For dog owners who don’t like to pick up their four-legged friends’ litter, the “Scoop-A-Tron” robot will do it for them.
Or, for those who don’t have time to play with their dog, “FetchBot” will do the trick. The autonomous robot entertains a pet by chasing and retrieving a tennis ball.
And while many modern home surveillance cameras passively record intruder incidents, this new device uses thermal technology and computer vision to track the movements of marauders. The thermal imaging camera and bright LED lights can stop intruders in their tracks.
These are just a few examples of nine groundbreaking research projects created by Cal State Fullerton undergraduate computer engineering students. The students, all graduates of the class of 2021, presented their end-of-year projects during the recent “Computer Engineering Capstone Senior Design Project Presentations and Demos”.
Senior graduates developed and built prototypes using computer hardware and software components as part of a two-semester course for senior design projects. The projects are intended to mimic the full spectrum of engineering design experience comparable to that found in industry, said Kiran George, professor of computer engineering and faculty advisor for the course.
“Capstone design projects help students prepare for the workforce by offering them a well-rounded experience. Students are able to relate the theoretical concepts they learn as part of their courses with real-world applications, “said George, an outstanding professor at the 2020 university.” These projects require students to think independently, do research and brainstorm on different concepts “.
The students, in whom most of whom obtained engineering positions after graduation, faced design challenges, hardware and software problems, and 3D printing problems and did not even have the ability to test prototypes in person together due to the pandemic. But ultimately, the students remained focused on creating real-world computer engineering solutions for everyday products.
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 greatly increase people’s life efficiency. This robot is designed to have two different types of functionality, where the user can choose to have the robot wander in a fenced yard or follow the animal during walks. In both cases, a camera is connected to a live object detection model.
Inspiration: Caring for a dog takes responsibility and time. The most dreaded task is to collect their waste. This is a challenge for many owners due to the smell, clutter, and time it takes to accomplish this humble task. To overcome this obstacle, an automated robot capable of picking up after the dog would be of great use.
marketability: This project may be marketable, further work and optimization would be needed to have it ready for the public. There are many future works for Scoop-A-Tron that allow this invention to have a chance. The first would be to further enhance the collection mechanisms so that the robot is able to work on grassy surfaces and collect different states of waste, such as liquids.
Quote: “The ability for a dog owner to clean their pets without having to do it manually would be a huge improvement. Owners would be able to find more time in their day and no longer have to perform a humble task, ”said Izabal, now a systems engineer at Raytheon Technologies.
Student team: Ryan Maurizio, Kevin Hart And Alisha Manookian
Product: FetchBot is a robot that can simulate a fetch game with a dog autonomously. 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 fetch by dropping a ball into a funnel. The team wanted to make a standalone product that had the added benefit of collecting leftover or forgotten tennis balls to start the next game of recovery.
marketability: 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 debating whether to take that next step, which would require some major changes to the ball collection and throwing process.
Quote: “Due to the complications of the pandemic, and as this was the first time we were creating a standalone project, our team certainly faced a lot of challenges,” said Mauricio, software engineering intern at Printronix. “Our collection system required a major redesign in the beginning after realizing the flaws with our first design. This also affected our launch system. These are problems we should face in the future to make our product as simple and intuitive as possible. “
Automatic detection security and surveillance spotlight
Student team: James Samawi, Levi Randall And Luca Walcher
Product: The Auto Tracking Security and Surveillance Spotlight is a wall-mounted device for night vision and for the thermal camera that autonomously follows an intruder by aiming a bright and dissuasive light at him. The spotlight can stream night vision camera footage 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 level of human identification and for automatic detection.
Inspiration: The team was inspired by autonomous robots for object tracking and this inspiration led to finding ways to implement that technology in a device intended for home, business or military security. Students pondered various methods of detecting the presence of humans, including from triangulating sound using microphones to detecting the thermal imaging camera’s signature.
marketability: This design can be marketed for commercial, military, or any high-security location. Thermography is a military and new technology for the consumer market. Therefore, the thermal micro camera is an expensive part and can be a challenge to sell in a consumer market with prices of other competing cameras.
Quote: “Modern surveillance cameras don’t deter intruders. Our project is a gateway to a new era of surveillance camera technology by adding an extra layer of human identification via thermal camera imaging, “said Samawi.” This device is designed to be deployed in a courtyard or outdoor area. courtyard or any high-security location, with the best performance in a dark or enclosed environment. “
This project was awarded the “Best Software Project” and a cash prize of $ 750 in the 2021 Virtual Contest and Showcase for Student Projects from the College of Engineering and Computer Science.