Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Capstone Symposium highlights Camosun talent with Chess Bot, Motion Synthesizer, more

December 12, 2017 by Adam Marsh, student editor

Want to see a Chess Bot? This week, you’ll get your chance. The device is a robot arm that—you guessed it—plays chess, and a Camosun student designed it. Ditto for the autonomous lawn mower. And the Motion Synthesizer.

These inventions, and others created by graduating Camosun Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology students, will be on display at Interurban on Friday, December 15. The Capstone Symposium event will display nine inventions that range from a solar-powered composter to a computer that repairs church chimes, and will go down at the Interurban Babcock Interaction Lab, from 10 am until 2 pm.

Camosun Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology chair Alan Duncan says the transformation of students in this program is phenomenal.

The Motion Synthesizer will be on display at the Capstone Symposium this Friday (photo provided).

“It’s always exciting to see students in the Capstone Student Showcase. They start in the program knowing very little, and looking at what they’re able to achieve in their projects is quite amazing,” he says. “The change is transformational.”

The growth depends on the students’ abilities to “break down a problem and come up with a solution that meets their goals,” says Duncan.

“The students are successful to have completed the entire program to this point and they’re going to go on and have careers in local companies or companies worldwide,” says Duncan. “They’re going to be creating new products, solving solutions in many fields, from renewable energies to mechanical systems, heating and ventilation control… many, many different areas, their skills can be applied.”

Because things change and evolve extremely fast in the world of electronics, it’s hard to say where the program is going, but one thing’s for sure, he says: as technology gets more complex, interest in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology is not diminishing at Camosun.

“Our program does very well keeping pace with some of the new technologies,” says Duncan. “Students get exposed to the same kind of microprocessors that are in cell phones and they learn the hardware and software to be able to use those devices effectively.”

Students can show potential employers these projects to prove they have experience.

“There’s always new things around the corner,” says Duncan, “but they’ve got the foundational skills that enable them to grab hold of these new opportunities and run with them.”

Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology student Bikramjit Singh, along with his classmates Amandeep Singh and Zachary Legg, made what is called the “Motion Synthesizer” over the span of three months. The machine allows users to control music through body motion; it supports HDMI output and has headphone jacks. The machine was built within a $250 budget. Singh says the most challenging part of the process was to figure out how to track a person’s body and make those movements control the music.

“It was difficult because we wanted to make it robust and very smooth,” he says, adding that he was relatively new to this concept and learned it in his own time outside of class. “We never learned that in our program, so we had to learn that.”

Singh is looking forward to sharing his invention with people at the showcase.

“It’s something different,” he says, “to control music by tracking objects and by body motion.”

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