Course Overview

COVID-19 Instructions for ECE 445 Senior Design

We require everyone who uses the 445 lab in ECEB to adhere to the following lab policies regarding COVID-19.

  • You must wear a mask at all times while in the lab.
  • You must clean and disinfect your workstation when you are finished with it.
  • Welcome!

    Welcome to ECE 445! If you've looked at the course Calendar, you've probably already noticed that this class is quite different from most other classes in the department. The class only meets as a whole for the first few weeks of the semester. During these lectures you will meet the Course Staff, learn about specific assignments, requirements, and resources for the course, and have a chance to meet other students to share ideas and form teams. These are some of the most important weeks for the class since the decisions you make during this time will determine what you'll get out of this class and, in many ways, how much you'll enjoy it.

    Outside of lecture, you are expected to be working on your own to develop ideas and form teams. You are also expected to actively participate on the web board to exchange ideas, receive feedback from course staff, and eventually get your project idea approved. Once your team has a project approved, you will be assigned a TA, with whom you will have weekly meetings. Think of your TA as a project manager. Keep in mind that they are not there to do the work for you. Rather, they are there to keep you on track, point you towards resources (both within and outside of the department), and evaluate the result of your efforts.

    Expectations and Requirements

    We have high expectations for students participating in ECE 445. You are soon to be alumni of one of the top ECE departments of the world. Our alumni hold themselves to high technical and professional standards of conduct. In general, projects are expected to be safe, ethical, and have a level of design complexity commensurate with the rigor of the ECE Illinois curriculum. Requirements for specific assignments due throughout the semester can be found by looking through the Grading Scheme for the course. Please read through this documentation well before each assignment is due. Specific due dates can be found on the course Calendar.

    Below are a few words of wisdom to keep in mind throughout the semester to increase your enjoyment and success in the course:

    Dynamic Legged Robot

    Joseph Byrnes, Kanyon Edvall, Ahsan Qureshi

    Featured Project

    We plan to create a dynamic robot with one to two legs stabilized in one or two dimensions in order to demonstrate jumping and forward/backward walking. This project will demonstrate the feasibility of inexpensive walking robots and provide the starting point for a novel quadrupedal robot. We will write a hybrid position-force task space controller for each leg. We will use a modified version of the ODrive open source motor controller to control the torque of the joints. The joints will be driven with high torque off-the-shelf brushless DC motors. We will use high precision magnetic encoders such as the AS5048A to read the angles of each joint. The inverse dynamics calculations and system controller will run on a TI F28335 processor.

    We feel that this project appropriately brings together knowledge from our previous coursework as well as our extracurricular, research, and professional experiences. It allows each one of us to apply our strengths to an exciting and novel project. We plan to use the legs, software, and simulation that we develop in this class to create a fully functional quadruped in the future and release our work so that others can build off of our project. This project will be very time intensive but we are very passionate about this project and confident that we are up for the challenge.

    While dynamically stable quadrupeds exist— Boston Dynamics’ Spot mini, Unitree’s Laikago, Ghost Robotics’ Vision, etc— all of these robots use custom motors and/or proprietary control algorithms which are not conducive to the increase of legged robotics development. With a well documented affordable quadruped platform we believe more engineers will be motivated and able to contribute to development of legged robotics.

    More specifics detailed here:

    Project Videos