterns. A prototype of the system is built using Arduino to process the data collected from air-flow sensors and transmit the data to a smartphone, which analyzes the data and initiates alarms when abnormal pauses in breathing is detected, meanwhile sending text messages to his/her family members in order for them to come and wake him/her up. In order to transfer the collected data to medical centers or hospitals, we use WIFI/GPRS/3G.