CSc 59866/59867 Capstone I/II (Section CD3) Fall 2018-Spring 2019
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 2019  (Tentative) Schedule (academic calendar)
Class Meet Time & Location:    Monday 11:00AM - 01:30PM  NAC 6/214 
Office Hours: Wednesday   11:45 am - 1:45 pmRoom: NAC 8/211

  • 01/28/2019, First day of class meet.
  • 01/28/2019, Capstone 2018-2019 Wiki Page. Each individual team will need to file your logs of weekly updates - development, issues, results etc.
  • 04/04/2019. CCNY Assistive Technology Expo. This will be a Thursday and mostly will be at noon time.
  • 04/10/2019, CREATE Symposium has been scheduled for April 10 (Wednesday), 2019 and will be held at the Empire State Plaza in Albany (Meeting Room 6).
  • 04/26/2019. Course grading so far. The final grading policy is also included there.  Some of you didn't update your weekly logs very well. If you missed some please make them up and let me know so I can consider to give you some partial credits.
  • 04/29/2019. Please come to the class (NAC 6/214) or the lab (NAC 8/210) for preparing and showing your demos for the Goodwill visit next week. Some CSc212 students will come over to see your demos. Note this is required (as usual!) and will be graded. Please bring your devices to the lab or the class. I will also discuss with you on your final reports and the CpE/EE competitions.Course grading so far.
  • 05/06/2019. We will visit a Goodwill site at 2196 5th Avenue in Harlem . We will walk there together from the classroom around 11:15 am unless you cannot come to the class on time.  We shall arrive Goodwill at 11:45 am and finish the visit around 1:15 pm.
  • 05/13/2019. We will have our final presentations on May 13. We will have external experts coming to evaluating your project. Each of the 12 individual teams will do your own presentation using PPT slides and need to submit a final project report (together with your PPT presentation) of your own team, instead of the CREATE reports. Please email  both your report in PDF and your slides in pptx to by midnight May 15, 2019.
  • 05/15/2019. Wednesday May 15th will now be the last day of classes and classes will follow a Monday schedule on this date.  We will participate the CpE/EE Capstone Competition 9:00 am - 4:00 pm in the Steinman Hall Lobby. Please submit your posters to in power-point file format (Instruction | Sample 1 | Sample 2 ) to Fernando Correa <> before May 1. I recommend you go as the four CREATE super-teams (ASSIST, InterVR, Augmented Workspace, SCAN),  plus O3 Joy Music and Nuravine, since all the six teams have CpE/EE students. CREATE teams can make posters from your CREATE posters.
  • 05/24/2019. Final Grading will be submitted by the end May 27 (Monday), 2019. Have a wonderful summer!

Fall 2018  Schedule (academic calendar)
Class Meet Time & Location:    Monday 11:00AM - 01:30PM  SH 374 

Office Hours:   Thursday 2:00 - 4:00 pmRoom: NAC 8/211

  • 08/27/2018, First day of class meet. Course  Introduction and Updated Project Topic List (with 12 topics) (Prof. Z.  Zhu and Prof Xiao).  (Assignment 0 - Resumes with Project Interests. Please send your resume in PDF via email to Due Sept 03, 2018 before midnight).
  • 09/05/2018 (Wednesday). Past Project Presentations/Demos (ASSIST, VR4ASD, Panoramik - Zhu) and devices and ideas for this year's projects (Nuravine -ALex Babich; Tango, Body Cam and Oculus Rift - Greg Olmschenk/Vishnu Nair; Pre-Journey App and Holelens - Hao Tang; ARKit - Lidong Chen; ARCore - YufuQu;  Smart Cane - Xiao)
  • 09/17/2018. Human and Machine Vision by Prof. Zhu; Discussions on Capstone Team Forming.
  • 09/24/2018. Talking with Staff / Users at  Goodwill NY/NJ on ASD (Celina Cavalluzzi, Yanique Green 11:15 am-12:15pm)  and  Lighthouse Guild  on BVI (Dr. William Seiple, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm) ; Discussions on Capstone Team Forming.
  • 10/01/2018. Pre-Proposal will be a TEAM PROPOSAL with team members and a quad chart (template). Each team presents 5-10 minutes, and the final quad chart is due Oct 08 midnight . The pre-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.
  • 10/08/2018. No class. You may find the summary of the feedback for your quad chart presentation. Please use them to revised your quad chart and send it to me in PPTX format, by Oct 8. Here is the grading so far.
  • 10/15/2018. Entrepreneurship Opportunities (Zahn Center Competition by Devin Voorsanger, Co-Interim Executive Director and Managing Director, Technology Entrepreneurship, Zahn Innovation Center - City College of New York and NSF I-Corps by Arber Ruci, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, NYCRIN, CUNY Central Office of Research, 15 minutes each), and Team Proposal  initial presentations (12 teams including all CS/CpE/EE students, 5+2 minutes each team; The end of October should be the deadline for CREATE team proposal with 3-5 pages including a budget), Brainstorming of Your Projects (30 minutes). Here is the grading so far.
  • 10/22/2018. LECTURE ON Robotics:Sensor, Control and Locomotion - Introduction (Xiao); Robotics:Sensor, Control and Locomotion - Key techniques (Xiao) - Assignment 1 (Due Nov 05)  Prof Zhu will announce the four CREATE Teams during the break. Once a clearly-defined project has been decided on and approved by both the school and the member agency, each student team must draft a project proposal and submit it to NYSID no later than November 2, 2018. The proposal should include a specific project title and a brief discussion of the project including the following headings: Background, Statement of the Problem, Rationale, and Design. NYSID will review the draft and based on NYSID's feedback, the school will make any necessary changes or clarifications and will submit a final proposal to NYSID by the end of the fall semester. Each team will also submit a cost estimate to produce their project along with their proposal. NYSID will provide a pre-paid debit card to the team for that amount. If a team exceeds their estimate, they may request a second pre-paid card. The maximum amount NYSID will provide per project is $1,000.
  • 10/29/2018. Super-Team Presentations  (The Four CREATE super-teams (25 minutes each),  the Music team (10 minutes) and the Nuravine team (10 minutes) present details of the proposed work) The CREATE proposals (in docx format) are due by Oct 30, 2018 to Here is the grading so far.
  • 11/05/2018. Vision: Image Enhancement and Feature Detection (Slides | Lecture Notes by Zhu) - Assignment 2 (Due Nov 19)
  • 11/12/2018. Student Reading Presentations (Teams 1-12) (Each student team shall present your understanding on key technical tools (SDKs, platforms, existing code etc) you need to use; 5+3 minutes each)
  • 11/19/2018. Vision: Stereo Vision and Visual Motion (Slides | Lecture Notes on Stereo and Motion by Zhu)  - Assignment 3 (Due Dec 03)
  • 11/26/2018.  Class Discussions on Team Projects, Assignments, and Proposal Presentations. Here is the grading so far.
  • 12/03/2018 and 12/10/2018. Student Team Proposal Final Presentations. All need to come in both class meets (we will take class attendance). External guests may be invited to provide feedback to your proposals.
  • 12/21/2018. Final Grading for Fall 2019. The grades will be submitted on Dec 25, 2018.

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,  2018-2019