CSc 59866/59867 Capstone I/II Fall 2011-Spring 2012

CS/CpE/EE Joint Senior Design Program

On Assistive Technology for Blind and Visually Impaired People

Code: 3545;   Section: PRAC2;    Credits:     6.0

Zhigang Zhu, Department of Computer Science
Professor Jizhong Xiao
, Department of Electrical Engineering

Project Mentoring Team: Wai L. Khoo, Frank Palmer,
Edgardo Molina
    City College of New York

Fall 2011 Class Meet Time & Location:    M,W 12:30-01:45PM NAC-7313
Fall 2011 Office Hours: M. W  2:30 - 3:30 pm

Spring 2012 Class Meet Time & Location:    Thursdays 2:00 - 4:00 PM NAC-8/207 (CS Conference Room)
Spring 2012 Office Hours: Thursdays  5:00 - 7:00 pm

Course Materials and Schedule Update

Spring 2012 (academic calendar)

Feb 2, 2012. First day of this class.  

Feb 17, 2012. Grading  for Weeks 1-2.

March 04, 2012. Grading for Weeks 1-4.

March 14, 2012. Grading for Weeks 1-5.

March 15 (Thursday), 2012, Prof. YingLi Tian's PRISM talk on computer vision technology for the blind at 2:00 pm in the CS Conference Room.

March 20, 2012. Grading for Weeks 1-6.

March 31, 2012. Grading for Weeks 1-8. Please update your project wiki pages.I will use this for part of the grading for week 9.

April 10, 2012. Grading for Weeks 1-9. Please update your project wiki pages.

April 17(Tuesday), 2012, 12:20 pm (NAC 4/209) CS/Math joint seminar and then 3:20 pm (SH-22) PRISM Lecture (Please go to one of the talks. This is a replacement for the class meet on April 26 when we are not going to have class meet. Please prepare for your final presentations on April 26 instead) 
Title: Cybercasing the Joint: On the Privacy Implications of Multimedia Retrieval
Speaker: Dr. Gerald Friedland, International Computer Science Institute, University of California, Berkeley

April 18, 2012. Grading for Weeks 1-10. Please update your project wiki pages - this will be the last class discussion before your final presentation in May.

April 20, 2012. Grading for Weeks 1-11. You know why I gave some of you bonus points - hope you live up to them in your final reports. Please also check and update your project wiki pages for final project presentations and reports. Please upload your reports there in addition to bringing a hardcopy to me in class in May 3 (LANE and KHOD teams) and May 10 (VISTA and IrisPI teams). Remember your project report shall have 10 - 20 pages, 1.5 line space, 12 point fonts, including problem definition, related work, your designs/algorithms/ideas, your implementation, result analysis, what we can learn from your work and what's next. Please include an abstract and an acknowledgment section in your report. Please add a nice cover page with your title, team members, and other class related information. For more specifics, please go to your wiki pages. Finally, you need to submit your code or designs to Wai as the final deliverable before I give you the final grades.

May 24, 2012. Final Grading. Have a Great Summer!

Fall 2011 (academic calendar)

Final Grading. Happy Holidays!

Computer Science and Computer Engineering students who have selected Professor Zhu's section will mainly follow the time schedule of CSc 59866 in Computer Science.  Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering students who have selected Professor Xiao's section will mainly follow the time schedule of EE 59866 in Electrical Engineering. We will also arrange some joint seminars between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

Week 1 (August 29 & 31, 2011): Introduction (slides) and Reading Material Assignments (Reading List )

Week 2 (Sept 07 & 09, 2011)
: Reading and Presentation Assignments (slides-updated for fitting schedules of all): Please also check the Updated Annotated Reading List for your names. Under each paper, the first student shall do a 30 min presenation (with PPT slides), and the second student shall read the same paper and form questions for class discussion. Each class meet will have two presentations, each 30 minutes, in the order as listed in the reading list. Please send me the slides and questions before class.

September 21, 2011. We will have a discussion class on this Wedneday (Septemeber 21) - I will present interesting research results generated in my lab. The student presentations are rescheduled accordingly. Please see the updated schedule.

Oct 5, 2011. We will have three student presentations for their readings

October 6 (Thursday), 2011 (Please note the change of date and TIME and location). We will meet with the EE/CpE students during the Club Hours (1:00 pm - 2:00 pm) in  Engineering Building (EE conference room ST-623). Prof. Xiao and Prof. Zhu will briefly introduce possible projects and students may introduce yoursleves so that we can start to think about forming interdisciplinary teams (Prof. Zhu's class - projects and students) (Prof. Xiao's project designs).

Oct 10, Monday (Columbus Day)

Oct 12: Wednesday: PRISM Talk by Prof. Haibin Ling from Temple University on visual tracking via spare representation (NAC 7/313, 12:30 -1:30)

Oct 17 Monday: Prof. Jizhong Xiao's PRISM talk on Robotics Research and Education at CCNY  (NAC 7/313, 12:30 -1:30).

Oct 19 Wednesday: Edgardo Molina, Martin Goldberg, JianHong Li present camera-projection system (NAC 7/313, 12:30 -1:30). Please check out Martin's list of scenarios and try to figure out what could be the technical tasks. Please put your thoughts in a slide or two, maybe with pictures. You might also refer to (1) our Updated Reading List, (2)  Prof. Zhu's suggested projects , (3) Prof. Xiao's project designs and (4) incorporate what we will discuss on Oct 24 into your slides.

Oct 24 Monday: Wai Khoo/Frank Plamer/Nathan Slobody present IR-tactile design and evaluation, Prof. Tony Ro presents neuroscience work as well (NAC 7/313, 12:30 -1:30)

Oct 26 Wed:  Visiting NYISE. Prof. YingLi Tian's PRISM talk on sign/door/color detection and recognition for the blind will be tentatively planned in Spring 2011 when we start the project.

Oct 31 Monday: Wai Khoo/Hao Tang present on kinect and stereo vision for the blind (NAC 7/313, 12:30 -1:30);  Juan  Lopez may prsent his reading if time is allowed.

Nov 2 Wed:  Tentative teaming and proposed projects: please send your 1-page proposal (project ideas, possible team members, the willingness to work with EE teams) to me by the end of Monday Oct 31. You might check the following materials (just for your references): (1) Edgardo/Martin/JianHong's slides on camera-projector assistive techiques (2) Wai's slides on Kinect and Robot Studio for the blind (3) Martin's narrative on vision and sensors for for wried track.

Nov 7, 2011. Student teams can be found here. Your revised proposals (10-15 pages) are due on November 27. Please also get back to me for proof-reading the lecture notes on Dec 11.

Nov 7, Mon: Feature Extraction - Image Enhancement (pptx).
Nov 9, Wed: Feature Extraction - Edge Detection (pptx)

The lecture note for Feature Extraction may be found here. (Section 2 Image Enhancement- Luis, Secttion 3 intro and 3.1 & 3.2 Edge and 1st Order Methods - Jean, Section 3.3 Hough Transform - Jason)

All: While you are reading, you may check out the programming assignment at this page to get a sense of images and image processing, using Matlab. You can also select other programming languages (e.g., C++, C#, Java) if you wish. Then you may continue to work on Projects 1-3 at the end of the lecture notes for Feature Extraction.(You don't have to turn it in but feel free to discuss with me for any problems)

Nov 14, Mon: Camera Models (pptx) (lecture notes) ( proofreading - Suri)
Nov 16, Wed: Camera Calibration (pptx) (lecture notes)(Before Section 2.5 -  Eric; From Section 2.5 Estimating the Image Center to the end -  Joey)

Homework for All: please work out solutions for Questions 2 and 3 in the chapter of Camera Models. Please print and turn your work in on Nov 28 in class.

Nov 21, Mon
: Stereo Vision  (pptx) (lecture notes)- Epipolar Geometry (Sections 1 and 2: Cindy; Section 3 - Javier)
Nov 23, Wed: Stereo Vision (pptx) (lecture notes) - Corrsepondence Problem and 3D Reconstruction (Sections 4  to end including projects: Daniel)

Nov 28, Mon
: Visual Motion (pptx) (lecture notes)- Motion Field of Rigid Motion (Section 1, Section 2 - Febin )
Nov 30, Wed: Visual Motion (pptx) (lecture notes)- Optical Flow and Feature-Based Approach (Sections 3 and 4 - Atif; Section 5 to end - Juan)

Dec 4 and 7: Project designs (proposal writing) and homework assignments.
Reminder: Homework (Q2 and Q3 in Camera Models) final deadline Dec 14, hardcopies (print) in class;
Reminder: Lecture notes proof-reading final deadline (by email) Dec 16, 2011

Please check out my notes on a few interesting papers and keynote presentations presented at ISM 2011. They might be useful in design your projects.

Dec 12, Mon: Student final proposal prsentations and discussions (30 minutes each) - please email me your final proposals and slides before 10:00 am on Monday
Team IrisPi (Irisπ: a low-cost solution for the blind in the city - Jason, Jean, Luis)
Team COTSiVR (Evaluating COTS Devices for Assisting Navigation in Virtual and Real Environments - Eric, Joey, Suri)

Dec 14, Wed: Student final proposal prsentations and discussions (30 minutes each)- please email me your final proposals and slides before 10:00 am on Wednesday
Team V.I.S.T.A. ( Vibrotactile Intelligent System for Travelling Aid- Cindy, Daniel, Javier)
Team KHOD (Kinect Human & Object Detection - Atif, Febin, Juan)


Leveraging Prof. Zhigang Zhu’s expertise in computer vision and scene understanding, and Prof. John (Jizhong) Xiao’s expertise in robotic navigation, the two professors have expanded their research focus to developing a human centric assistive navigation system to help the blind people to achieve independent travel in unfamiliar environments. We have collaborations with the Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at CUNY Baruch College, the NYS Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH), and the New York Institute of Special Education. Their feedback indicate that many current assistive devices fall short of meeting the needs of blind users, and sometimes they even create more problems than they solve. Blind users demand compact, lightweight, inexpensive devices and heavily count on hearing and tactile to understand the scene. When they walk through unfamiliar environments, they are actually making tremendous conscious effort in figuring out a global map and obtaining a global perception of the whole environment.


With a team of faculty mentors (Professors Zhu and Xiao), entrepreneur advisers, blind consultants, graduate research assistants, and undergrad students, we have developed a cross-department joint senior design course for undergraduate seniors in CS, CpE and EE in developing multimodal, passive and unobtrusive techniques for helping visually impaired people to achieve independent travel in unfamiliar environments. We have requested and obtained NCIIA funding support  and NSF funding support to carry out basic research and to run the cross-department joint senior design program for CS/CpE/EE seniors. The joint senior design program builds on our existing capstone design course structure in CS and EE departments, but with a new concentration on assistive technology for visually impaired people. The joint senior design program starts in Fall 2011, and will gradually shape and evolve  into the core program of the GSoE at CCNY.

In each year, the joint senior design course is a mandated two semester sequence for senior students in both CS and EE departments. In the first semester we will offer lectures on basic technologies in sensors, actuators, robotic navigation, vision algorithms, and assistive technologies by the instructors. The general lectures will introduce important aspects of a business plan such as project management, intellectual property (IP), entrepreneurship. In addition, the lecture series on entrepreneurship at GSoE will be utilized where professionals are invited to share their real world experiences.

In the second part of the first semester, under the guidance of the instructors, the undergrad seniors will form teams to survey the state-of-the-art technologies in the three challenges areas (i.e., multimodal sensing approaches, data interpretation algorithms, and display methods), perform patent searches, conduct marketing analyses, and write project proposals which shall include design ideas, a reasonable budget, a management plan with milestones, and a business plan. CS/CpE/EE students are encouraged to form multidisciplinary teams and work collaboratively to contribute their different expertise in the projects. The faculty mentors will review the proposals and give senior design students feedback to refine  their projects

In the second semester, the student teams are expected to implement design ideas, prototype, test, and evaluate different designs. Students will also have the opportunities to perform usability study on vision impaired users in collaboration with NYS CBVH therefore better understanding their needs to improve the designs and to create more appropriate business plans. The prominent teams with innovative ideas/technology and good business plans will be recommended to compete for the Kaylie Prize for Entrepreneurship. The winning team will be supported to continue the effort in summer.  

Useful Links and Update Information

Please check out this  Reading List

Professor Zhigang Zhu's Visual Computing Laboratory

Professor John (Jizhong) Xiao's Robotics Laboratory

City College Kaylie Prize for Entrepreneurship

Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at CUNY Baruch College

NYS Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH)

New York Institute of Special Education

NSF funding support (NEW)

NCIIA funding support

Copyright @ Zhigang Zhu , Fall 2011