Students display their understanding of software development and hardware skills acquired in class
Every semester, during the last week of classes, there is the usual feverish studying for finals week, and turning in the last of the assignments. But amidst this frenzy there is also a quiet excitement tinged with pride that is radiated by the EE 1301 class, as they prepare for the Internet of Things showcase.
The showcase is a culmination of the semester-long four credit course EE 1301: Introduction to Computing Systems. The course introduces students to programming in general, and specifically using C/C++, emphasizing applications in microcontrollers, physical computing, and the Internet of Things (the Internet of Things is where the world of analog, of devices, appliances, vehicles, tools, are connected to the Internet, and can be controlled or activated remotely by devices such as a laptop or smartphone). While students engage in some intensive conceptual learning in the class, the strong hands-on, practical component of the class is what excites them most. In keeping with that, the final deliverable for EE 1301 is an open-ended student-directed group project, which the groups publicly display at the ECE IoT Showcase.
Some of the projects students have created include an internet Connect 4 game with an LED display, a sign language interpreting glove, LED-matrix Breakout game, an elder-care monitoring system, and a pet cooling blanket.
Besides the core concepts, by the end of the semester, students have also developed some transferable skills such as developing and pitching a project concept, working in teams, and debugging combined hardware and software problems.
Given the conceptual and experiential nature of the course, not surprisingly, student feedback on the course has been positive. They are eager to take ownership of their ideas, see it to fulfillment, and proudly exhibit it at the showcase at the semester’s end. ECE faculty such as Kia Bazargan, David Lilja, David Orser, and John Sartori who teach the class, view the driving force of the course to be the opportunity for students to use their creativity and personal interests to develop a new and exciting project concept. They then use the hardware and software development skills learned in class to build something entirely new.
One of Prof. Sartori’s students, referring to a job he landed based on his EE 1301 project, had this to say about the course: I would not have gotten interested in IoT or machine learning, started MKono (the hobby project you encouraged me to start), or known about IoTHackDay. I have you to thank for this job.
The IoT showcase is held during the last week of classes, every fall and spring semester, on the third floor atrium of Keller Hall. Stop by and check our students’ work; the showcase is free and open to the public.
Interested in finding what our students in advanced classes build? Here are some examples of projects undertaken by students of EE 2361