Ethical Guidelines

University of Illinois trained engineers are the best and most highly sought in the world. Our graduates are superbly trained, highly competent, and creative. This, however, is not enough. Our engineers must also be trusted to conduct themselves according to the highest ethical standards. All teams must address ethical considerations in their projects. This requirement has two parts.

First, there is a stringent Code of Ethics published by professional societies, such as IEEE and ACM. The power of these Codes of Ethics is to provide guidance to engineers in decision making and to lend the weight of the collective community of engineers to individuals taking a stand on ethical issues. Thus the Code of Ethics both limits the professional engineer and empowers the professional engineer to stand firm on fundamental ethical bedrock. All teams must read the IEEE code and ACM code and comment on any sections of the code that bear directly on the project.

Second, we expect our students to have personal standards of conduct consistent with the IEEE and ACM Codes of Ethics, but also beyond it. That is, there are areas of ethics not addressed by these Codes that the engineer may consider in taking on projects or jobs or making other professional decisions. These are personal standards and choices. In the context of the class, there are no right or wrong answers here. Our students simply need to demonstrate that they are thinking deeply about their own decisions and the consequences of those decisions. We encourage our students to consider the wider impact of their projects and address any concerns raised by potential uses of the project. Students should ask themselves, "Would I be comfortable having my name widely attached to this project? Do I want to live in a society where this product is available or widely used? Would I be proud of a career dominated by the decision making demonstrated here?" Remember that UIUC engineers have a long history of inventions that really has changed the world.

If the students feel that these Codes of Ethics does not directly bear on their project and that there are no other reasonable concerns, they should not invent issues where there are none. Students will still be expected to be familiar with the IEEE Code of Ethics and ACM Code of Ethics.

Master Bus Processor

Clay Kaiser, Philip Macias, Richard Mannion

Master Bus Processor

Featured Project

General Description

We will design a Master Bus Processor (MBP) for music production in home studios. The MBP will use a hybrid analog/digital approach to provide both the desirable non-linearities of analog processing and the flexibility of digital control. Our design will be less costly than other audio bus processors so that it is more accessible to our target market of home studio owners. The MBP will be unique in its low cost as well as in its incorporation of a digital hardware control system. This allows for more flexibility and more intuitive controls when compared to other products on the market.

Design Proposal

Our design would contain a core functionality with scalability in added functionality. It would be designed to fit in a 2U rack mount enclosure with distinct boards for digital and analog circuits to allow for easier unit testings and account for digital/analog interference.

The audio processing signal chain would be composed of analog processing 'blocks’--like steps in the signal chain.

The basic analog blocks we would integrate are:

Compressor/limiter modes

EQ with shelf/bell modes

Saturation with symmetrical/asymmetrical modes

Each block’s multiple modes would be controlled by a digital circuit to allow for intuitive mode selection.

The digital circuit will be responsible for:

Mode selection

Analog block sequence

DSP feedback and monitoring of each analog block (REACH GOAL)

The digital circuit will entail a series of buttons to allow the user to easily select which analog block to control and another button to allow the user to scroll between different modes and presets. Another button will allow the user to control sequence of the analog blocks. An LCD display will be used to give the user feedback of the current state of the system when scrolling and selecting particular modes.

Reach Goals

added DSP functionality such as monitoring of the analog functions

Replace Arduino boards for DSP with custom digital control boards using ATmega328 microcontrollers (same as arduino board)

Rack mounted enclosure/marketable design

System Verification

We will qualify the success of the project by how closely its processing performance matches the design intent. Since audio 'quality’ can be highly subjective, we will rely on objective metrics such as Gain Reduction (GR [dB]), Total Harmonic Distortion (THD [%]), and Noise [V] to qualify the analog processing blocks. The digital controls will be qualified by their ability to actuate the correct analog blocks consistently without causing disruptions to the signal chain or interference. Additionally, the hardware user interface will be qualified by ease of use and intuitiveness.

Project Videos