Help:Capstone Design

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Finale for a halftime performance

(photo courtesy of Meredith Metsker)

Team Name The Band-Beesten Experience
Duration Summer - Fall 2013
Faculty Advisers
  • Rory Lilley
  • Theo White
  • Jack Housely
  • Nadine Morasci
  • Scott Blee

CSC rear drive is a project to modify the drive system of a Ski-Doo Snowmobile currently used by the University of Idaho Clean Snowmobile Challenge Project. The goal of this project is to relocate the drive axle and wheels from the front end of the snowmobile track to the back end of the snowmobile track. It is believed that this configuration will increase efficiency and power output of the snowmobile; a portion of this project will be dedicated to testing the veracity of this hypothesis. This project is generously sponsored by the National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) at the University of Idaho through the CSC team. Our design work resulted in fuel saving of 3% while reducing the overall weight by 5 lbs.

Page/Project Summary

This section should give the user a very brief overview of the page which engages the reader and leaves them with a clear understanding of the purpose of the page.


  • short description of the design task with mention of the mentor
  • brief description of motivation.
  • what was completed by the team


Copy the code and read all about how to use here: Standard:Infobox. Please remember, the Infobox should be the first lines of code to format properly.


  • photo should be of final design/build
  • photo should be 4:3, no exceptions
  • following fields at a minimum
    • Sponsors
    • Team Name
    • Duration
    • Faculty Advisors
    • Team members
  • optional fields
    • mentor (like a grad student)
    • list of past teams
    • Significant/interest specs that
      • add to reader first glance understanding
      • comparable specs that repeat from year to year
  • All sponsors should be linked to their website
  • All faculty should be linked to their UI webpage

Design Task[edit source]

There are approximately 34,000 transtibial amputations performed each year in the United States. The causes of these amputations range from infection to tumors with the most prevalent causes being diabetes and severe traumatic injury. Patients with transtibial amputations that wish to use a prosthetic leg must wear a prosthetic liner that protects their skin from the rough prosthetic leg materials and helps suspend their leg in the prosthetic. Prosthetic liners can be difficult to don, especially for patients with limitations in flexibility, hand dexterity, or vision. Our goal is to create a donning system that will overcome many of these difficulties by ensuring that the liner sits flush against the limb,properly aligns the pin into the prosthetic, and enables those with low hand dexterity, vision, or flexibility to don their liner independently.

This purpose of this section is to provide necessary background information, information about the mentor, project description, and project goals. If there is a lot of background information because of past design teams this may be included in a subsection titled Background


  • necessary background information to explain to a fellow engineer from another discipline
  • information on mentor - how do they fit into the picture
  • mentor's motivation for this project
  • defined design task
  • brief overview of design goals (may be a sub section as shown below)

Our major project goals are:[edit source]

  • Comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Work with commercial liners/prosthetic components
  • Accommodate the majority of patients
  • Reduce strain for the patient
  • Require little to no hand strength or dexterity
  • Aid inflexible individuals
  • Properly align the pin
  • Allow independent donning

Detailed Specifications[edit source]

Grip Module

  1. Sense full grip 1-2° (individual fingers not necessary)
  2. Inorporate vibration feedback when full grip is complete
  3. Help individuals complete tasks when necessary

Wrist Rotation Module

  1. Allow rotation of ±90°ideally (minimum ±60°)
  2. Help individuals complete tasks when necessary

Arm Elevation Module (Lift Module)

  1. Allow 4” of arm lift without lifting the device (2” minimum)

Other Modify GUI to show output from modules and display them in a useful manner for the future development of games.

This purpose of this section is to provide detailed specs on your project. There are many ways to do this, if you use a list like above, make sure to provide enough contrast and logical breakdown to make it easy to read, a great way to do this is bold titles. Use of a table is also another great way, see 2 examples below.


  • logical structure
  • easy to read
  • clear and concise
  • specific target values
  • may include acceptable and target if applicable
General Requirement Specific Requirement Target Values
Portable The application should be resilient across a variety of devices. The application should be compatible with any device with a web browser.
Accessibility The application should be resilient across modern web browsers. The application should be fully compatible with the current versions of the following browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari.
Speed The application should respond to user input in a minimal amount of time. The period from a user input to application output should be no more than three seconds under standard internet connectivity.
Ease of Use The application should have a user interface which is easily understood and operated. The user should be able to make use of full functionality without the presence of a help page (though it may still be available).
Stability The application should not crash under normal use. No crashes. In the event that a problem occurs, the user should be given an appropriate error message.
Security User information should be secure within the application. User information should be kept private. Proper authentication will be required to make a change to account settings.
Validity The application should only display valid note fingerings. Only fingerings approved by a site administrator will be made public to all users.
Engineering Specification Targets
Specific Requirements Description Acceptable Target
Build Prototype Structure Build a prototype structure that has a payload and sensors to acquire stress in each component and acceleration of the payload 5kg payload at 10 meter drop > 5kg payload and > 10 meter drop
Stress data A major goal is to drop test this tensegrity structure and be able to acquire stress data for each strut and cable Record stress from 1/2 members at 10 samples per second Record stress from all members at 100 samples per second, and provide method for vizualization
Payload Acceleration A payload on the tensegrity structure will experience a rapid acceleration upon impact from drop tests. impact acceleration < 25 Gs impact acceleration for 5 kg payload at 10 meter drop height < 25 Gs
Manipulation of Orientation By manipulating how the tensegrity structure falls we can change how the structure falls Be able to control the drop of the structure to manipulate how it lands Be able to control the structure so that it lands in the best possibly orientation every drop
Weight to Payload Ratio Good engineering structure designs in the aerospace industry will weigh less than the payload they can carry by some ratio structure weight < payload weight payload to structure weight ratio of 2.33 to 1
Videos of Drop Tests When preforming drop tests we will be taking videos of each test to get a visual of impact Have multiple videos of drop tests to present to NASA Have slow motion videos that show impact deformation and components failing catastrophically
Acquire Data Need to get as much data as possible from the tensegrity structure regarding stress in each member or string and acceleration of payload Acquire enough data to have a significant impact on the understanding of tensegrity structures and how they work Acquire enough data to prove out a mathematical model of tensegrity structure with 75kg payload

Project Learning[edit source]

Background Research[edit source]

Geothermal heat pumps are great alternatives for heating systems in many cases. Although they have high initial costs, they are able to operate with efficiencies in excess of one hundred percent. This generally allows for a 5-10 year payback period. Heat pumps can also work in reverse, which means that during the summer months, they can be used for cooling. They work by taking advantage of the grounds' relatively constant temperature, which is the winter, is warmer than the outside air, and in the summer is colder than the outside air. This is a fairly sustainable resource, and requires only a fraction of the energy costs of traditional systems.

Variations[edit source]

Advantages and disadvantages of geothermal heat pump variations
Type Advantages Disadvantages
Closed loop-Horizontal
  • Generally most cost-effective
  • Differing piping layouts can reduce costs and space required
  • Needs larger areas of land space
  • Common layouts requires at least 4 foot deep trenches
Closed loop-Vertical
  • Doesn't require large areas
  • Minimizes environmental disturbances
  • Used in situations where soil is too shallow for trenching
  • Very high cost
  • Need to drill holes 100-400 feet deep
Closed loop-Pond/Lake
  • Lowest cost option for geothermal systems
  • Quick installation
  • Must have a sufficient water source to be viable
Open loop
  • Fairly cheap option comparatively
  • Doesn't require large land area
  • Requires adequate supply of clean water
  • Must meet rules and regulations for groundwater discharge

Initial Interviews[edit source]

Interview with Sue Tacke[edit source]

  • Price range:
    • Less than a million. There will be nonmonetary benefits. Environmental preferable.
  • Heating costs:
    • $75000/year
    • Current system: Radiator’s preferred over air-blown heaters.
  • Client expectations:
    • Develop options for an infrastructure for the radiator’s.
    • First estimate was 1.2 million dollars
    • Preferable that the current distribution system is the same
    • What are the alternatives to coal including electricity, geothermal, etc.?
    • Solar would be an option for running the geothermal system.
  • Initial information
    • Square footage of the main building: 55000 sq ft for annex and main building
    • Boiler: 75-80% efficiency
    • Typically use one boiler at a time unless it is really cold. Currently satisfactory.
    • In 2011, a ME and HVAC vendor looked at the building and seeing if geothermal was an option. The system specs came in at $700,000.
    • Steam radiators are only in the chapel.

This section is used to summarize relevant research that necessary on your topic. It should lead into Concept Development (the concepts evaluated should be based off this information).


  • include summary of different technology reviewed (a pro/con table can work well here)
  • interviews with client or specialists
  • evaluations of preliminary experiments
    • specifically, how did they add to your understanding
  • do not include commonplace knowledge
  • see example above and below
Encrypted Data Storage:
  • Current Android implementation: All or nothing view towards encryption
  • Includes application, data, downloads, etc.
  • Integrated Cloud Storage:
  • Implemented in such a way as to require minimum user setup and interaction
  • Perhaps only require that a cloud account be verified
  • With this built in to the OS the user will gain additional privacy and security at a minimal cost
  • Encryption:
  • Will require a kernel level function to encrypt/decrypt on the fly
  • Redirects sensitive data through system call
  • Eventually allow for storing locally or to the cloud
Remote Service Log Retrieval:
  • Uses a Linux style daemon
  • Port knocking procedure used to access a device
  • Generates a key after each successful login so the device remains secure
Mandatory Access Controls (MAC):
  • AOSP contains the core SELinux MAC
  • Optional Middleware MAC functionality will be included
  • All requests are denied unless explicitly allowed
  • There are currently five types of MMAC to be included:
  • Install MMAC: Determines if an app may be installed or updated
  • Intent MMAC: Checks an app’s intents as they are delivered
  • Content Provider: Controls access to structured sets of data
  • Permission Revocation: Checks app permissions during runtime
  • Enterprise Operations (EOps): Checks app permissions during runtime
  • About App Ops:
  • App that allows policy permission management
  • Hidden release for Android 4.3 and 4.4
  • Less verbose with the access controls it employs

Concept Development[edit source]

Solar Power[edit source]

The Barn’s roof area was calculated to be around 180 square meters, which is enough space to hold up to 100 solar panels and produce approximately 50 kWh per day. According to, the size of the solar system required to produce 50 kWh per day in Cascade, Idaho ranges between 10.58 kW and 15.88 kW and takes up around 130 square meters of roof space. When built, the roof was designed for future mounting of solar panels. As a result, the roof has been oriented towards the South and is built to hold the weight of solar panels. It is oriented at a 35 degree angle which is the optimal angle for optimized year round power production at the geographic location.

Hydro Power[edit source]

Horsethief Reservoir Spillway

The spillway, located on the southeast edge of Horsethief Reservoir, was measured for both flow and head during a visit to the reservoir. We found that the spillway has 30 feet of head and has a flow of ~1100 gallons-per-minute.

Wind Power[edit source]

Based on models collected from various wind power companies, it is believed that wind may be lacking in the area. However, a wind turbine would serve as an excellent educational tool for camp participants. By using a small wind turbine for demonstration, the option of teaching how wind energy is harnessed and even why it might not be a viable option at the camp would be largely beneficial.

Opportunities for teaching camp participants about wind energy include but are not limited to the following:

  • Demonstration of conversions between potential, kinetic, and electrical energy
  • Real time data display of power generation
  • How wind turbines function
  • Discuss why the area is not a viable option for wind generation (economically)

Geothermal[edit source]

Geothermal Diagram

As a result of the hot water spot found when drilling in 2006, a geothermal well near The Barn (if required) can serve as a local resource to aid in producing hot water during peak hours when the kitchen and showers are in use.

Biomass[edit source]

Biomass is one of the abundant resources available to the YMCA camp. The 400-acre camp is constantly maintaining its forests and collecting a large amount of tree trimmings. These trimmings can be used as a source of fuel with a biomass gasifier.

While using biomass to generate electricity is a very viable option, using it to heat water instead will address some major problems relevant to the building’s load profile and lower the camp’s demand charges. These heaters are tank-less and consume large amount of electricity during shower-hours at specific day times. This is a prominent cause of the high demand charges of the building.

Terrain Model[edit source]

Due to insufficient funding, the ideas presented were not able to be installed this year. However, in order to demonstrate the validity of this system, a micro-scale model was designed. This design is an educational tool that can be used to reach out to children participating in the YMCA camp. It provides both visual and hand’s on components that exhibit functionality for hydro, solar, and wind generation.

Terrain Model
Excel Interface

To begin, a rough, approximate terrain was constructed out of fiber glass. The terrain was modeled based off of a topographical map and was then made to look like the environment surrounding the YMCA camp. This provides an “overhead” view of the region

The tools installed on the terrain model are used to provide insight on several of the power generation ideas presented. A solar panel was mounted onto the terrain model in order to demonstrate the idea of harnessing the sun’s natural energy. Even though wind power was not dependable for generation, a small turbine was installed onto the terrain model for demonstration. A water tower was also installed to demonstrate how power is generated through hydro. The geothermal and biofuels were not installed on the model as it would be difficult to safely operate such components and the “hands on” experience would be dissolved. These three components are then integrated together to an Arduino micro-controller providing digital display of power data from both solar and wind generation. The system also used a hydro sensor to display changes in water levels which is then interpreted to increasing or decreasing power generation. All data is easily displayed in Microsoft Excel. Another visual tool that was added consists of several LED displays. Based on certain amounts of power generation, the LEDs light up accordingly. The goal of this is to use the power generated by these renewable sources and show students some of the advantages and disadvantages of these technologies.

This section will document any work which contributes to the final design. This will include prioritizing design functionalities using a design matrix, preliminary testing of concepts, design/testing of prototypes. The below is only an example, the order/completeness may of course be modified as needed.

Consider including an initial system diagram (could be a sketch) which shows initial organization/understanding of subsystems.

The Concept Development section should capture the various systems/solutions explored, the characteristics of each, and how they were evaluated to choose the final design.


  • provide a logical breakdown
    • Some teams will do this by subsystems
  • some form of a design matrix should be present
  • any required testing which leads to your final concept should be included here
    • may be done inline with each concept, or under a separate section

Design matrix[edit source]

Table of Frames . . . . . . . . . . Score 1 - 5 . . . . . . . . . . 5 = Best
Condition (right)

Shape (below)

Strength Manuf. Appear. Combine. Drum Arrange. Step Range Harness Attach. Total
5 5 3 5 5 3 5 31
3 4 3 2 4 4 4 24
3 2 5 1 3 5 2 21
4 3 5 3 4 4 3 26
4 5 4 5 5 5 5 33

Final Design[edit source]

Name of Concept/Design

Full Model
With two robots

The three piece design has one main piece and two side pieces. The main piece is larger and holds the robot as well as the electronic equipment below the robot platform. The two side pieces hang on opposite sides of the central piece. The sides are attached as shown with the bolt holding it.As with other designs the doors are wire mesh with polycarbonate sides for viewing.The design is simple and uses fewer parts. Fewer parts make disassembling and regular maintenance easy.

This section should capture the end state of your project in a detailed manner.


  • What does it look like
    • picture
    • render
    • system diagram
  • what are the final specs
    • speed
    • weight
    • cost
    • efficiency
    • battery life, etc.
  • what information is needed to reproduce it
    • drawings
    • important code
    • etc.

Design Specs.[edit source]

Quadcopter Design[edit source]

  • Frame - Turnigy Talon V2
  • Motors - NX-4008 620kv
  • ESCs - Turnigy Plush 40amp
  • Servo Wire - Flat 26AWG
  • Flight Controller - DJI Naza
  • Battery - Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 30C
  • Battery Charger - Duratrax Onyx 245
  • Propellors - APC 10x4.7 SF
  • CR Propellors - APC 10x4.7 SFP Pusher
  • Low Voltage Alarm - On Board Lipoly
  • Battery Connectors - Traxxas Style Male & Female
  • Battery Wire Shrink Wrap
  • Servo Wire Shrink Wrap
  • Bullet Connectors
Arm Design[edit source]
  • Lattice Work Structure - Plastic C-Tubing
  • Lattice Work Connectors - Nuts, bolts, washers
  • Extender Motor - Linear Stepper Motor
  • Cuttng Motor - Linear Stepper Motor
  • Shears - Cut and Hold Garden Shears

Software Design[edit source]

  • Camera - 2 Wireless Cameras, attached to copter and arm
  • Screen - Windows 7 Laptop with USB Ports

Evaluation[edit source]

This section should capture the performance of your design, and compare to the original design task.


  • what was your criteria?
  • how well did you hit/miss your objectives
  • what did you/your client learn from the design
  • future/recommendations

Team Biographies[edit source]

Picture Bio Discipline
2014 RoboSub Christopher Pratt.JPG
Chris Pratt
I'm a senior undergraduate and am dual majoring in mechanical engineering and math. I'm looking to go into graduate school to get a masters in robotics after I graduate. I have done robotics competitions in the past and have had a decent amount of experience with both programming and designing.

2014 RoboSub Ingrid Kooda.JPG
Ingrid Kooda:
I’m a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Idaho. I’ve had
four previous internships: two at the Idaho National laboratory, one at the NASA
Ames research center, and last summer I worked at BP Alaska. I’m fairly involved
on campus working as a senior resident assistant in the residence halls. I serve
as a senior rep for the Idaho branch of the American Society of Mechanical
Engineers, the flight systems engineer for the Vandal Atmospheric Science Team, and
the vice president of the Society of Women Engineers. I enjoy showing my dogs, skiing,
fishing, and adventures.
2014 RoboSub Kyle Newell.JPG
Kyle Newell:
I am a senior at the University of Idaho working toward my Bachelor of Science in
Mechanical Engineering and will graduate in the Spring of 2014. I chose the field of
mechanical engineering because I really enjoyed my math and physics classes in high school,
and I wanted to further that knowledge and apply it to design projects. In my free time I
enjoy biking, photography, listening to music, and cooking.
2014 RoboSub Michelle Spear.JPG
Michelle Spear:
I'm a senior studying mechanical engineering at the University of Idaho. I've had two
internships previously. The first was two summers ago where I was a production control intern
for B/E Aerospace in Marysville, Washington. My second internship was last summer where I was
an intern in the process and process safety group for BP in Anchorage, Alaska. Some of my hobbies
include skiing, hunting, and flying airplanes.
2014 RoboSub Alex Rowson.JPG
Alex Rowson:
I am a senior pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Idaho. For the past two
years, I have been an intern with Avista Utilities working on a wide variety of tasks including GIS
mapping, field work, and coding. I chose this project due to a personal interest in robotics. Most of
my free time is spent playing music including classical guitar and electronic  music production.
2014 RoboSub Sean Heagerty.JPG
Sean Heagerty:
I am a senior at the University of Idaho. I am expecting to graduate in May of 2014 with a computer science
degree. I am originally from Kent, Washington, and my interests include videogames, studying history, watching
movies/TV shows, and socializing.
2014 robosub Tanis Lopez.JPG
Tanis Lopez:
I am a computer science senior at the University of Idaho. I have previous experience on projects using
software engineering and multiple computing languages. I hope to learn more about working with hardware
while on the RoboSub team as well as be part of a team producing a better performing sub.

These are two examples of team bios. An official bio example will be released later in the semester.


  • all bios should be in third person
  • bio pics
    • larger than 150px wide
    • 4:3 ratio
    • all pictures should be same size
  • use table(s)
    • bios aren't easy, but formating with tables makes it much easier
    • tables can be invisible (just used for formatting)!

2014 Armassist Joe.jpg

Joe Osborn[edit source]

Mechanical Engineering Student

Hometown: Gig Harbor, WA

Hobbies/Interests: My professional interests have always been geared towards helping people and making a difference, and thus I have been interested in the bio-med and bioengineering fields. In my free time I enjoy several board sports, including snowboarding, wake surfing and longboarding. Along with this I am an avid rock climber.

Plan for Future: I don’t have a set plan for what I will do after college, but at this point am determined to pass the PE exam as soon as possible.


2014 Armassist Joe.jpg

Roman Pacheco[edit source]

Computer Engineering Student

Hometown: Arco, Id

Intersests include building and programing computer systems. Designing applications for implementation on microcontrollers and FPGA's. Ultimately would like to get into building and designing prosthetics or new medical technologies. Also spend time cooking, playing baseball and target shooting.


2014 Armassist Brenden.png

Brenden Staab[edit source]

Biological Systems Engineering Student

Hometown: Worland, Wyoming

I enjoy skiing, reading, playing video games, and writing.

My future goals are to go into Biomedical Engineering.


2014 Armassist Kadrie.jpg

Kadrie Swanson[edit source]

Biological Systems Engineering Student

Hometown: Fargo, North Dakota

Hobbies/Interests: My professional interests center around the application of ergonomics in engineering, I apply this at my current internship working on the Advanced Accessible Pedestrian System. At the University of Idaho, I am a member of the Concrete Canoe Club in addition to being the president of the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Club and the secretary/fundraising chair to the Civil Engineering Club. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, and playing tennis.

Plan for the future: Eventually, I would love to have an engineering career focusing on how medical devices can be more functional for the user.


Help a bio pic.jpg

Steven Witkoe[edit source]

Mechanical Engineering Student

Hometown: Spokane, WA

Hobbies and interests: My academic interests include robotics and fluid dynamics. I have taken multiple classes that relate to these topics including Robotic Kinematics, Control Systems, and Computational Fluid Dynamics. I also enjoy running, cooking and watching my hometown basketball team, the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Plan for the future: After graduation I intend on pursuing a career in robotics. My ideal location would be somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Wherever I end up, I plan on making a positive difference in peoples lives.


Appendices[edit source]

Glossary of terms[edit source]

Rows - Pixels that run from one side of the street to another perpendicular to the flow of traffic.

Columns - Pixels that run up and down the street parallel to the flow of traffic.

Background - A frame recording the unmoving parts of the scene.

Current Frame - The frame being used to extract foreground objects.

Pixel Fill - The portion of a pixels shade that can be attributed to a foreground object.

Delta Cap - The maximum amount of change than can be applied to the background due to a new frame.

Delta Breach - When a current frame pixel is more than one Delta Cap away from the corresponding background pixel.

Foreground Threshold - The minimum difference between background and current frame pixels to register a foreground pixel.

Tripwire - A row of pixels that is being monitored for foreground pixels.

Design Documents[edit source]

Resources[edit source]

External Links[edit source]

RND Innovators website

NIATT website

U of I CSC Team website

Popular Science rear drive article

References[edit source]

see Roboshow#External_Links for great example

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