ECE Poster Day: Showcasing Our Innovative Engineering Graduates

April 14, 2014
by Robin Yee, Engineering Outreach

Have you ever wished for an easier way to navigate the 50+ buildings on campus? Well, now there’s an app for that!

Thanks to the hard work of our Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students, that mobile app, along with automotive safety systems, remote 3D-vision goggles, and wearable electronic devices have come to life. These were just a handful of the 40 exciting projects featured at the ECE Poster Day on Tuesday, April 8 in the student centre’s CIBC Hall.

For a group of nearly 150 final-year engineering students, ECE Poster Day represents an opportunity to showcase software, prototyping, and problem-solving skills that they have refined over the last seven months. The projects are the focus of their capstone course; however the work is a highly independent effort after the initial idea proposal and selection. “If they run into some problems, then we will work with them,” Dr. Xun Li, capstone course supervisor and mentor, explained. “Other than that, they work on their own.”

One team spent the academic year building a translation system to identify American Sign Language (ASL) characters using a video feed that recognizes hand shapes. Current technologies typically analyze an image of the hand then match it to a reference image from a database. By using differently coloured caps on the fingers to produce more easily identifiable combinations, the team was able to significantly decrease the sign-to-text time.

“Comparing an image to another image takes a lot of computing power, and is more time-consuming – about 30 to 40 seconds compared to just 1 to 2 seconds for a colour key,” undergraduate student Sinthujan Rajendram explained.

Despite the challenges groups faced during the development of their prototypes, many students described how satisfying it was to build a fully functional system. Other projects on display included:

  • An automotive system that detects cars approaching in a vehicle’s blind spot and vibrates to alert the driver;
  • A 3D-vision system that provides a more immersive visual experience and could have applications in remote site inspection, surgery, or video conferencing; and
  • A wireless headset that monitors brain waves and could be used to prevent driver’s fatigue.


An ASL video-to-text translation system

Blind spot detection and warning system

Remote 3D-vision system

“These projects let us use all the skills we learned over the last four years,” Rajendram said. “And, at the end of the day, we are optimistic that someone may be helped by our innovations some day.”

The ECE Poster Day was sponsored by Husky Canada, Texas Instruments, BlackBerry, Hatch, General Motors, and McMaster Engineering Co-op and Career Services. More coverage at: The Hamilton Spectator » and CHCH News »