Microprocessor System Design Students Demo Final Projects

Students expressed creativity and ingenuity in the design of practical, microcontroller-based embedded systems for their final course projects

IRL Color-Picker ToolIRL Color-Picker Tool
Dance TeacherDance Teacher
Microbit GuitarMicrobit Guitar
Heads UpHeads Up
IMU Robot Arm and EMG GripperIMU Robot Arm and EMG Gripper
Smart BikeSmart Bike

Integrating processors, sensors, and data exchange functionality into everyday objects, the Internet of Things (IoT) pushes computing capabilities far beyond desktops and servers.

Branden GhenaOn December 6, students in the COMP_ENG 346: Microprocessor System Design course led by Northwestern Engineering’s Branden Ghena presented a hands-on, public demonstration of their microcontroller-based embedded systems.

For the course’s final project, teams designed, built, and programmed open-ended hardware/software systems utilizing microcontrollers that feature a processor, memory, and peripherals within a single chip. Students embedded the microcontrollers into circuit boards alongside sensors, batteries, and interfaces to create IoT inventions.

The course draws students earning undergraduate and master’s degrees who are pursuing fields including computer science, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and robotics.

“I am intensely proud of my students,” said Ghena, assistant professor of instruction at the McCormick School of Engineering. “When given an opportunity to make something awesome, they come through on the challenge.”

Basketball Arcade Game (l) and Guitar Hero (r)

Students were required to incorporate at least two sensors and one output to meet the technical parameters of the final project. Beyond that, the 20 teams of students were free to express their creativity and ingenuity through a variety of system designs, including smart objects, wearables, games, and audio generation and production tools.

Teams and projects demonstrated during the event were:

  • Band Hand: Jackie Ellenberg, Scott Ledyard
  • Basketball Arcade Game: Oh Juin, Tergel Myanganbayar, Hunter Zhang, Richard Zimring
  • Color Guided Robot: Tristen Allgaier, Jacob Marcus, Eddie Rivera
  • Dance Teacher: Ariana Ferguson, Isaac Kim, Andre Tsai
  • EMG Gripper: David Dorf, Katie Hughes, James Oubre
  • Game Controller: Dimitri Hatzisavas, Timothy Sinaga
  • Guitar Hero: Daniel Francis, Aidan Macaluso
  • Heads Up: John Sanchez, Emily Wang, Nicole Wojcik
  • IMU Robot Arm: Felipe Jannarone, Nick Morales, Hang Yin
  • IRL Color-Picker Tool: Claire Lu, George Mousa, Jurgen Tisza
  • LED Music Visualizer: Megan Hwang, Alex Kang, Kayleigh Peng
  • Microbit Guitar: Trey Labak, Julio Villanueva
  • Music Production Controller: Kinsey Ho, Richard Jo, James Liu
  • Plant Monitor: Elena Fabian, Ben Geduld, Prachi Patil, Alex Saavedra
  • Proximity-Activated LEDs: Jackson Miller, Quinton Nickum
  • Smart Bike: Jackson Bremen, Sengdao Inthavong, Evan Waite
  • Smart Doorbell: Rohil Bahl, Justin Cooper, Santi Roches, Louie Shapiro
  • Snake Game: Katrina Baniak, Ali Levin, Alison Park
  • Spaceteam: Joseph Grantham, Rishita Jain, Keene Lu
  • Ultimate Graduation Cap: Shalom Alarape, Maximilian Nijkerk

Spaceteam (l) and Ultimate Graduation Cap (r)

Through lectures, practical lab sessions, and the final project, COMP_ENG 346 students explore topics including microcontrollers, embedded software, digital and analog input and output, timers, wired communication protocols, and basic wireless communication. Students experiment primarily with the Micro:bit v2 platform using the C programming language.

McCormick News Article