"Dawn breaks over the Pacific" as seen from the Computer Engineering Instructional Lab - photo courtesy of the Fridgenius project, 2013/2014 CE Capstone Class



University of California, Santa Barbara

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


ECE 189A/B – Senior Computer Systems Project


Fall 2016 / Spring 2017


Instructor: Dr. John M. Johnson




Computer Aided Design Tools and libraries generously provided by  


Microcontrollers and Industrial Reference Design platforms generously provided by 


LPCXpresso® Experiment Kits generously provided by


Fabrication of Printed Circuit Boards sponsored in part by  


Printed Circuit Board assembly and rework provided by  


Printed Circuit Board procurement, fabrication, assembly and rework generously provided by



2016/2017 Projects


FLIR Helios (oveview poster, technical poster)


All security cameras that dominate the market have wires. Due to the need for cable routing, installation costs make security systems too expensive for most consumers.  However, current cableless options, such as the EyeTrax Ranger system, cost upwards of $2,000, not including monthly cellular data connection fees. The FLIR Helios is a cableless low-cost alternative to these security cameras. The Helios system integrates solar power and WiFi capabilities to remove nearly all cabling.  


This is a UCSB College of Engineering multidisciplinary project encompassing the Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering capstone classes and is sponsored by FLIR.


Ben May, Carlos Beltran, Salim Benhaddou, Garrison Carter, Aaron Chang


FLIR Helios Final Presentation (6/8/2017)


FLIR Security Camera Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)


FLIR Security Camera Initial Design Review (10/24/2016)



Gestur (poster)


With the releases of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Microsoft Hololens, and Google Daydream, virtual reality is rapidly evolving from an awkward, emerging concept into an industry in and of itself.  Unfortunately, existing hardware peripherals for VR lack key features needed to fully leverage what these environments have to offer.  Namely, they still rely on physical designs derived from traditional-style video game controllers.  Rather than this, we believe the future for interacting with virtual environments lies in e-wearables; clothing with integrated electronics.  Our project, Gestur, aims to meet this vision by providing a glove-based controller for VR platforms as an alternative to more “standard” controllers.


Ryan Kaveh, Kyle Carson, Jon Young


Gestur Final Presentation (6/8/2017)


Gestur Initial Design Review (10/24/2016)


Gestur Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)



Hyperloop 2 (poster)


UCSB Hyperloop is an interdisciplinary team of 32 students and professors competing in SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Competition.  Their Pod is a vehicle designed to travel through a vacuum tunnel at high speeds, and is to be tested on a track constructed at SpaceX's Hawthorne headquarters in August 2017.  The Pod's payload levitates with the use of four magnetic levitation engines to reduce the vehicle's drag.


As members of the Sensors and Controls sub-team, Computer Engineers have been responsible for choosing and interfacing to the sensors which monitor the Pod’s critical subsystems, as well as developing and implementing control schemes for those subsystems, and reporting telemetry data back to a companion web application.  Each subsystem requires various control signals and needs to be monitored to ensure that safe and ideal behavior is achieved.


This is a UCSB College of Engineering multidisciplinary project encompassing the Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering capstone classes.


Yang Ren, Tristan Seroff, Asitha Kaduwela, Jesus Diera


Hyperloop 2 Final Presentation (6/8/2017)


Hyperloop 2 Initial Design Review (10/24/2016)


Hyperloop 2 Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)



IR Hub (poster)


IR Hub was created to solve a problem each member of the IR Hub team faced in their own home. The problem: too many infrared remotes cluttering the living room. The solution: a device that turns your smartphone into a universal remote by combining three systems.


·         An IR Receiver that can learn codes from any remote you have

·         An array of IR LEDs that can transmit those codes with 360° room coverage

·         An Android Application that controls the Hub over a Bluetooth connection


Simply leave IR Hub in a central location of a room, and take control of devices in that room with your phone 


Nathan Bradley, Jesus Castro, Jeremiah Prousalis


IR Hub Final Presentation (6/8/2017)


IR Hub  Initial Design Review (10/26/2016)


IR Hub Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)



OstraCam 2 (poster)


OstraCam's intended purpose is to assist Dr. Todd Oakley and his team in researching ostracod, a bioluminescent crustacean.  It will do so by tracking the bioluminescent displays in 3D at 30 FPS using a submergible stereo camera system.  As the second year of the OstraCam project, we will primarily improve upon the computer vision aspects of this project, primarily centered around improving the quality of data from the camera system and analyzing it.  Hardware upgrades such as a new microcontroller and new instrumentation were planned, but will be delayed to next year.


This is a collaboration between the Computer Engineering capstone class and Professor Todd Oakley, UCSB Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (the project sponsor).


Paul Killam, Christina Lim, Oliver Thio


OstraCam 2 Final Presentation (6/8/2017)


OstraCam 2 Initial Design Review (10/26/2016)


OstraCam 2 Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)




SONOS COM. (poster)


This is an intercom device that lets you broadcast your voice to any Sonos wireless sound system in your home. This multidisciplinary project consists of students from three disciplines.


·         The mechanical engineering team focuses on designing and building the physical enclosure to be sleek, compact, and provide acceptable device thermal operating conditions.

·         The electrical engineering team crafts the human-device interaction experience by working on capacitive touch and dual-microphone input, as well as all digital signal processing of audio.

·         The computer engineering team designs the hardware (assembled by Laritech) and software to provide the desired functionality, working closely with the electrical engineers to capture audio and with the mechanical engineers so that the enclosure and PCB come together in harmony.


This is a UCSB College of Engineering multidisciplinary project encompassing the Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering capstone classes and is sponsored by SONOS.


Brian Sandler, Brenden Fujishige, Marcellis Carr-Barfield, Seyed Mohammad Ghazitabrizi, Richard Wei, Subhodeep Choudhury


SONOS COM. Final Presentation (6/8/2017)


SONOS Intercom Initial Design Review (10/26/2016)


SONOS Intercom Critical Design Review (12/6/2016)




Previous Senior Capstone Projects


CAD Tutorials Home Page



Course Spotlight


ECE 189A & B is a year-long senior capstone project in which students, working in small groups of three to five, design and implement an embedded computer system incorporating both significant hardware and software components and, in many cases, mechanical components as well.


During the first half of this course sequence, student groups choose a project, define and refine a description of its external behavior, then launch into the hardware design phase. By the end of fall quarter, using industry standard Computer Aided Design tools, they have produced detailed hardware schematics, fabrication-ready printed circuit board artwork, and complete component kits and associated documentation necessary for prototype assembly.  An organized project notebook describing all aspects of the project as well as formal design reviews/presentations and the use of professional project management software complete the initial portion of the capstone design experience. 


During winter quarter, the ECE department has the printed circuit boards fabricated and assembled and, when students return for the second half of the capstone project course, the focus turns toward overall project integration.  On the first day of spring quarter, circuit boards are ready for initial power up, design debug and verification. In parallel, creation of the project software begins and any mechanical components are acquired and/or manufactured and assembled.  Once the hardware design is validated and the software and mechanical development efforts are completed, the final project prototype is integrated, tested and verified.  A succession of milestones, reviews and presentations ensures that project completion and introduction occur in a timely and successful manner.


At the end of spring quarter, each project team participates in the Computer Engineering portion of the Senior Capstone Project Presentation Day.  During the day long event, the groups display posters highlighting their projects’ features and operation in the department’s courtyard and conduct a public presentation and demonstration of the completed projects.



ECE 189A Project Milestones (Fall quarter)


  1. Project Idea and Team Formation — one week (due Monday, October 3)

List of team members, conceptual drawing and brief overview "datasheet" of the project with preliminary block diagram.


  1. Refined Project— one week (due Monday, October 10)

Annotated block diagram, external behavioral specification and identification of the role to be played by each team member.


  1. System-level Design— two weeks (due Monday, October 24)

Subsystem requirements & specifications, and interface specs.


  1. Detailed Design— approximately four weeks (due Monday, November 21)

Schematic drawings, and (if programmable logic is being used) Verilog or VHDL sources with both functional and timing simulations.


  1. Implementation of the Hardware Design— approximately three weeks (due Friday, December 9) 

Artwork for fabricating the printed circuit board (PCB), including Gerber plots, final schematics, engineering drawing, assembly drawing.



Winter Quarter


  1. PCB Fabrication & Assembly— Final review of printed circuit board artwork; generation and submittal of Gerber files to Sunstone Circuits.  Final procurement of components for PCB's, creation of complete assembly kits and submittal to Rapid Prototypes. 


All dates are approximations with Friday, March 25 the "drop dead" date for delivery of assembled PCB's to begin ECE 189B in spring quarter.


·         Final review and submittal of Printed Circuit Board artwork - three weeks (due Friday, January 27)


·         Printed Circuit Board fabrication - two weeks (bare PCB received Friday, February 10)


·         Final Assembly Kit: bagged parts, assembly drawing and Bill of Materials (due Monday, February 13)


·         PCB assembly - four weeks (assembled PCB received Friday, March 17)


·         PCB worst case completion date to begin Spring quarter -  Friday, March 31



ECE 189B Project Milestones (Spring quarter)


  1. Initial Power-Up – one week (due Friday, April 7)

Apply power to board with no shorts, correct regulated voltages, currents within spec, etc.


  1. Processor / Memory / Boot-up- one week (due Friday, April 14)

Demonstrate execution of user code via the “Hello World” program, flashing LED’s, etc.


  1. BIOS-Level Monitor – one week (due Friday, April 21)

main() with infinite loop; polling / interrupt structure of peripheral control demonstrated


  1.   Individual Subsystem Tests – two weeks (due Friday, May 5)

 Independent software control of all sensors, motors, wireless, displays, etc.


  1.   Integration of Subsystems – two weeks (due Friday, May 19)

 All systems exercised and communicating through common main()


  1.   Full Application – two weeks (due Friday, June 2)

  Final integration of “Controls Indicators & Interconnect” and full system operation


  1.   Manual, Poster & Presentation

  Capstone Project Presentation Day (tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 8, 2016)