Course Overview

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 Piazza discussion 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:

Recovery-Monitoring Knee Brace

Dong Hyun Lee, Jong Yoon Lee, Dennis Ryu

Featured Project


Thanks to modern technology, it is easy to encounter a wide variety of wearable fitness devices such as Fitbit and Apple Watch in the market. Such devices are designed for average consumers who wish to track their lifestyle by counting steps or measuring heartbeats. However, it is rare to find a product for the actual patients who require both the real-time monitoring of a wearable device and the hard protection of a brace.

Personally, one of our teammates ruptured his front knee ACL and received reconstruction surgery a few years ago. After ACL surgery, it is common to wear a knee brace for about two to three months for protection from outside impacts, fast recovery, and restriction of movement. For a patient who is situated in rehabilitation after surgery, knee protection is an imperative recovery stage, but is often overlooked. One cannot deny that such a brace is also cumbersome to put on in the first place.



Our group aims to make a wearable device for people who require a knee brace by adding a health monitoring system onto an existing knee brace. The fundamental purpose is to protect the knee, but by adding a monitoring system we want to provide data and a platform for both doctor and patients so they can easily check the current status/progress of the injury.



1) Average person with leg problems

2) Athletes with leg injuries

3) Elderly people with discomforts



Temperature sensors : perhaps in the form of electrodes, they will be used to measure the temperature of the swelling of the knee, which will indicate if recovery is going smoothly.

Pressure sensors : they will be calibrated such that a certain threshold of force must be applied by the brace to the leg. A snug fit is required for the brace to fulfill its job.

EMG circuit : we plan on constructing an EMG circuit based on op-amps, resistors, and capacitors. This will be the circuit that is intended for doctors, as it will detect muscle movement.

Development board: our main board will transmit the data from each of the sensors to a mobile interface via. Bluetooth. The user will be notified when the pressure sensors are not tight enough. For our purposes, the battery on the development will suffice, and we will not need additional dry cells.

The data will be transmitted to a mobile system, where it would also remind the user to wear the brace if taken off. To make sure the brace has a secure enough fit, pressure sensors will be calibrated to determine accordingly. We want to emphasize the hardware circuits that will be supplemented onto the leg brace.

We want to emphasize on the hardware circuit portion this brace contains. We have tested the temperature and pressure resistors on a breadboard by soldering them to resistors, and confirmed they work as intended by checking with a multimeter.

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