"Dawn breaks over the Pacific" as seen from the Computer Engineering Instructional Lab - photo courtesy of the Fridgenius project, 2013/2014 CE Capstone Class



University of California, Santa Barbara

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


ECE 189A/B – Senior Computer Systems Project


Fall 2016 / Spring 2017


Instructor: Dr. John M. Johnson




Computer Aided Design Tools and libraries generously provided by  


Microcontrollers and Industrial Reference Design platforms generously provided by 


LPCXpresso® Experiment Kits generously provided by


Fabrication of Printed Circuit Boards sponsored in part by  


Printed Circuit Board assembly and rework provided by  


Printed Circuit Board procurement, fabrication, assembly and rework generously provided by



2016/2017 Projects


FLIR Security Camera


The main objective of this project is to design a small solar powered security camera that is reliable, cheap to install, and inexpensive at volume. The security camera module will be based around a thermal camera, thanks to FLIR.


This is a UCSB College of Engineering multidisciplinary project encompassing the Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering capstone classes and is sponsored by FLIR.


Ben May, Carlos Beltran, Salim Benhaddou, Garrison Carter, Aaron Chang


FLIR Security Camera Initial Design Review (10/24/2016)


FLIR Security Camera Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)





With the releases of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Microsoft Hololens, virtual environments are reaching a new level of fidelity. Unfortunately, these devices lack the feedback to create truly immersive environments; while our eyes and ears might be fooled, our hands are not. There are some companies building haptic feedback exoskeletons, though their solutions are bulky and overly complicated. We believe that we can make a significantly simpler device that can not only accurately monitor your hand movements, but emulate sensations of touch through the use of piezoelectric polymers, IMUs, and small 3-d printed parts.


Ryan Kaveh, Kyle Carson, Jon Young


Gestur Initial Design Review (10/24/2016)


Gestur Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)



Hyperloop 2


The UCSB Hyperloop CE team seeks to support the development and testing of the Hyperloop pod for entry into the SpaceX competition. This will be accomplished through implementation of a comprehensive system for sensing and controlling critical aspects of the vehicle’s operation, as well as transmission of necessary telemetry data for control and review.


This is a UCSB College of Engineering multidisciplinary project encompassing the Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering capstone classes.


Yang Ren, Tristan Seroff, Asitha Kaduwela, Jesus Diera


Hyperloop 2 Initial Design Review (10/24/2016)


Hyperloop 2 Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)



IR Hub


The purpose of this device is to solve the problem of having to clutter your living room with one or more infrared remotes through the use of a Bluetooth controlled, IR Hub. The Hub will be capable of learning and repeating signals transmitted by IR remotes, allowing users to control any IR enabled device from an app on their phone from anywhere within Bluetooth range of the Hub.


Nathan Bradley, Jesus Castro, Jeremiah Prousalis


IR Hub  Initial Design Review (10/26/2016)


IR Hub Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)



OstraCam 2


This project's intended purpose is to gather information of bioluminescent planktons, ostracods, which will be used to study the species. We will create a mobile underwater system that will record low light images, salinity, pH, temperature, pressure, location and time. Continuing off of the progress that was made last year, our goal is to change the microcontroller and add additional pieces to expand the device’s capabilities.


This is a collaboration between the Computer Engineering capstone class and Professor Todd Oakley, UCSB Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (the project sponsor).


Paul Killam, Christina Lim, Oliver Thio


OstraCam 2 Initial Design Review (10/26/2016)


OstraCam 2 Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)



SONOS Intercom


A hardware module that contains a microcontroller, WiFi module, and microphones with basic DSP for voice input.  The system should use API to connect to Sonos players.  The students should optimize the design to achieve clarity on different types of voices, in different type of environments and optimizing the processor loading.  The final product should be attractive and compact, and pass Sonos’ design criteria. 


This is a UCSB College of Engineering multidisciplinary project encompassing the Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering capstone classes and is sponsored by SONOS.


Brian Sandler, Brenden Fujishige, Marcellis Carr-Barfield, Seyed Mohammad Ghazitabrizi, Richard Wei, Subhodeep Choudhury


SONOS Intercom Initial Design Review (10/26/2016)


SONOS Intercom Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)




Previous Senior Capstone Projects


CAD Tutorials Home Page



Course Spotlight


ECE 189A & B is a year-long senior capstone project in which students, working in small groups of three to five, design and implement an embedded computer system incorporating both significant hardware and software components and, in many cases, mechanical components as well.


During the first half of this course sequence, student groups choose a project, define and refine a description of its external behavior, then launch into the hardware design phase. By the end of fall quarter, using industry standard Computer Aided Design tools, they have produced detailed hardware schematics, fabrication-ready printed circuit board artwork, and complete component kits and associated documentation necessary for prototype assembly.  An organized project notebook describing all aspects of the project as well as formal design reviews/presentations and the use of professional project management software complete the initial portion of the capstone design experience. 


During winter quarter, the ECE department has the printed circuit boards fabricated and assembled and, when students return for the second half of the capstone project course, the focus turns toward overall project integration.  On the first day of spring quarter, circuit boards are ready for initial power up, design debug and verification. In parallel, creation of the project software begins and any mechanical components are acquired and/or manufactured and assembled.  Once the hardware design is validated and the software and mechanical development efforts are completed, the final project prototype is integrated, tested and verified.  A succession of milestones, reviews and presentations ensures that project completion and introduction occur in a timely and successful manner.


At the end of spring quarter, each project team participates in the Computer Engineering portion of the Senior Capstone Project Presentation Day.  During the day long event, the groups display posters highlighting their projects’ features and operation in the department’s courtyard and conduct a public presentation and demonstration of the completed projects.



ECE 189A Project Milestones (Fall quarter)


  1. Project Idea and Team Formation — one week (due Monday, October 3)

List of team members, conceptual drawing and brief overview "datasheet" of the project with preliminary block diagram.


  1. Refined Project— one week (due Monday, October 10)

Annotated block diagram, external behavioral specification and identification of the role to be played by each team member.


  1. System-level Design— two weeks (due Monday, October 24)

Subsystem requirements & specifications, and interface specs.


  1. Detailed Design— approximately four weeks (due Monday, November 21)

Schematic drawings, and (if programmable logic is being used) Verilog or VHDL sources with both functional and timing simulations.


  1. Implementation of the Hardware Design— approximately three weeks (due Friday, December 9) 

Artwork for fabricating the printed circuit board (PCB), including Gerber plots, final schematics, engineering drawing, assembly drawing.



Winter Quarter


  1. PCB Fabrication & Assembly— Final review of printed circuit board artwork; generation and submittal of Gerber files to Sunstone Circuits.  Final procurement of components for PCB's, creation of complete assembly kits and submittal to Rapid Prototypes. 


All dates are approximations with Friday, March 25 the "drop dead" date for delivery of assembled PCB's to begin ECE 189B in spring quarter.


·         Final review and submittal of Printed Circuit Board artwork - three weeks (due Friday, January 27)


·         Printed Circuit Board fabrication - two weeks (bare PCB received Friday, February 10)


·         Final Assembly Kit: bagged parts, assembly drawing and Bill of Materials (due Monday, February 13)


·         PCB assembly - four weeks (assembled PCB received Friday, March 17)


·         PCB worst case completion date to begin Spring quarter -  Friday, March 31



ECE 189B Project Milestones (Spring quarter)


  1. Initial Power-Up – one week (due Friday, April 7)

Apply power to board with no shorts, correct regulated voltages, currents within spec, etc.


  1. Processor / Memory / Boot-up- one week (due Friday, April 14)

Demonstrate execution of user code via the “Hello World” program, flashing LED’s, etc.


  1. BIOS-Level Monitor – one week (due Friday, April 21)

main() with infinite loop; polling / interrupt structure of peripheral control demonstrated


  1.   Individual Subsystem Tests – two weeks (due Friday, May 5)

 Independent software control of all sensors, motors, wireless, displays, etc.


  1.   Integration of Subsystems – two weeks (due Friday, May 19)

 All systems exercised and communicating through common main()


  1.   Full Application – two weeks (due Friday, June 2)

  Final integration of “Controls Indicators & Interconnect” and full system operation


  1.   Manual, Poster & Presentation

  Capstone Project Presentation Day (tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 8, 2016)