Final Project

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CS 3651 Final Project

In this class, half of your grade comes from a final project. The final project is an open­ ended project for teams of 1, 2­ or 3. It’s up to you to form teams, come up with ideas, and research how feasible they are.

We will provide you a list of pre-approved projects, or you can develop and propose one of your own. We’ll then give you feedback on how feasible we think your projects are in the remaining time in the semester, and approve your idea once it meets our requirements.

(Thanks to Scott Gilliland and Thad Starner)

Project Scope

Your projects should include mechanical, electrical, and software components. It should also include some kind of digital logic, likely a microcontroller, with input, processing done on the microcontroller, and output. Ideally, it should do something that you find interesting or solves some problem.

You have access to the laser wood cutter and the 3d printer for your projects.

There is no requirement that your idea be novel, but you do need to be working out the issues of your project yourself ­ duplicating a project from the internet part­ for­ part and wire­ for­ wire isn’t likely to be interesting enough project.

Project Proposal

You should submit PDF of your presentation via T-square. The proposal should include:

  • Written description of what you want to build
  • One or more 3d renderings of your vision for the project. These can be a rough design.
  • Identification of team members: At most 3
  • Identification of team roles: Who will do what.
  • Parts you're considering to use.
  • Risks: Things you don't know that you're going to have to solve. Obviously you should prioritize solving those problems.
  • Milestones: Specific dates on which you expect to accomplish/demonstrate progress on your project.
  • Fallback plans: What if the most ambitious component of your project fails, what can you do instead?

We expect the proposal to be 3 to 5 pages including diagrams.

We’ll work with you to adjust these so that each team has realistic but still difficult enough goals. For example, if you were trying to make a ball pitching machine, an ‘A’ might be a fully functional machine, a ‘B’ might be a machine that can only put a small amount of spin on the ball in one direction or pitches too slowly to be useful, and ‘C’ might be a machine that can pitch balls, but can’t control the spin speed.

Early turn­ins and discussions with the instructor and TAs are encouraged.

Next Steps

If you have selected from one of the pre-approved projects, GO! If not, once your project idea is approved, you should get started. Most of you will discover that you will need to order at least some parts from electronics parts suppliers, motors or sensors from hobby shops, or perhaps even custom designed circuit boards from a PCB manufacturer. Order your parts early to leave time to re­order parts if your first plan doesn’t work out.

Milestone 1: Prototype Demo

You must have either all of the electronics ready to demonstrate, or all of the physical components ready to demonstrate.

Grade scale:

  • Nothing = 0
  • Something physical that was not thrown together: 90
  • 91-100 scales based on how far along you are at this point.

Demonstration to Class

By the end of the semester, you should have your project working. You should aim to have your project finished by the last day of class, when each group will have a 5­minute time to tell or show the class about what they’ve been working on. This will be the due date for the project, but we will still consider late work done before the finals period.

Next, we’ll have each group sign up for a 15­ minute time slot during finals week to give us a final demonstration and to answer our questions about how the project worked out. We’ll also expect a zip file with a short write­up of the project and any source code and design files for the project.

Pre-Approved Projects

  • Legged walker
    • Use laser cut wood for links in leg
    • Use hobby servos for movement at joints
    • Optional: Add touch sensors on feet to detect collisions
    • Potential demo: Walk up small stairs
  • Autonomous glider or boat
    • Use GPS to navigate to destination
    • Demo must be by video
  • Multilink robot arm with gripper
    • Use laser cut wood for links arm
    • Use hobby servos for movement at joints
    • Optional: Add touch sensors on gripper
    • Potential demo: Pick up and move items around
  • Robot that can solve rubix's cube
    • This one is really hard
  • Skittles sorter (Or color sort)
    • Light sensing chip
    • Divid chosen multicolored items into respective "cups"
  • Music playing band (e.g. Christmas ornaments)
    • Multiple ornaments, each one with a bell
    • Bells are struck using hobby servos according to song
  • Sound sensing Security Camera
    • Accurately orients camera towards a sound
  • Colored object tracking camera
    • Camera tracks (using motors or servos) a colored object.
  • Smart Dispenser
    • Use Laser cut wood for device
    • Servos or pistons to move items
    • Micro-controller for process of dispensing
      • Push buttons, display, touchpad, etc.
  • Smart lizard environmental control
    • Control humidity with ultrasonic mister
    • Control temperature
    • Control light
    • Provide app-based interface for settings
  • You propose it?
    • Submit a detailed proposal of a new project not listed above.


The project makes up 50% of your course grade, split as follows:

  • 40% from the project work itself.
  • 5% from the proposal and demonstration
  • 5% from the post­project write-up