Past Course Spotlights

ECE 188A/B - Senior Capstone Project
student with professor and projects

Instructor: Ilan Ben-Yaacov
Quarter: Fall 2011 (A) and Spring 2012 (B)

During the senior year, ECE offers a year-long Senior EE Project course also know as the Senior "Capstone" Project. Students, working in small teams, design, build, and present a challenging engineering design project. The project gives ECE students the opportunity to put their education into practice.

2012 Projects: team members and sponsors

  • VirtualU (abstract): 3D modeling using four Microsoft Kinect sensors for use in a virtual fitting room. Group - Brandon Gomez, Jon Waltman, Jay Wright.
  • PHANTIR (abstract): near-infrared imaging platform. Group - Jeff Imamaru, Kevin Lee, Di Li.
  • ICARUS Spectral Characterization System (abstract): robust tool for collecting angularly resolved spectral power density measurements of light sources. Group - David Cosenza, Seth Danielson, Alfredo Torres.
  • BrightBlu (abstract): smartphone controlled Bluetooth home automation complete with the world‚Äôs first app-store for your home. Group - Sidhant Bhargava, Ben Chang, Taylor Umphreys.
  • Android QuickDraw (abstract): android-based glucose meter. Group - Laurel Hopkins, Bassel Ihsan, Taishi Kato.
  • flexSD (abstract): flexible sigma delta remote signal processing platform. Group - Alec Dibble, Daniel Kouba.

Multimedia Systems (ECE 160)


candle illustration by John Batikian

Instructor: Michael Melliar-Smith
Quarter: Spring 2012


ECE160 Multimedia Systems is an introductory course on multimedia, audio and video.

The course addresses: multimedia authoring tools; representation of color; standards for audio and video (including MP3, MIDI, GIF, HTML5, JPEG, MPEG, HDTV and digital cinema); compression algorithms (including discrete cosine transformation, wavelet transformation, and motion compensation); watermarking; IP streaming; Image recognition and retrieval.

The course includes four major projects in which a student selects and downloads a commercially available tool, and uses the tool to demonstrate 1) video editing; 2) music synthesis; 3) image rendering; and 4) image animation.

An example of a project for ECE160: "Domino" by M. Magnusson



Introduction to Computer Vision (ECE 181B)


three students with cameras

Instructor: Professor B.S. Manjunath
Quarter: Winter 2012


ECE/CS 181B is an introductory course on computer vision, and complements the ECE 178 course on image processing. Computer vision, also often referred to as image analysis, is about methods and algorithms for understanding the image or scene content. Humans are extremely good at visual processing, yet even apparently simple problems such as facial recognition have proved to be very challenging for computers. To quote Richard Gregory, "We are so familiar with seeing, that it takes a leap of imagination to realize that there are problems to be solved." Computer vision has a broad range of applications in a number of fields, including astronomy, biology, medical imaging and diagnostics, security and surveillance, traffic monitoring, entertainment industry, industrial inspection and manufacturing, human-computer interfaces, and social networks.

In this introductory undergraduate course, the course begins with the basics of image formation, including stereo imaging geometry, that explains how a 3D scene data is mapped into 2-dimensional images and how we can recover the depth with two or more images. Edges or intensity discontinuities in the image(s) capture most of the significant information about the objects and structures in the scene. Hence edge and other salient feature detection (and corresponding computational methods) will be discussed next. Fundamental to video analysis are optic flow computations. Finally, the course explores concepts in image recognition, including facial feature detection and recognition.

Semiconductor Device Processing (ECE 124B)


Instructor: Dr. Ilan Ben-Yaacov
Quarter: Winter 2011


ECE 124B is a junior/senior level elective course designed to introduce students to semiconductor micro- and nano-fabrication. The course has both a lecture and a lab component. In lecture, students learn the fundamentals of semiconductor processing and device fabrication. Topics covered include lithography and pattern transfer, oxidation, doping by thermal diffusion and ion implantation, etching, and thin film deposition. Fabrication and characterization of semiconductor devices and circuits are also discussed, as well as operating and safety procedures for work performed in a cleanroom environment.

The lab component of the course is performed in UCSB's Instructional Cleanroom in the Engineering II building. The instructional cleanroom is equipped with state-of-the-art semiconductor fabrication equipment, including several contact aligners, thermal and electron beam evaporators, thermal diffusion and oxidation furnaces, numerous wet benches, and a large array of equipment for film and device characterization (DekTak, filmetrics, optical microscopes, SEM, probe stations, function generators, etc). In the lab, students complete a number of fabrication and characterization projects, culminating in the fabrication and testing of a Si-based NMOS transistor. To successfully complete the final project, students must draw on material learned in a number of courses, including ECE 132 and possibly ECE 137A.

Many students who take ECE 124B also take ECE 124C, where they obtain experience in designing and laying out devices and circuits. A number of undergraduate students who have taken one or both of these courses subsequently get involved in research in a lab at UCSB under the guidance of a faculty member, and are able to work in the UCSB Nanofab cleanroom. Many graduates who have completed these courses have also found employment as processing/test engineers or related positions.