Improve How We Do Things

2023 Capstone Design & Innovation Day

Project AI-23: Smart home retrofit utility sensor

This team will not have a booth at the Design & Innovation Day due to confidentiality agreements.

Project Client: CabinPals

Project Description: An easy, low-cost way for consumers to automate the tracking of home utility usage. The product, which is battery operated, can be attached to existing electrical, water, and gas meters without professional installation. The system uses a camera to capture the utility meter display and reads the digits using an optical character recognition (OCR) algorithm.

Project CG-49: Cost-Effective Control System and GUI for Portable All-in-one Automated Microfluidics

Project Client: UBC SoC Lab and BioMEMS Lab

Project Description: By providing a cost-effective pressure regulation device and a user-friendly GUI for use in microfluidics research and development, researchers and engineers can accelerate their innovations.

Group members: Catherina Liu ; Hubert Shim ; Paul Wang ; Wenhao Xu ; Jack Ye

Project CG-65: Cost-Effective Automated Testing System based on Modified 3D Printer for Optimizing Assistive Switch Designs

Project Client: Neil Squire

Project Description: Neil Squire is a non-profit that uses technology, knowledge, and passion to empower Canadians with disabilities. Many assistive technology tools are still costly. The Makers Making Change program hosts an open-source library of assistive technology designs and collaborates with volunteer developers to give more people with disabilities access to the tools they need. Our project is to create an affordable, accurate and open-source testing system that will help Neil Squire’s staff and developers to characterize and optimize existing and new designs of assistive switches to provide the best experience for end-users. 

The technical objective of the testing system is to accurately measure the actuation force and actuation distance at given points on the button. The user only needs to interact with our software, while the rest of the testing is automatic. 

The major components of this project include:

  • a 3D-printer, used to maneuver in 3D-space with precision and read coordinates
  • a load cell (force sensor), used to measure the applied force at a given time
  • a customized PCB, used to detect button activation and amplify signals
  • an ESP32 microcontroller, used to communicate between software and hardware
  • a GUI, used to communicate between software and hardware, as well as to process, format, and display data

Calibrating the load cell is a challenging step in ensuring the accuracy of our measurements. This process involves applying known forces to the load cell and comparing the expected and actual values. A PCB circuit is then designed to amplify signals from the load cell and send the force readings to the software with the help of an ESP32 microcontroller. 

Our user-friendly UI communicates with the microcontroller and 3D printer to analyze data from both the force sensor and the 3D printer. The UI is equipped with a data processing function that would generate live readings and heatmap based on the activation signal received. Designing the UI from the ground up is a complex problem as it uses Object Oriented Programming (OOP) language to send C-code commands and extract data from the 3D printer.  

Overall, our cost-effective testing system reduces the cost for Neil Squire’s staff to install a testing machine to test their assistive switches. This project is produced as an open-source project, which enables the staff and other developers to build, use and improve the testing system. 

Contact Information:   

Project HA-33: Battery Monitoring System for Small Drones

Project Client: University of Victoria Centre for Aerospace Research

Project Description: Our client, the University of Victoria Centre for Aerospace Research (UVic CfAR) designs battery-powered drones. Currently, UVic CfAR determines aircraft battery capacity through voltage monitoring before and after flight. This method is incapable of providing the pilot with in-flight feedback and requires a large safety factor to ensure that the battery is not depleted. They have requested the development of a battery monitor system (BMS) to provide real-time monitoring of battery health parameters for a small drone. A BMS will allow the pilot to optimize flight times, determine available fuel, and detect failures during flight. 

We have successfully developed a BMS that provides accurate, real-time feedback of battery voltage, current, temperature, state of charge, and health status. It is compatible with our client’s aircraft infrastructure and flight controller, allowing for ease of integration. 

Contact Information: Julia Colasurdo: 604-839-8719 ; Debby Lin: : 236-777-7752 ; Ryan Meshulam:, 604-722-7243, 650-937-9261

Project JY-05: 6-DOF Robotic Arm

Project Client: Synovus Solutions

Project Description: Our capstone project aims to create a solution that enables users to effortlessly and precisely control a six-degree-of-freedom robotic arm along a designated path with smooth and accurate movements. To achieve this, we address technical challenges such as path planning and inverse kinematics. Path planning ensures a smooth transition in the position and orientation between two path points, while inverse kinematics calculates the joint angles required for the robotic arm to reach the desired position and orientation. Our solution offers precise control of the end effector’s position and orientation at each inputted path point, with the added safety module that stops the robot if it deviates too much from the inputted path. Our solution provides a reliable and efficient way to control robotic arm movements with ease, making it a suitable solution for automated testing equipment.

Contact information: ; ; ; ;

Project JY-16: Wearable Device for Automated Cardiac Arrest Detection

Project Client: Canadians Saving Cardiac Arrest Victims Everywhere (CANSAVE)

Project Description: Purpose of your project: Create a wearable device that monitors the motion and pulse oximetry data of the user and saves it on the onboard SD card. If anything goes wrong, it will automatically send alerts via Bluetooth and saves lives from cardiac arrest. 

We designed our own wearable device from scratch. The circuits, components, chips, and PCB layouts are all original designs. Furthermore, as we were making a wearable device, we spent a lot of time researching and selecting the most energy-efficient design.

Contact Information: Harsh Rajoria: ; Hanxiao Wei:

Project JY-82: Active Compression Stockings

This team will not have a booth at the Design & Innovation Day due to confidentiality agreements.

Project Client: UBC – Molecular Mechatronics Lab

Project Description: We have worked with the Molecular Mechatronics lab to develop active compression stockings to treat Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS). PTS is a condition caused by chronic venous insufficiency, typically in the lower leg. Using nylon actuator technology in an active textile, we have designed a prototype controlled by a negative feedback loop that generates adequate compression pressures for the treatment of PTS. We designed models emulating a human calf to test the pressure generation capabilities of the active textile.

Our major design contributions include developing a textile that can be combined with electronics to create an active stocking. In addition, we developed two calf models for our project and for future research conducted by the Molecular Mechatronics lab: one is air-tight and filled with fluid, while the other is made of TC-5005 polymer. We measure the pressure generated by the active textile using pressure sensors. 

Contact Information: Tony Huang: ; Jacinta Li: ; Adriana Cowan: ; Magan Chang:

Project PN-14: High Resolution Imaging of Earth Orbiting Satellites

This team will not have a booth at the Design & Innovation Day due to confidentiality agreements.

Project Client: MDA

Project Description: ETHOS is a ground based optical tracking system that uses entirely off the shelf components and open source software to provide a pipeline from finding and capturing videos of satellites, to enhancing them using a combination of techniques including deep learning powered upscaling, allowing observers to better interpret what they are seeing.

Project PN-44: Efficient HW Implementation of Super Resolution DNN for real time video scaling

Project Client: NETINT Technologies

Project Description: Our project was involved around the ability to produce an upscaled super resolution algorithm for images and video that was hardware implementable. That is to say, a way to create high quality images and videos from lower quality ones, with code that could be made into hardware.

While super resolution code exists in software, such processes are very intensive on currently available processing units. By migrating these codes to hardware, this would allow for lower processing costs while maintaining or improving the video quality.

Through our project, the difficulty in translating existing code to hardware amenable, a problem made difficult due to an overall lack in existing tools, was overcome and resulted in excellent quality super resolution images by project end.

The ability to be able to produce a super resolution image given a low resolution image is important for many stakeholders such as server providers, low budget streamers, low budget gamers and for the environment.