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2010 Senior Project


Coin-Operated Power Charging System

The Coin-Operated Power Charging System is an embedded processor system that will monitor electrical power usage and allow a customer the use of a “paid for” amount of electrical power. The system provides an LCD display for rate and usage information to the end user and also connects to the internet allowing management of rate configurations and statistics. The system is tailored toward the airline terminal business trade market, but could just as easily be implemented to the growing rechargeable electrical car market. For simplicity, the system is coin operated and tracks both total power usage and “paid for” device usage. The secure web interface provides statistical feedback for payment to the establishment, rate adjustment, and trend information for analysis. As you can imagine, this device can easily provide a profit based on charging users a higher rate than that charged by the establishment.

Automotive Wireless Information System

The Automotive Wireless Information System was developed to meet the desires and specifications determined by Ferris State University’s SAE Formula Car club. The purpose of the project is to retrieve data from the vehicle’s sensors and wirelessly transmit these readings to an LCD display mounted on the steering wheel The displayed information includes gear number, coolant temperature, battery voltage, oil pressure and RPMs. A Pic18F4520 microcontroller was programmed using C++ to perform the required calculations, conversions and programming statements.

Cellular Car Starter

The Cellular Car Starter senior project interfaces external hardware to a vehicle that successfully parses SMS (text) messages sent via a standard cellphone with the intent to control systems within the vehicle. The idea for this project spawned from the cold winters of Big Rapids where cars are typically parked on the outskirts of campus, far exceeding the range of a normal remote car starter. A PIC18 series microcontroller is used to carry out program operation while a GSM/GRPS module is used to interface the system to the cellular network. Security for the system is implemented by verifying a sending device's phone number which will either allow or deny the requested action.


The Crash-Cam is a vision system that records data during driving. Upon a crash, the camera system saves the previous data and then continues recording to gather information after the crash. The camera system involves saving the video files to a storage device. When the storage threshold is reached, the oldest data is [INVALID]d to make room for new data. When an accident occurs, the old data is no longer [INVALID]d and the camera will continue to record after the accident until the storage capacity is reached. The saved video files will be important for after-accident reports done by police, lawyers, and insurance companies. They could also be used for entertainment or training purposes.

Home Health VitalCheck

The Home Health VitalCheck is a device that will allow anyone to check their vitals and store the readings on a home computer. The device will measure a person’s body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and blood-oxygen level with the push of one button. The Monitor will use USB technology to transmit data from the device to a computer. After each reading, the data can be uploaded and stored, then observed in a graphical user interface. This can then be sent to a health care provider to track trends in the health of the patient.

Self Navigating Autonomous Robot (S.N.A.R.)

The goal of this project is to design and construct an Autonomously Guided Vehicle for the Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technology department at Ferris State University to help stimulate interest in the program for future students. It will be upgraded from year to year as future students' “senior design projects.” The robot will be capable of two modes: autonomous and manual. In manual mode, the user will be able to remotely control the robot from a laptop through a wireless link. The user will have a graphical interface that includes a live camera feed and controls to remotely navigate the robot. In autonomous mode, the robot will use GPS coordinates entered by the user to navigate to a specified location, while taking obstacles into account with its basic collision detection. The robot will use a laptop, sensors, and a mix of embedded hardware to accomplish the two modes. The project began on January 11 and will be completed and presented on April 23 . The budget to build this Self Navigating Autonomous Robot is estimated at $7500.

Smart Panel for Appliance Monitoring System

The Smart Panel for Appliance Monitoring senior project is an electrical smart panel for a house that will monitor power; therefore, it may help homeowners save money. Power coils will be placed on different circuits of the house. The data will be collected by a PIC microprocessor and stored on a server. When the power is over a certain threshold for a particular circuit, an electronic alert will be sent out to the homeowner’s computer warning of a potential problem. Real-time data will be logged for the homeowner to view or reference at a later date through a web page. The project’s start date is January 11, 2010 and the completion date is April 22, 2010. The final presentation will be made April 23, 2010.

Automatic Rear Headrest System

Under the new revisions of the United States of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Standard 202a - Head Restraints, the rear headrests must reduce the frequency and severity of neck injuries in rear-end and other collisions. The new headrests, to comply with 202a, are now obstructing the rear exterior view for the driver when using the rear view mirror. Chrysler’s Future Vehicle Team needs to implement a headrest system that complies with the new revision and meets the needs of the customer. The proposed headrest system will detect the presence of an adult seated in either of the rear passenger areas. If a human is detected in either rear passenger area, the headrest will extend out to a position that meets the regulations set by Standard 202a.If no human is detected, then the headrest will retract to the rest position and be hidden in the seat. This will provide the driver with a clear view from the rear view mirror.

Ferris State University Control of Robotics Engineering (FSU C.O.R.E.)

The purpose of this project is to implement a Fanuc S-420F series robot into a curriculum for the industrial automation route. This will be accomplished by setting up a work cell that involves robotic communication to a PLC and programming of the robot. Labs will be constructed to develop a knowledge base robotic environment that involves basic robotic movements, robotic communication, and use of current technology applications. This project will also include the safety aspect of an industrial environment that will be associated with the robot.

Electronic Sports Coach

The goal of this senior project is to develop a computer program in C++ that can measure forces produced by an athlete to determine the efficiency and power which he/she performs. The basic overview is to have a high-impact load cell that will measure the force the athlete exerts on it and transmit that value to a computer through a PIC18F4520. The program will then produce a trend line based on this value and other variables entered by the user to produce useful results for a coach. For example, for pole vaulting the coach could enter in the weight of the athlete and the flex rating of the pole used. When the athlete plants the pole and it shoots him into the air, the load cell in the planting box would measure the force the athlete produces from the moment of the plant to the moment he/she lets go of the pole. This would produce a trend line showing how much force the athlete generated in the jump. If the approach, takeoff, and swing were good, the force generated would be greater than if the athlete had poor technique. Using these values, as well as the weight and pole size for the athlete, the program would then give a recommendation for the coach to use (a bigger pole, quicker approach, etc.). This could be useful in many sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts, football (tackle power), and track (sprint power from the starting blocks).