Request for Approval


The request for approval (RFA) is the very first step in successfully completing a senior design project. Before submitting your RFA, you must post your project idea to the Web Board using the "Idea" post type. Once your idea has been fleshed out through the Web Board, you can move on request for approval through PACE under the My Project page. Once submitted, your project will be cloned to the Web Board as "Project Request" post. You can edit the project on the My Project page, add your teammates and see comments from the instructors. The course staff may provide feedback on your idea (which will appear at the bottom of your project's page), or suggest changes in the scope of the project and ask you to re-submit an RFA. Based on your incorporation of feedback your project will be approved or rejected. If it is rejected, the My Project page will revert back to it's original format and your project will disappear.

Once the course staff has approved the project idea, you will receive instructions on how to submit your project through PACE, at which time you will be assigned a project number in the Projects list, a TA, and a locker in the lab. Once your project is approved, please go to the Projects page, log into the PACE system, and make sure all of the information is correct.

Video Lecture

Video, Slides

Requirements and Grading

The RFA is graded credit/no credit based on whether your project is approved before the deadline. Note that submitting an RFA before the deadline does not guarantee approval before the deadline. The RFA is submitted through PACE under the My Project page, and should include the following information:

Projects must be legal and ethical. They must have significant scope and complexity commensurate with the size of the team. This is, of course, a subjective assessment of the course staff. To gain some insight into this judgment, please browse projects from previous semesters. The project must involve the design of a significant hardware component at the circuit level. In exceptional cases, projects not meeting this criteria may be acceptable when augmented by a Special Circuit assignment (however this is typically a last resort).

Beyond these basic requirements, you have total discretion in proposing a project. This is a great opportunity for you to pursue your own interests. Since you choose your own projects, we expect a high level of enthusiasm from you and your team.

Submission and Deadlines

The RFA submission deadline may be found on the Course Calendar. Typically, approval of the RFA is due during the afternoon of the third Thursday of the semester.

Quick Tips and Helpful Hints

Posting: Choosing a project: Choosing partners: Some general project ideas that are fraught with pitfalls:

Electronic Automatic Transmission for Bicycle

Tianqi Liu, Ruijie Qi, Xingkai Zhou

Featured Project

Tianqi Liu(tliu51)

Ruijie Qi(rqi2)

Xingkai Zhou(xzhou40)

Sometimes bikers might not which gear is the optimal one to select. Bicycle changes gears by pulling or releasing a steel cable mechanically. We could potentially automate gear changing by hooking up a servo motor to the gear cable. We could calculate the optimal gear under current condition by using several sensors: two hall effect sensors, one sensing cadence from the paddle and the other one sensing the overall speed from the wheel, we could also use pressure sensors on the paddle to determine how hard the biker is paddling. With these sensors, it would be sufficient enough for use detect different terrains since the biker tend to go slower and pedal slower for uphill or go faster and pedal faster for downhill. With all these information from the sensors, we could definitely find out the optimal gear electronically. We plan to take care of the shifting of rear derailleur, if we have more time we may consider modifying the front as well.

Besides shifting automatically, we plan to add a manual mode to our project as well. With manual mode activated, the rider could override the automatic system and select the gear on its own.

We found out another group did electronic bicycle shifting in Spring 2016, but they didn't have a automatic function and didn't have the sensor set-up like ours. Commercially, both SRAM and SHIMANO have electronic shifting products, but these products integrate the servo motor inside the derailleurs, and they have a price tag over $1000. Only professionals or rich enthusiasts can have a hand on them. As our system could potentially serve as an add-on device to all bicycles with gears, it would be much cheaper.

Project Videos