CSc 59866/59867 Capstone I/II (Section CD3) Fall 2017-Spring 2018
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 2018  Schedule (academic calendar)
Class Meet Time & Location:    Wednesday 11:30AM - 01:30PM  NAC 8/210 
  • January 31, First day of class meet.

Fall 2017  Schedule (academic calendar)
Class Meet Time & Location:    M/W 12:30PM - 01:45PM  NAC 8/210 
  • August 28, First day of class meet.

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 materials on basic technologies in sensors, actuators, robotic navigation, vision algorithms, and assistive technologies by the instructors. The general materials will introduce important aspects of a business plan such as project management, intellectual property (IP), entrepreneurship. 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 

Professor Zhigang Zhu's Visual Computing Laboratory

Professor John (Jizhong) Xiao's Robotics Laboratory

NYSID and CREATE Program
Goodwill NY/NJ

Copyright @ Zhigang Zhu,  2017-2018