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:

Laser Harp MIDI Controller with Musical Articulations

Yingxi Hai, Hanze Tu

Laser Harp MIDI Controller with Musical Articulations

Featured Project

Electronic music concerts usually need eye-catching visual aids to create a certain atmosphere. Laser musical instruments is a great way to do this. We have been thinking of this project for a while and it was ECE445 that made this laser harp come true. The novelty of this project is that the harp-like laser device mainly focuses on playing articulations with laser and sensors, as a true universal MIDI controller, to control timbres that are synthesized or sampled. Articulations include piano/forte, vibrato, tremolo, and portamento. With the help of Professors and TAs, we learned how to pick right the components, design PCB, soldering, and program microcontroller. Those skills are not only useful in this class but also really important to electrical engineers. Also, we learned how to use individual strengths, combined with effective teamwork, in the pursuit of meaningful goals.

Project Videos