Senior Design Contest features interdisciplinary student projects

The BEEDL team--Karen Liu, Kipling Inscore, Jerome Bougoffa, and Edmond Szeto--won first place in the Senior Design Contest. Photo by Tim Stephens.

Undergraduate students in computer engineering and electrical engineering presented their senior design projects before a panel of judges in the Baskin School of Engineering's Senior Design Contest on Friday, March 23. Contributions from individual donors provided $1,000 in prize money, which was divided among the top three teams.

The top prize of $600 went to the Bluetooth Enabled Electronic Doorlock (BEEDL) project. The team of four students--Edmond Szeto, Jerome Bougoffa, Kipling Inscore, and Karen Liu--developed a door lock that can be opened by entering a password on a cell phone. Their presentation included a working prototype and a product brochure complete with an order form. The team's faculty advisers were Cyrus Bazeghi, lecturer in computer engineering, and Wentai Liu, professor of electrical engineering.

The second-place prize went to Universal Real-time Navigational Assistance (URNA), a pedestrian navigation system for the blind. Third place went to SparcFPGA, an implementation of the OpenSPARC processor design from Sun Microsystems on a type of programmable chip called a field-programmable gate array (FPGA).

The senior design projects are completed during a two-quarter course sequence (fall-winter or winter-spring). Students work in cross-disciplinary teams to develop a design and create a prototype. Starting last year, the engineering school has organized a contest at the end of each course sequence.

The judges--all UCSC alumni now working in the high-tech industry--evaluated the student projects on the basis of three criteria: technological innovation and realization; presentation ability; and effective team collaboration. The students presented the results of their work in corporate-style presentations intended to prepare students for real-world work experiences.

"We give them advice and support, but these projects are all the original designs of the students themselves," Bazeghi said.

More details about the student projects are available on the class wiki.