CSc 59866/59867 Capstone I/II Fall 2015-Spring 2016
CS/CpE/EE Joint Senior Design Program
Smart Living and Assistive Technologies for People in Need

Zhigang Zhu, Department of Computer Science

Professor Jizhong Xiao , Department of Electrical Engineering

Project Mentor Team
Wai L. Khoo, Edgardo Molina, Feng Hu, Wei Li, Greg Olmschenk, Farnaz Abtahi, Martin Goldberg

The City College of New York

Spring 2016  Schedule (academic calendar)
Class Meet Times & Locations:   
Bi-Weekly Class Update All Teams on Wednesday 11:30AM - 01:00PM  NAC-6/268
Each team please meet with your mentor invidually on the other weeks

  • 02/03, First day of class. Plan for the semester. Please get your wiki page ready (check email from Wai Khoo for access information) for sharing in class- 10 minutes each team!
  • 02//17, Biweekly Updates (1)
  • 03/02, Biweekly Updates (2)
  • 03/09, Please all attend a talk on Fish 'n' Robots: not a take-out food  by Professor Maurizio Porfiri  from NYU Poly. Time: 11:30 - 12:30. Location: Steinman Hall Exhibit Room (note the change of location: next to the GSOE main office). Each of you is required to write a one-page summary (double spaced) of what you learn from the talk and post it in your wiki page. If you cannot make it, you need to write a similar report based on your study on the work in the speaker's lab.
  • 03/16, Biweekly Updates (3)
  • 03/30. Biweekly meeting moved to 04/06.
  • 04/06, Mid-Term Team Presentations using PPT Slides.  CREATE TEAM will do a Dry-Run preparation.
  • 04/12,The Annual CREATE Symposium will be held on April 12 (Tuesday), 2016 at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. NYSID will fund transportation, food and lodging for two members from each student team, the professor, and one representative from the NYSID member agency on the night before the event.
  • 04/20, Biweekly Updates (4)
  • 05/04, Biweekly Updates (5)
  • 05/18, 2016, FINAL TEAM PRESENTATIONS using Video and PPT Slides (Schedule Here); Report Submission Due by the end of the week midnight. For the Video and the Final Reports, all teams (including the three CREATE teams) shall follow the guidelines of the Guidelines for CREATE Deliverables. Note in front of the five page report you can add one additional page for the information such as the title, team members, mentors, advisors, and acknowledgment. Please use 1 inch margins, 10 point New Time Roman font, and single space. Event Location: ST-124 (Exhibit Room). Schedule (1) 11:00 am - 12:00 pm  Invited PRISM talk by Dr. Cecilia Feeley from CAIT at Rutgers to address transportation and mobility issues for individuals on the autism spectrum (details will follow). (2) 12:00 - 12:30 pm Work Lunch Break; (3) 12:30 - 3:00 pm Student Team Presentations (8 x 15 minutes - with a 10 min presentation + 5 min QAs), and a panel of 7 judges (including Cecelia) from Goodwill, Lighthouse Guild, Rutgers and CUNY will evaluate your projects on the following  10 aspects: 1) Background, 2) Statement of the Problem, 3) Rationale, 4) Design, 5) Development, 6) Evaluation, 7) Discussion, 8) References, 9) Acknowledgements, and 10) Presentation.  
  • 05/30,2016. Final Grading will be submitted on June 2 (Thursday), 2016. For your information, here is the team presentation grading and comments. Enjoy your Summer!

Fall 2015  Schedule (academic calendar)
Class Meet Time & Location:    Wednesday 11:00AM - 01:30PM  NAC-4/161
Office Hours: M/W   2:00 pm - 3:00 pm, NAC 8/211

Capstone Wiki Pages  (Internal Use Only)


Leveraging Prof. Zhigang Zhu's expertise in human-computer interaction and computer vision, Prof. John (Jizhong) Xiao's expertise in robotic navigation, and Prof. Tony Ro's expertise in cognitive neuroscience particularly in perception and action,  we have expanded their research focus to developing advanced human centric assistive systems to help people in need, e.g. visually impaired people, to achieve independent and quality life in familiar or unfamiliar environments. We have collaborations with the Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at CUNY Baruch College, the NYS Commission for the Blind (NYSCB), and the New York Institute of Special Education. Their feedback could help us to develop compact, lightweight, inexpensive devices or services to improve the quality of life of people, particular those in need .


We have developed a cross-department joint senior design course for undergraduate seniors in CS, CpE and EE in developing automated and assistive technologies for smart living of all.  These include: multimodal, passive and unobtrusive techniques for helping visually impaired people to achieve independent travel in unfamiliar environments; smart house systems and mobile apps for improving the quality of life of elderly and people in need (such as with Autism Spectrum Disorders - ASDs); and sensing technologies for health monitoring and rehabilitation .We have obtained VentureWell 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 people in need

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.

As the second part of the first semester, students will read technical papers and present to the class. Under the guidance of the instructors, the undergrad seniors will form teams to survey the state-of-the-art technologies in several challenges areas (i.e., multimodal sensing approaches, assistive technologies, and mobile apps), 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/Psy 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 NYSCB 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 (1)  Kaylie Prize for New Ventures - Hardware, (2) Zahn Prize for New Ventures - Software and Beyond, and (3) VentureWell E-TEAM Competition. The winning teams will be supported to continue the effort in summer and beyond.  

Reading Materials 

Other Useful Links 

NSF EFRI-M3C Funding Support for Research (For more information, please see a news post about the project.)

NSF GARDE Funding Support for Course Development

VentureWell funding support [planning] [regular]

Our 2011-2012 Capstone Team V.I.S.T.A. together with two other students in our labs won the $50000 Kaylie Prize (See also The City College Kaylie Prize for Entrepreneurship ) A video demonstrating the early prototype of the device can be found here.

Professor Zhigang Zhu's Visual Computing Laboratory

Professor John (Jizhong) Xiao's Robotics Laboratory

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

NYS Commission for the Blind  (NYSCB)

New York Institute for Special Education (NYISE)

Copyright @ Zhigang Zhu,  2014-2016