CSc 59866/59867 Capstone I/II Fall 2016-Spring 2017
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
The City College of New York

  Spring 2017  Schedule (academic calendar) (Grading So Far)
Class Meet Time & Location:  Tuesday 12:15PM - 02:00PM  NAC 7/219
Office Hours:Tuesday  10:30AM - 12:00PM  NAC 8/211

Fall 2016  Schedule (academic calendar) (Grading So Far)
Class Meet Time & Location:    Wednesday 11:00AM - 01:30PM  MS-408 in Marshak (note the new new classroom!)
Office Hours: Wednesday 10:00 - 11:00 am and  1:30 pm - 2:30 pm, NAC 8/211
  • August 31, First day of class: Course  Introduction by Prof. Z. Zhu and Introduction to Assistive Robotics [Slides] (Xiao).Prof. Jizhong Xiao (Assignment 0 - Resumes with Project Interests. Please send your resume in PDF via email to Due Sept 07, 2016 before class ).

  • September 07, Past Project Presentations by Graduate and Undergrad Students (1) GCTC Action Cluster - Greg, Vishnu, Ken; (2) Facial Computing - Wei, Christina, Farnaz; (3) Vista and Multimodal and Alternative Perception - Wai, Edgardo; (4) Exergames and Navigation - Hao, Norbu, Feng; (5) QT Interface to 2D to 3D matching - Martin. Please prepare for your presentations for a paper with a few slides either on September 28 or October 05 - Tentatively schedules and instructions (please send me your resumes and paper selections if you haven't).

  • September 14, (1)  Human and Machine Vision by Prof. Zhu.  (2) Visit and Presentations by Brian Bateman of NYSID [link], Celina M. Cavalluzzi [Slides]  and Aaron Shmueli from Goodwill NY/NJ on CREATE teams.

  • September 21, Visiting Goodwill NYC Sites (Times and Lists of Students to the Three Sites - with Locations and Some Directions)

  • September 28 and October 05. Student Paper Presentations -  Updated schedules and instructions(25 students (13 on 09/28 and 12 on 10/05, 7+3 minutes each). 
  • October 05. Proposal 1 will be TEAM PROPOSAL with team members and a quad chart (template). Due Oct 05 midnight (changed to meet the CREATE proposal deadline of October 15). The proposal will follow the CREATE guidelines, which should include a specific project title and be a brief discussion of the project under the following headings: Background (the needs and state-of-the-art, the context of the problem to be solved), Problem (what you will do), Rationale (why this approach, how it is related to employment) and Design (how you are going to do it). Detailed Instructions for the CREATE Proposal can be found here. For those teams who want to go CREATE please also add a slide for itemized budget estimation (under $1000), and in the quad chart, please justify for employment of people with disabilities.

  • October 12, No Classes Scheduled
  • October 19, Team pre-proposal presentations (around 6-8 teams including all CS/CpE/EE students, 10+5 minutes each team; Oct 19 is the deadline for CREATE team proposals - 3-5 pages including a budget)

  • October 26,  Paper presentations by EE students; LECTURE ON Robotics:Sensor, Control and Locomotion - Introduction (Xiao)  
  • November 2, Robotics:Sensor, Control and Locomotion - Key techniques (Xiao) - Assignment 1 (Due Nov 9)
  • November 9, Vision: Image Enhancement and Feature Detection (Slides | Lecture Notes by Zhu) - Assignment 2 (Due Nov 16)
  • November 16, Vision: Stereo Vision and Visual Motion (Slides | Lecture Notes on Stereo and Motion by Zhu)  - Assignment 3 (Due Nov 23)

  • November 23, Class Discussions on  the Final Teams/ Proposals and Exam Coverage.
  • November 30, Final Writing Exam
  • December 7 and 14, Student Team Proposal Final Presentations (Updated Schedules and Grading Guidelines - all need to come in both class meets - we will take class attendance). External guests will be invited to provide feedback to your proposals.
  • December 08, Grading So Far (including the exam). Submissions for homework assigned have been closed.

  • December 14, 2016, Class Meet Location will be moved to Steinman Hall ST-124 (Exhibit Room), 11:00 am - 12:45 pm. Each team will have 25 minutes.

  • Dec 16, 2016. Final proposal writing  should have at least 5 pages, single spaced (Due Dec 16 midnight)Please share both your writing report and your PPT slides, both in PDF, via Google Drive, to Prof. Zhigang Zhu's gmail address (copying Prof. Jizhong Xiao). Email us as attachments if you don't use Google Drive.  In addition to enhancing the four headings (background, statement of the problem, rationale, and design with technical details), you should include new headings for information on (1) cost of your system and/or a budget, (2) a weekly or bi-weekly schedule for Spring 2017, (3)  references (citations) of papers, products, documents for your background section, and (4) individual roles of all team members.
  • December 29, 2016. Final Grading (with the Ethnics Part - 01/03/2017). Combined Final Grading will be submitted on Wednesday noon (01/04/2017).

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,  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)New York Institute of Special Education and most recently NYSID and Goodwill NY/NJ via the CREATE program. 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 multiple NSF, NYSID and VentureWell awards 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 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) Zahn Center Competitions, (2) NYSID CREATE Awards and (3) VentureWell E-TEAM Competition. The CREATE Awards will provide up to $1000 during the senior design period, and the winning teams in Zahn and E-Team will be supported to continue the effort in summer and beyond.  

Reading Materials 

Other Useful Links 

NSF EFRI-M3C Funding Support for Research

NSF GARDE Funding Support for Course Development

VentureWell Course and Development

Our 2011-2012 Capstone Team V.I.S.T.A. together with two other students in our labs won the $50000 Kaylie Prize  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

NYSID and CREATE Program
Goodwill NY/NJ

Copyright @ Zhigang Zhu,  2016-2017