Past Cornell ECE Masters of Engineering Independent Design Projects

ECE 6930, V. Hunter Adams (

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import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
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%matplotlib inline
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The centerpiece of the Cornell M.Eng. program is the professional project, in which students apply theory to a real problem, with the guidance from faculty, and often in collaboration with other students. This page describes the projects of my past advisees that have graduated.

Fall, 2022

Solar Powered GPS Tracker

Author: Stefen Pegels
Abstract: This individual MEng project seeks to develop and test a solar-powered fitness wearable, for use in tracking location for purposes of fitness activities. The project includes a circuit board design and layout from scratch with personally selected components and solar cells, as well as custom microcontroller software implemented on the board to achieve its desired functions. Finally, this project includes extensive testing including running exercises performed by the designer to test its GPS navigation system and path tracking. The major outcome of this project is the physical board itself, which can be used in multiple harnesses to fit many different scenarios, as well as GPS path data from multiple tests and an analysis of the effectiveness of the solar cell design in long-term deployment of the system. The components for this design include specific Surface Mount Technology (SMT) circuit board GPS, microcontroller, and solar charging circuit components. This project may seem like a somewhat primitive version of existing fitness wearables such as smartwatches, but it exists as an investigation into renewable energy for small-scale electronics with practical applications in the personal fitness of the designer. Its ability to charge a battery through solar energy will also be useful as it can run for long periods of time without any replacement power source. The first semester of work on this project encompasses a set of preliminary objectives, notably power sizing and solar cell selection, as well as complete component selection. Second semester work involves board fabrication, microcontroller programming, and outdoor field testing.
Report: Download here

Spring, 2022

Distributed Environmental Sensing System for the Johnson Museum

Authors: Mingyang Feng and Yingjia Zhang
Abstract: This project is a collaboration with the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art on campus. Art museum staff must regularly gather temperature and humidity measurements from throughout the museum. These measurements inform maintenance schedules and display locations for sensitive artwork. Light exposure could also inform these schedules, but the museum does not presently measure it with the same regularity. To help museum staff gather measurements, we developed an IoT system which allows them to remotely monitor the real-time environmental conditions throughout the museum. In particular, the system measures temperature, humidity, ambient light, and ultraviolet light. Each node in the IoT system is composed of multiple deployable sensors controlled by a low-cost and low-power microcontroller named NodeMCU. The IoT system gather data from these sensors at a programmable rate. All data are aggregated in a remote database and displayed on a personal website for users to access via the internet. A one-month test has been performed in the museum to verify the system works as per the requirements.
Report: Download here

Chaotic Oscillator as Sound Synthesis Controller

Authors: Zifu Qin
Abstract: In some circumstances, human ears are better than eyes at recognizing patterns. Researchers have sonified complex datasets, including DNA sequences, to use their ears to find patterns hidden from their eyes. By sonifying the well-known chaotic system – “Lorenz System”, this project qualitatively investigates the ear's response to a sonified chaotic system. To sonify the Lorenz System, the team built a microcontroller-based chaotic synthesizer which could generate sounds with chaotic patterns. In this project, the source of chaos was from modulated Lorenz Attractors which were mapped to the output frequencies of a Direct Digital Synthesis sine-wave synthesizer. The RP2040 microcontroller was used to implement the algorithm and send the generated digital frequency signals to a digital to analog converter to make sounds. This project was an exploratory experiment of sonifying a chaotic system. We found that the sonified chaotic system sounded vaguely natural and organic.
Report: Download here

In [13]:
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