Computer engineering graduates show ingenuity to design new products

For dog owners who don’t like picking up trash from their four-legged friends, the “Scoop-A-Tron” robot will do it for them.

Or, for those who don’t have time to play games with their dog, “FetchBot” will do the trick. The autonomous robot entertains a pet by chasing and recovering a tennis ball.

And while many modern home surveillance cameras passively record intrusion incidents, this new device uses thermal technology and computer vision to track the movement of prowlers. The thermal imager and bright LED lights can stop intruders in their tracks.

These are just a few examples of the nine innovative research projects created by undergraduate computer engineering students at Cal State Fullerton. The students, all graduates of the 2021 class, presented their end-of-year projects during the recent “presentation and demonstration of senior design projects in computer engineering and demo.” “

Illianna Iza

Senior graduates developed and built prototypes using computer hardware and software components as part of a two-semester senior design project course. The projects are intended to mimic the full spectrum of engineering design experience comparable to what is encountered in the industry, said Kiran George, professor of computer engineering and educational advisor for the course.

“Synthesis design projects help students prepare for the job market by providing them with a comprehensive experience. Students are able to relate the theoretical concepts they learn in their courses to real life applications, ”said George, 2020 Outstanding Professor at the university. “These projects ask students to think independently, research and think about different concepts. “

The students, most of whom landed engineering positions after graduation, faced design challenges, encountered hardware and software issues, and 3D printing issues, and didn’t even have the ability to test prototypes in person together due to the pandemic. But in the end, the students remained focused on creating real computer engineering solutions for everyday products.


Scoop-A-Tron Project

Student team: Illianna Izabal, Turrell crossley, Kevin hunt and Josh mitchell
Product: The Scoop-A-Tron is an automated robot designed to collect dog droppings. With a high percentage of American households owning a dog, this robot can dramatically increase the efficiency of individuals’ lives. This robot is intended to have two different types of functionality, where the user has the choice of making the robot roam around an enclosed yard or following the animal on walks. In both cases, a camera is connected to a live object detection model.
Inspiration: Taking care of a dog takes responsibility and time. The most dreaded task is to collect their waste. This is a challenge for many homeowners due to the smell, clutter, and time it takes to complete this menial task. To overcome this obstacle, an automated robot capable of picking up after the dog would be of great help.
Market value: This project may be marketable, additional work and optimization would be required to make it ready for the public. There are many future works for the Scoop-A-Tron that allow this invention to have possibilities. The first would be to further improve the pickup mechanisms so that the robot is able to work on grass surfaces and pick up different states of waste, such as liquids.
Quote: “The ability for a dog owner to clean up after their pets without having to do it manually would be a huge improvement. Owners could find more time in their day and no longer have to do a menial task, ”said Izabal, now systems engineer at Raytheon Technologies.


FetchBot prototype

Student team: Ryan mauricio, Kevin hart and Alisha manookian
Product: FetchBot is a robot capable of simulating a game of fetch with a dog independently. With it, a dog can be entertained without its owner having to be physically in the same room.
Inspiration: A product called “iFetch” served as the main inspiration. This toy is similar to FetchBot in that a dog can use it to play a scavenging game by dropping a ball into a funnel. The team wanted to create a standalone product, with the added benefit of collecting forgotten or forgotten tennis balls to start the next game of recovery.
Market value: The students’ combined love for dogs made the team realize how much pets can mean to their owners and that there is a market for this project. The team is currently discussing whether to take this next step, which would require major changes to the process of collecting and throwing balls.
Quote: “Due to the complications of the pandemic, and since it was the first time that we created a stand-alone project, our team certainly encountered many challenges,” said Mauricio, software engineering intern at Printronix. “Our collection system needed a major overhaul early on after finding flaws with our first design. It also affected our launch system. These are issues that we will need to resolve in the future to make our product as transparent and intuitive as possible. “

Spotlight on Automatic Tracking Security and Oversight

Spotlight on surveillance

Student team: James samawi, Levi Randall and Lucas Walcher
Product: The automatic monitoring security and surveillance projector is a wall device coupled with a night vision and thermal camera that autonomously follows an intruder while sending him a bright and dissuasive light. The projector can live stream the night vision camera images to a website and send email notifications when an intruder is detected. The novelty of this project is the thermal micro-camera, which is used as a second layer of human identification and for automatic tracking.
Inspiration: The team was inspired by autonomous object tracking robots and this inspiration led to finding ways to implement such technology in a device intended for home, business or military security. The students thought about various methods to detect the presence of humans, including triangulation of sound using microphones to thermal signature detection by thermal camera.
Market value: This project can be marketed for commercial, military or any other high security location. Thermal imaging is a military technology and new to the consumer market. Thus, the micro thermal camera is an expensive part and it can be difficult to sell it in a consumer market with the prices of other competing cameras.
Quote: “Modern surveillance cameras do not deter intruders. Our project is a gateway to a new era in surveillance camera technology by adding an extra layer of human identification via thermal camera imaging, ”Samawi said. “This device is intended to be deployed in a front or back yard or any high security location, with best performance in a dark or enclosed environment.”

This project received the “Best Software Project” and a cash prize of $ 750 in the 2021 College of Engineering and Computer Science Student Projects Virtual Competition and Showcase.

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