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:

    Covert Communication Device

    Ahmad Abuisneineh, Srivardhan Sajja, Braeden Smith

    Covert Communication Device

    Featured Project

    **Partners (seeking one additional partner)**: Braeden Smith (braeden2), Srivardhan Sajja (sajja3)

    **Problem**: We imagine this product would have a primary use in military/law enforcement application -- especially in dangerous, high risk missions. During a house raid or other sensitive mission, maintaining a quiet profile and also having good situational awareness is essential. That mean's that normal two way radios can't work. And alternatives, like in-ear radios act as outside->in communication only and also reduce the ability to hear your surroundings.

    **Solution**: We would provide a series of small pocketable devices with long battery that would use LoRa radios to provide a range of 1-5 miles. They would be rechargeable and have a single recessed soft-touch button that would allow someone to find it inside of pockets and tap it easily. The taps would be sent in real-time to all other devices, where they would be translated into silent but noticeable vibrations. (Every device can obviously TX/RX).

    Essentially a team could use a set of predetermined signals or even morse code, to quickly and without loss of situational awareness communicate movements/instructions to others who are not within line-of-sight.

    The following we would not consider part of the basic requirements for success, but additional goals if we are ahead of schedule:

    We could also imagine a base-station which would allow someone using a computer to type simple text that would be sent out as morse code or other predetermined patterns. Additionally this base station would be able to record and monitor the traffic over the LoRa channels (including sender).

    **Solutions Components**:

    - **Charging and power systems**: the device would have a single USB-C/Microusb port that would connect to charging circuitry for the small Lithium-ion battery (150-500mAh). This USB port would also connect to the MCU. The subsystem would also be responsible to dropping the lion (3.7-4.2V to a stable 3.3V logic level). and providing power to the vibration motor.

    - **RF Communications**: we would rely on externally produced RF transceivers that we would integrate into our PCB -- DLP-RFS1280, https://www.sparkfun.com/products/16871, https://www.adafruit.com/product/3073, .

    -**Vibration**: We would have to research and source durable quiet, vibration motors that might even be adjustable in intensity

    - **MCU**: We are likely to use the STM32 series of MCU's. We need it to communicate with the transceiver (probably SPI) and also control the vibration motor (by driving some transistor). The packets that we send would need to be encrypted (probably with AES). We would also need it to communicate to a host computer for programming via the same port.

    - **Structural**: For this prototype, we'd imagine that a simple 3d printed case would be appropriate. We'd have to design something small and relatively ergonomic. We would have a single recessed location for the soft-touch button, that'd be easy to find by feel.

    **Basic criterion for success:** We have at least two wireless devices that can reliably and quickly transfer button-presses to vibrations on the other device. It should operate at at *least* 1km LOS. It should be programmable + chargeable via USB. It should also be relatively compact in size and quiet to use.

    **Additional Success Criterion:** we would have a separate, 3rd device that can stay permanently connected to a computer. It would provide some software that would be able to send and receive from the LoRa radio, especially ASCII -> morse code.