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21 Feb 2017, 10:56

EIE Microcontroller Application Design Contest (2016 – 17)

 The “EIE Microcontroller Application Design Contest (2016 – 17)” is organized by the Department of Electronic and Information Engineering (EIE), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and sponsored by RS components Ltd and EGG Technology Ltd. The contest aims to promote EIE students’ interest in microcontroller-based electronic product design and to provide a platform for EIE students to exercise their creativity and innovation through teamwork. The contest consists of two phases. In Phase I, each team with at most three members was required to submit a proposal to describe the design and implementation of its products. Before the deadline (i.e., 30 December 2016), RS Components Ltd. organized a brainstorming session for all students to share their ideas and RS Components Ltd. gave them comments. Phase I was completed on 30 December 2016 with many proposals received. Nine teams were shortlisted for Phase II. In Phase II, shortlisted teams received financial support and technical advice/support from the EIE Department and RS Components Ltd. All teams had around eight weeks to produce their products based on their proposals.

On 10 March 2017, they will deliver a 15-minute presentation to describe and demonstrate the features of their final products with a 5-minute Q & A session right after. A panel of judges will be formed by the EIE Department, RS Components Ltd and another sponsor EGG Technology Ltd.

The information of each team in Phase II is listed below: 

Title: Air Cleaner Controller

A controller is designed to measure the air quality and release chemical substances if the air quality is not good (see Figure 1-1). It has two parts: one is a hardware box. It has a set of sensors to detect temperature, humidity, formaldehyde and PM 2.5 in the air. A LCD is installed to display such information. The information will also be sent to a PC server (i.e., the second part: software part) through Bluetooth. A mobile can access the information through a web browser. Moreover, the mobile can send a command to the hardware box through a PC server to release some chemical substances if the air quality is not good (see Figure 1-2.)

Figure 1-1: Prototype

Figure 1-2: Block diagram

Title: Tracking Watch

Hiking is popular in Hong Kong and it is important to find an appropriate way to go back when get lost. Now some mobile apps use GPS signals to solve this problem but sometimes they may not access GPS signals when hiking. This project aims to design a hardware device to solve this problem without using GPS signals. The device can record the path when hiking and It shows how to go back if any (see Figure 2-1). It saves the change of accelerators and the compass in a mobile, and counts the travelling path (see Figure 2-2).

Figure 2-1: Prototype

Figure 2-2: Block diagram

Title: Virtual Paper

Many drawing systems are developed by different manufacturers but they all reply on drawing pens and users must draw on top of some specified surfaces. This project aims to develop a drawing system so that no specified pens and surfaces are required. Users can simply draw by their fingers on a general surface and a mobile phone or a PC can record the drawing easily (see Figure 3-1). The drawing system uses Infra-Red (IR) rays to locate a finger and then uses a camera with an IR filter to locate the position of the finger (see Figure 3-2).

Figure 3-1: Prototype


Figure 3-2: Block diagram

Title: Parking+

Current parking system can just tell where you can find an available parking space but it cannot tell which parking location is the best for you to go to your destination (e.g., cinema, supermarket). Moreover, some parking lots can find your car through your Octopus card only. It does not work if you use a credit card or get a ticket from the entrance. Finally, users do not know if it is close to next parking hour. This project aims to design a smart parking system (see Figure 4-1). It can select the best parking location for you. Moreover, it can locate your car through your car key. Finally, it will give you an alert through a mobile app if it is close to next parking hour for cost saving. It uses sensors and microcontroller to locate a car, and a PC server with a mobile app to provide information to users (see Figure 4-2 and 4-3).

Figure 4-1: Prototype

Figure 4-2: Block diagram

Figure 4-3: Mobile app design

Title: Ultimate BBQ Helper

BBQ is a very popular activity in Hong Kong. However, for beginners, it is difficult to identify BBQ food is fully cooked or not. This project aims to develop a BBQ helper for beginners to identify the progress of cooking BBQ food (see Figure 5-1). The temperature of BBQ food and the fire around the BBQ food are measured by some sensors and then the system takes some calculations to determine whether the BBQ food is fully cooked or not (see Figure 5-2).

Figure 5-1: Prototype


Figure 5-2: Block diagram


Title: MyFeeder

Pets are popular in Hong Kong but most of their owners may not have enough time to take care of them. This project aims to develop a feeding system for pets. The feeder with a LED display can periodically show some food for pets and let the owner know through the music played by a speaker if the food inside is going to be empty (see Figure 6-1). The feeding system is controlled by a microcontroller and the period of time is counted by a real time clock.

Figure 6-1: Prototype

Title: Toiletries Manager

This project aims to manage the usage of the bathroom inventory. It has some sensors to monitor the usage. If something is going to be used up, the system sends a notification through a mobile app to users and ask them to refill (see Figure 7-1).

Figure 7-1: Block diagram

Title: China Wizard Chess

This project aims to develop a China Chess system which is controlled by voice-commands (see Figure 8-1). Moreover, the movement of chesses are processed automatically by using magnets and servos with a microcontroller (see Figure 8-2 to 8-5).


Figure 8-1: Block diagram

Figure 8-2: Flow chart

Figure 8-3: Chess platform (overview view)

Figure 8-4: Chess platform (side view)

Figure 8-5: Chess platform (another side view)

Title: Smart Plant Watering System

A lot of people have plants at home but sometimes they forget to water them or take care of them when travelling. This project aims to design a system to water your plants automatically. The block diagram is shown in Figure 9-1. Some sensors monitor the soil moisture, the room temperature and the water level under the soil. The system can report the current status of a plant and water it when some conditions are met (e.g., the soil moisture level is lower than 50%). Moreover, users can know the status of the plant and remotely water the plant through mobile.

Figure 9-1: Block diagram

Organizer "Microcontroller Application Design Contest (2016-17)" Department of Electronic and Information Engineering The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

21 Feb 2017, 10:56