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OPTIMIZATION OF A DC MICROGRID

Supervisor(s):

Mr. Alexander Micallef, alexander.micallef@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial


Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Electrical power grids traditionally use AC voltages and this preference


has also migrated to the development of AC microgrids. As an alternative
option, DC microgrids have attracted increasing interest in recent years
due to the advantages of low converter cost and simpler control with no
reactive power and synchronization concerns. In addition, a higher portion
of energy sources (eg: PV's, Fuel cells) and energy storage technologies
(eg: batteries, super-capacitors) are dc by nature. Various applications for
dc microgrids have been reported, including all-electric ships, moreelectric aircrafts, data centers, and residential complexes.
This project is a continuation of previous work.

Simulations of parallel DC-DC converters


Simulations of secondary control to optimize the operation of the
parallel converters
Evaluation of different strategies for centralized and distributed
optimization techniques.
Experimental implementation of the designed control algorithms

Project Resources

Equipment/Software/Literature: Simulink/PLECS

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Project
Objective(s):

Complete simulation model implemented in Simulink/PLECS of the


DC microgrid.
Analysis of the performance optimization algorithms.
Robustness comparision of the algorithms
Experimental Implementation
Final advantages and disadvantages of the implementations

Student
background /
interest:

Power Electronics
Control Theory (Design of PID controllers, Stability analysis)
Communications Theory

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

INVESTIGATION OF THE PERFORMANCE OF A LINEAR DRIVE


IN INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS
Supervisor(s):

Dr Cedric Caruana, cedric.caruana@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial


Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Industrial applications such as pick and place require linear motion.


Traditionally, linear motion has been obtained from rotary motion using
appropriate transmission devices like belt and pulley, rack and pinion and
screw systems. Linear motors provide the option of directly generating
the thrust force required for linear movement. This allows linear drives to
achieve higher operating speeds and dynamic response.
The aim of this project is to tune and test the performance of a linear
servomotor drive operating a permanent magnet tubular motor.

Project
Objective(s):

To revamp an existing linear motor test rig.


To enable the different operating modes of the drive and tune for high
performance
Software modelling of selected industrial applications requiring linear
motion
Experimental test of the drive emulating selected industrial
applications
Data capture and analysis of drive performance

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Functional linear motor test rig with data logging capability


Tuned drive for operation under different control modes
Emulation tests of relevant industrial applications
Analysis of drive performance

Student
background /
interest:

Electromechanical Drives
Power Electronics
MATLAB/SIMULINK

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

The drive, motor and the most of the required interfacing hardware
are available.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

INVESTIGATION OF SUPERCAPACITOR ENERGY STORAGE


FOR NETWORK INTEGRATION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
Supervisor(s):

Dr Cedric Caruana, cedric.caruana@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial


Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Dr John Licari, john.licari@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical Power


Conversion

Problem
Background

Significant effort is being directed nowadays for increasing the integration


of renewable energy sources (RES) on power networks. RES, in general,
produce a fluctuating output power due to the variation of the natural
resource. Energy storage has been proposed as a potential solution to
mitigate resulting adverse effects on the network. Various storage
technologies exist, with varying power and storage densities.
Supercapacitors are shortterm storage devices with high energy and
power densities along with other attractive characteristics, including long
cycle life and high efficiency. This renders them suitable for short term
wind output power smoothing and low voltage ride through.
The aim of this project is to model a supercapacitor based energy
storage system and analyse its performance in combination with wind
energy conversion.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Characterization of a supercapacitor
Development of a software model of a supercapacitor based energy
storage system with its associated control
Software model of a wind energy conversion system using fully rated
converters with scalar control for the grid side converter
Integration of the energy storage system and WECS to power network
Case study of driving the energy storage system to smoothen the net
power flow to the grid
The software models will be in PSCAD (available).

Literature review on supercapacitor based energy storage systems


Characterisation of a supercapacitor
Derivation of the relevant parameters for selected published super
capacitor models
Software model of supercapacitor energy storage system integrated
with wind energy
Analysis of the performance of the supercapacitor energy storage
system in the considered case study

Electrical Power Systems


Power Electronics
Electrical Machines
Software Modelling (PSCAD)

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

TEST OF THYRISTOR SOFT STARTER PERFORMANCE UNDER


DIFFERENT LOADS
Supervisor(s):

Dr Cedric Caruana, cedric.caruana@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial


Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Despite the relatively simpler technology, thyristor soft starters still find a
large number of applications in industry. Soft starters limit the starting
current of induction motors, consequently also the starting torque hence
avoiding excessive mechanical stress on the shaft. A number of soft
starters tailored for specific applications are present on the market. Since
the soft starter manufacturer has no control on the connected load, it is
essential to test the performance of the starters for different load
characteristics.
This project is a continuation of a previous project. It will revamp an
existing load dynamometer rig and use it to test the performance of
different soft starters.

Project
Objective(s):

Revamp an existing load dynamometer rig


Emulate different kinds of load
Model soft starter phase angle control
Experimental test of various soft starters under different emulated
loads
Investigate the soft starters behaviour at the end of the start ramp

Project Resources

Equipment/Software/Literature: Dynamometer rig (already available)

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Functional dynamometer rig


Software model of thyristor soft starters phase angle control
Analysis and comparison of tested soft starters under emulated loads
Detailed analysis of the behavior at the end of the start ramp

Student
background /
interest:

Electrical Machines
Power Electronics
Software modelling (MATLAB/Simulink)

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Carlo Gavazzi (Malta) Ltd

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

ENERGY ANALYSIS OF A COMMERCIAL/PUBLIC BUILDING


Supervisor(s):

Prof. Dr. Cyril Spiteri Staines, cyril.spiteri-staines@um.edu.mt, Dept. of


Industrial Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Dr. Ing. John Licari, john.licari@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical Power


Conversion

Problem
Background

Energy audits are carried out to give an idea of the expected energy
performance of buildings.
However to get a real-time detailed energy
performance of a building sub-metering needs to be used. Using strategically
located sub-meters, the energy consumed by different loads during different
seasons of the year can allow for accurate determination of the savings that can
be achieved by applying energy efficiency measures.

Project
Objective(s):

Liaise with ESI w.r.t. how the sub-metering shall be implemented in the
buildings sub panels
Aid ESI with the setting up of the communications required for the data to be
gathered by a central unit
Analysis of data over two seasons
Basic simulation of building energy consumption
Statistical analysis of data with proper confidence levels taken into account
Recommendations on possible energy efficiency measures that could be
implemented

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Monitoring System Setup


Data Collection and Analysis
Simulation of energy usage

Student
background /
interest:

Background needed:

Electrical Power

Communications

Electrical Energy Utilisation (Building Services)

IP Issues

The project has patent possibilities; please specify.

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

Budget: Equipment shall be provided by ESI


Indicate source of funds: ESI
Equipment/Software/Literature:
ESI

These issues are


currently being discussed
Please tick if any of the following apply.
with ESI and the
The project has data protection issues; please specify.
Knowledge Transfer
The project has ethical issues; please specify.
Office. If the issues are
The project involves human subjects; please specify.
not resolved the thesis
proposal might have to
be modified or withdrawn.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

GREEN GYM - REGENERATING POWER TO THE GRID VIA


EQUIPMENT
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Dr. Cyril Spiteri Staines, cyril.spiteri-staines@um.edu.mt, Dept. of


Industrial Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Most Gyms use a lot of electrical energy to keep their surroundings cool due to
the heat loss from exercising persons. A small percentage of this energy can be
recuperated by using the exercise equipment itself to generate electricity. This
is especially true for equipment like rowing machines and exercise bikes where
powers of around 500W can be obtained from alethic, fit and healthy persons.
The project shall focus on how existing equipment could be retrofitted to make
the Gym greener and more energy efficient.

Project
Objective(s):

Review of exercise equipment that can be modified/retrofitted for gridconnection


Modelling of human power curves, electrical generator and grid-connected
inverter for different difficulty levels using SIMULINK
Construction of basic laboratory system set-up as a basis for continuing this
research

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

System Simulation
Hardware set-up

Student
background /
interest:

Background needed:

Power Electronics

Electrical Machines

Microcontrollers

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Equipment/Software/Literature: MATLAB/SIMULINK

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

SIMULATION OF SMART DOMESTIC GRID/STAND-ALONE


ENERGY SYSTEM
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Dr. Cyril Spiteri Staines, cyril.spiteri-staines@um.edu.mt, Dept. of


Industrial Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if any):

Dr. Ing. John Licari, john.licari@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical Power


Conversion
Mr. Alex Micallef, alex.micallef@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical Power
Conversion

Problem Background

Domestic PV Systems are currently installed using a fit-and-forget approach in


which these are permanently connected to the electrical grid. However for low
feed-in tariffs it would make more sense to store the excess PV energy and
consume it during low generation periods. When making such a decision one
must keep in mind that the larger the storage, the more expensive is the system.
Thus does it make sense to store energy in these scenarios? There is also the
scenario where the customer has to be completely self-sufficient (rural areas),
how can the energy be stored and used? What about the seasonal variation of
the loads? This project shall address such issues and propose the most
economically feasible set-up by making use of a smart control method which will
allow loads to be supplied with a certain pre-programmed priority. This project
shall be the intelligence behind the on-going project of a grid-connected/standalone PV system with load prioritization (In 2014/15 a wireless power
measurement set-up with controllable loads was developed).

Project Objective(s):

Review of stand-alone systems with the possibility of grid-connection


Review of typical domestic electrical load profiles
High level modelling of the storage and grid connected system in SIMULINK
Modelling of seasonal loads of domestic house hold for varying population
(IES software)
Development of Control algorithm for optimization of energy usage,
optimization of energy cost and load prioritization for stand-alone operation.
(With the aim to use the optimum energy storage size).

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

System Simulation
Load Modelling
Control Algorithm Development

Student background /
interest:

Background needed:

Power Electronics

Electrical Power

Renewable Energy

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Equipment/Software/Literature: MATLAB/SIMULINK and IES

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

MPPT CONTROL OF A DC/DC CONVERTER FOR A VAWT


Supervisor(s):

Prof. Dr. Cyril Spiteri Staines, cyril.spiteri-staines@um.edu.mt, Dept. of


Industrial Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if any):

N/A

Problem Background

Most DC/DC input stages of commercially available grid-connected inverters do


not allow for optimum setting of the MPPT operating point of micro-wind
turbines. This project shall focus on the construction of a DC/DC converter and
its control for a 3kW Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT).

Project Objective(s):

Analyse the wind power profile of the VAWT


Research and select the best power converter topology for the existing
VAWT vis--vis the grid-connected inverter available.
Develop modelling of the VAWT and DC/DC converter in SIMULINK
Construction of the DC/DC Converter
Control of the DC/DC Converter

Project Resources

Equipment/Software/Literature: MATLAB/SIMULINK

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

System Simulation
Hardware set-up

Student background /
interest:

Background needed:

Power Electronics

Electrical Machines

Microcontrollers

Control Systems

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

THE ANALYSES AND DESIGN OF AN EFFICIENT LOW POWER


LED LIGHT SOURCE
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Joseph Cilia , Joseph.Cilia@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical


Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if any):

N/A

Problem Background

The LED s as a light source are becoming increasingly attractive. One of


the upcoming issues is the HF transformers which tend to have low
quality filtering due their size. At low powers the 50Hz standard
transforemer might offer a good alternative.

Project Objective(s):

To evaluate, test and compare different power supplies for driving


LEDs
To consider different low power LED designs for domestic and
industrial applications.
To build prototypes and compare efficiencies

Project Resources

Altern Ltd. , Abertax Kemtronics


Equipment/Software/Literature available

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

An evaluation and comparison of existing and designed low power


LED light sources

Student background /
interest:

Interest in power electronics


Harmonic analysis and thermal considerations

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Altern Ltd. , Abertax Kemtronics

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

THE DESIGN OF A FAST CHARGER


Supervisor(s):

Prof. Joseph Cilia , Joseph.Cilia@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical


Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if any):

N/A

Problem Background

There is an increase in the interest of fast chargers. However fast


charging tends to increase the temperature of the battery due to the
formation of gas bubbles thereby reducing the plate conductive surface
area. These bubbles can be reduced by temporary discharging a high
current from the battery into a load.

Project Objective(s):

To evaluate, test and compare different charging regimes


To design a setup to allow fast charging with discharge possibilities
To build a prototype charger and test it

Project Resources

Abertax Quality Ltd.


Equipment/Software/Literature available

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

An evaluation of fast charging methods and a prototype fast charging


setup.

Student background /
interest:

Interest in power electronics


Interest energy storage

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Abertax Quality Ltd.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

THE DESIGN, BUILDING AND TEST OF A SMART LOAD


Supervisor(s):

Prof. Joseph Cilia , Joseph.Cilia@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical


Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if any):

N/A

Problem Background

In rural electrification where the grid is not available, there are instances
where a variable load is required to consume any excess energy that is
generated from renewable energy sources. In order for the voltage and
frequency to remain stable a variable load is required to consume any
excess energy being generated. This load is the resistance of a water
heater element which has to be controlled to ensure that there is an
energy balance between generation and consumption.

Project Objective(s):

To evaluate, test and compare existing technologies


To design a cost effective solution that is able to communicate with an
existing power flow monitor.
To build a prototype and test it in an existing smart system.

Project Resources

Sponsored by Abertax Kemtronics


Equipment/Software/Literature available

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

An evaluation and comparison of existing and built smart load

Student background /
interest:

Interest in power electronics, microprocessor and renewable energy

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Abertax Kemtronics

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

POWER QUALITY ANALYSIS IN AN INDUSTRIAL SETUP


Supervisor(s):

Dr. Ing. John Licari, john.licari@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical Power


Conversion

Co-supervisor (if any):

Prof. Dr. Cyril Spiteri Staines, cyril.spiteri-staines@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial


Electrical Power Conversion

Problem Background

A power system can have various types of disturbances which can result into
multitude of problems for both the end users and the utility. In order to identify
potential difficulties that may arise due to such disturbances a Power Quality
analysis is conducted.
In this project a Power Quality analysis will be carried out on a number of
different small to medium sized industrial setups.

Project Objective(s):

Monitoring power quality variables in all sites using a data logger


Analyse the data such as harmonics, power factor, etc
Identification of potential problems that might be present
Simulation of mitigation solutions for any problems encountered
Recommendations on how to improve the power quality and other energy
efficiency measures

Project Resources

Equipment/Software/Literature: Software provided by Department

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Monitored data of all industrial premises


Analysis of the data
Simulation of mitigations solutions for the problems encountered

Student background /
interest:

Background needed:

Power Electronics

Power Systems

Power Quality

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Prime Ltd, Andrews Feeds Malta Ltd, Small Hotel

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

IMPROVEMENT OF POWER QUALITY OF WIND TURBINES


THROUGH A SMART BATTERY ENERGY STORAGE
Supervisor(s):

Dr. Ing. John Licari, john.licari@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical Power


Conversion

Co-supervisor (if any):

Dr. Cedric Caruana, cedric.caruana@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial Electrical


Power Conversion

Problem Background

Wind energy is an intermittent source of renewable power due to the variability


nature of the wind resource. This leads to a fluctuating power output which is
highly undesired for balancing supply and demand. On one hand, when the
available wind power is higher than the load demand it can be stored to be
supplied back when wind power is lower than the load demand. Batteries and
super-capacitors are two types of energy storage devices currently being
investigated for such applications. The work will focus on the utilization of a
battery energy storage to provide quick response to load variations and perform
other power quality improvements.

Project Objective(s):

Develop a model of the storage device and integrate it into a wind turbine
model (wind turbine model will be provided)
Develop a smart control system for the energy storage device to accomplish
the task mentioned above
Simulation and Analysis of the system

Project Resources

Equipment/Software/Literature: IEPC

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Storage device model


Control system design
Simulation of the system
Analysis of the system

Student background /
interest:

MATLAB/SImulink
Electrical Power
Power Electronics
Power Quality

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

CONTROL ELECTRONICS DESIGN FOR XY PLOTTER


Supervisor(s):

Dr. Ing. Reiko Raute, reiko.raute@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial


Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if any):

N/A

Problem Background

Stepper motors are used for very simple, but effective position systems.
Typical application are printers and plotters. The project shall
demonstrate such application. A mechanical XY-plotter kit is available
with two stepper motors. The power electronic circuit to supply the motors
with the correct voltage needs to be designed and build. The
synchronised movement of the two stepper motors shall be controlled by
a central micro controller unit.

Project Objective(s):

Designing and building stepper motor control circuitry


Design micro controller control system to control XY plotter movement
Firmware development for microcontroller to draw figures with plotter

Project Resources

Computer for interfacing (available)


Oscilloscope with isolated voltage and current probes

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Prototype of plotter stepper motor control electronics

Student background /
interest:

Power Electronics
Electrical Machines, Stepper motor
Microcontroller programming

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

TOUCH LESS SENSOR FOR ROTOR POSITION


MEASUREMENT
Supervisor(s):

Dr. Ing. Reiko Raute, reiko.raute@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial


Electrical Power Conversion

Co-supervisor (if any):

N/A

Problem Background

Encoders or resolvers are usually used for a rotor position measurement


of motors. These measurement devices are usually rather expensive and
consist of many fine mechanical components. Furthermore these
measurement devices need to be mounted to the rotor shaft with great
precision. Any misalignment may cause serious damage. Many
semiconductor manufacturers recently developed magnetic position
measurement integrated circuits (ICs). These ASICs have data
processing features included and provide simple digital interfaces that
can be directly connected to a micro controller. The advantage is that
these devices are rather cheap and the position signal is touch less
detected
from
a
magnetic
field.
The task of this project is to build a small demo board with such a touch
less position measurement IC and interface it to a microcontroller. This
demo measurement system shall be installed to a motor with encoder.
The performance of the rotor position measurement system shall be
compared with the encoder result.

Project Objective(s):

Building demo board with touch less position measurement IC


Implement interface with micro controller
Do performance tests under several conditions (speed,
misalignments, magnetic field deviations)

Project Resources

Computer for interfacing (available)

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Touch less rotor position measurement system

Student background /
interest:

Electrical Machines
Microcontroller

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

A MULTI-POINT DIFFERENTIAL GNSS SYSTEM


Dr Ing. Andrew Sammut, andrew.sammut@um.edu.mt,
Electronic Systems Engineering

Supervisor(s):
Co-supervisor
any):

(if

Dept.

of

N/A

Problem
Background

Todays ever expanding industry of personal navigators, smartphones and


tablet computers seems to have trivialised the problem of positioning
ones location on the surface of the Earth, be it a dense city, out in a
desert or in the middle of the ocean. Yet accurate information regarding
the position of a body, be it in the aerospace, marine, automotive and of
course the consumer industry continues to be one of the most challenging
problems for design engineers. Realistically speaking, system that
provide positional information with uncertainties below 15-20m RMS are
hard to come by, even in complex systems which make use of multichannel GNSS receivers, navigation grade inertial sensors and high-end
DSP-based processors and demanding data-fusion algorithms. The
bottom line is that knowing ones position with high accuracy in the submetre range is no easy feat, particularly when working within a tight
budget. Such accuracies are quickly becoming of high interest,
particularly with the industries looking at high levels of automation such
as automatic taxiing, take-off and landing systems for aircraft, urban
navigation for automobiles and automatic ship berthing. This is even more
pronounced when considering unmanned and unsupervised applications
that evidently enforce more stringent requirements on reliability
performance.

Project
Objective(s):

This project therefore addresses the matter of high accuracy positioning


through the design of a low cost technique that solely makes use of
GNSS as the primary source for positioning. This is achieved through the
application of differential corrections, which attempts to drastically reduce
the common mode errors seen between the roving receiver and a number
of fixed reference base stations. The principle is that of having reference
station, with a known accurately surveyed position, take pseudorange
measurements from the GNSS satellites in view and use this information
to generate correction signals which, once transmitted to the roving
receiver through an adequate digital datalink, can compensate for the
errors when computing its position fix.

Review the mathematical formulation involved in generating the


correction signals (Final Year Project 2011/12)

Review the hardware implementation of a typical base station and


roving station (Final Year Project 2013/14)

Implement embedded code to enable single-point and multi-point


differential corrections, verify operation and compare the positional
accuracy and performance.

Project Resources

Department resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected
Project
Deliverables:

An embedded algorithm capable of receiving GNSS signals and


calculating and transmitting GNSS error correction signals
An embedded algorithm capable of receiving GNSS signals as well
as multiple error correction signals and computing a position fix
A report comparing the performance of standalone GNSS as against
single-point and multi-point differential corrections over diverse

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

conditions.

Student
background
interest:

Solid foundation in mathematics, electronic design and algorithms.


Microprocessors and interfacing.
Programming in JAVA, C++, C

IP Issues

No IPR restrictions are envisioned.

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

IDENTIFICATION OF PCB AND SOLDER-JOINT DEFECTS


THROUGH X-RAY INSPECTION
Dr Ing. Andrew Sammut, andrew.sammut@um.edu.mt,
Electronic Systems Engineering

Supervisor(s):
Co-supervisor
any):

(if

Dept.

of

N/A

Problem
Background

The era of electronic miniaturization has brought about with it the need for
x-ray inspection of multilayer circuit boards and board assemblies in order
to investigate, in a non-destructive manner, the locations and quality of
solder joints that cannot be inspected visually. The demands are various,
ranging from the inspection of circuit tracks and buried vias on inner
circuit board layers, as well as the inspection of solder joints, particularly
for leadless packages, for confirmation of the quality of the solder joint. In
order to achieve this, x-ray inspection systems typically having an
excitation voltage in the order of 100-200kV are required. Identifying the
types of faults from the images acquired requires careful tuning of
exposure time and x-ray focal point. The resulting images require
interpretation based on a good understanding of the physics involved in xray imaging.

Project
Objective(s):

The purpose of this project is to investigate the quality of solder joints for
some of the most popular electronic packages including BGA, LGA, QFN,
PLCC, chip-type as well as through-hole components and, from the
images captured, define criteria in order to distinguish a good solder joint
from a bad one. This process involves the production of a set of
prototype boards onto which various components of different package
types are to be mounted. Components are then to be assembled using
different temperature profiles and under different conditions in order to
simulate solder joints of various qualities. Following inspection under an
x-ray microscope, the quality of the solder joints could be determined
through manual interpretation of the resulting images. The criteria to be
considered include percentage voiding due to air bubbles, bridging of
joints due to surplus solder, dry joints typically due to contamination or
insufficient solder as well as misalignment of components. From these
images, a set of criteria could be established allowing classification of an
assembly as acceptable or defect.

Project Resources

Department resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected
Project
Deliverables:

1) A set of prototype boards for assembly of various package types


2) A set of test cases to simulate solder joints of various quality levels
3) A set of images defining the criteria for classification of an assembly as
acceptable or defect
4) A set of images detailing typical defects in an assembly

Student
background
interest:

Solid foundation in electronic design


Interest in electronic manufacturing
Programming in MATLAB, C++, C

IP Issues

No IPR restrictions are envisioned

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

DATA FUSION FOR ACCURATE UAV NAVIGATION


Supervisor(s):

Ing. Brian Zammit, brian.zammit@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Electronic


Systems Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

A number of low cost navigation sensors such as satellite based sensors


and inertial measurement units are available for use on small Unmanned
Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The real-time performance of these sensors can
be improved by using multi-sensor fusion techniques to enable accurate
navigation of the vehicle or provide telemetry data for ground stations.

Project
Objective(s):

This project will implement a data fusion system to be installed on a


UAV with the objective of improving the performance of low cost
standalone sensors.

Project Resources

Any additional hardware related to the UAV platform will be provided


by the Institute of Aerospace Technologies.
Equipment/Software/Literature: Microcontrollers and Dedicated
hardware such as transceivers.

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Literature review of data fusion techniques.


Design and development of data fusion system, simulation of data
fusion techniques and initial testing on a UAV platform.

Student
background /
interest:

Microcontrollers, circuit design.

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING OF A RACE CAR DATA


NETWORK
Supervisor(s):

Ing. Brian Zammit, brian.zammit@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Electronic


Systems Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

The UoM SAE racing car requires an infrastructure to enable the


communication between all on-board sensors and devices. The
infrastructure needs to enable a high traffic flow with focus on the
reliability and stability of the setup. It is therefore required to assess
standard architectures and select an appropriate one that takes into
account these requirements. A prototype of the selected architecture will
be constructed and tested.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

A review of available communication protocols for automotive


applications.
The identification of a suitable technology for the UoM SAE race car.
The construction of the physical layer of the network.
Testing of the communication performance using emulated sensor
inputs.

Equipment/Software/Literature: Microcontrollers and Dedicated


hardware such as transceivers.

Deliverable 1 A literature review of automotive data networks.


Deliverable 2 A low cost network design providing reliable data
transfer at acceptable rates.
A hardware prototype of the network.

Interest in automotive applications, sensor communication,


microcontrollers.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

THE STUDY TO OBTAIN THE MAXIMUM TRANSMITTED RADIO


FREQUENCY POWER FROM A LOW POWER SINGLE OF A
DOUBLE TRANSISTOR AND TO STUDY THE BEST ANTENNA
ARRANGEMENT IN LOOP OR WHIP FORM
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Carmel Pule, carmel.pule@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Electronic Systems


Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

There are many oscillators and coupling systems and antennas in


communications whose aim is to radiate power in the form of a Magnetic
Field, Comparison needs to be done to get an idea of what makes an
efficient system

Project
Objective(s):

Many circuits and antennas produce different efficiencies, the objective is


to design and built suitable radiating circuits including matched antennas
and to decide the maximum radiation that can be achieved from a
given power input.

Project Resources

The normal components found in a laboratory plus the ability to wind coils
and match them to a given impedance and voltage requirements to the
components used, Ingenuity of building antennas is beneficial. Though
the project tends to be very practical, all that is built must be analyzed
through simulations and mathematics.

Industrial Partners
involved:

This is a pure research project and it is an aim of improving and fully


understanding all components of an oscillator and a radiating elements.
Coupling of the oscillator to the radiating element will be given
importance.

Expected
Project
Deliverables:

A working proposition is expected. It is intended that the power


consumption will be about 200 milliwatts. A number of oscillators and
antennas are to be built and compared and the ideas that deliver the
maximum efficiency will be incorporated in one best system.

Student
background/
interest:

The student should have a good attitude towards learning, trying, and
trying again in practical terms with the ability to simulate and analyze in a
mathematical sense. Intuition and fully understanding of electrical
components in many forms, other than simulation and mathematics is a
good asset to have in this project.

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

There are no concerns about Data and Ethical protection apart from the
fact that radiating energy will be limited to about 200 milliwatts to protect
the environment.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

THE STUDY TO FIND THE BEST SHAPE POSSIBLE FOR THE


QUENCHING FUNCTION OF A SUPER-REGENERATIVE
RECEIVER
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Carmel Pule, carmel.pule@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Electronic Systems


Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Sensitivity in receivers for a long range is obtained by designing a


receiver with a system which is on the verge of continuous oscillation. As
this is never possible a system which quenches itself to operate such that
it oscillates and then stops is to be aimed at. The function in which the
oscillator is started and stopped is of great interest and decides the
performance of the circuit to have selectivity and sensitivity.

Project
Objective(s):

The intention of the project is to design and construct a working


proposition, study different forms of quenching and measure the
parameters which are to be aimed at so as to produce a good receiving
system with a long range. The frequency of operation has to be below
100 megahertz.

Project Resources

The equipment required is the standard equipment found in an electronic


laboratory while the consumables are normal low power transistors such
as the BC108, BF 51 and the other passive components to include selfmade inductors and mutually coupled inductors for matching.

Industrial Partners
involved:

No industrial partners are in mind at present but the unit can be used in
in collaboration with schools which include the subjects as Design and
Technology in which familiarity with such units would be of benefit to
potential engineering students in the Education department.

Expected
Project
Deliverables:

A working proposition is expected with the additional monitoring points


such that the system can be fully analyzed with respect to the operation
and also any modifications to show the variety and diversity of the super
regeneration function in such classical receiving units.

Student
background
interest:

Rather than student background and experience an good attitude towards


research and learning is an advantage. The student would be required to
experiment in past philosophies of electronics and the difficulties incurred
in high frequency receiving units. Anyone who is willing to build systems
with enough patience to experiment and notice the detail of functions
would enjoy this project.

IP Issues

N/A.

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

It is not envisaged that there will be any concern regarding this issue.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

THE USE OF MICROCONTROLLERS TO CHANGE CONTROL


OF GOZO FERRY BOATS FROM TWO STICK TO A SINGLE
STICK CONTROL SYSTEM
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Carmel Pule, carmel.pule@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Electronic Systems


Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Ferry boats with frequent short trips are required to be highly


maneuverable and so the control stick movement has to be mentally easy
and correspond to the required actions of the ferry.

Project
Objective(s):

The Project entails the building of a control system whereby the surface
watercraft in a model form about one to two meters long will be able to
move ahead and astern, sideways and turn on the same spot, and /or a
combination of all these possibilities all from the movement of a single
stick.
The use of a GPS system to stabilize and to navigate the ferry from one
location to another would also be included.

Project Resources

The practical resources involves the combination of microcontrollers to


sensors on the stick which will be routed to control the motors /rudders at
the bow and the stern of the ferry and permutated the actions to achieve
all the controls mentioned. The selection of the microcontroller, motors
and servos will be from standard equipment. GPS card is to be decoded
to produce the latitude and longitude and to act as reference for the
controls to follow and override the pilot when necessary.

Industrial Partners
involved:

No industrial partners are involved but both the Gozo Channel line and
the local Maritime Army Section might be interested.

Expected
Project
Deliverables:

The objective is to deliver a practical working proposition, software or


hardware driven which will prove the point that a single stick is better than
the two sticks available on the three modern Gozo Ferries/ships.

Student
background
interest:

The student should have a good electronics, software background and be


able to handle the practical side of applying hardware and software using
a system based design. The construction of the model itself would be
tackled by the supervisor.

IP Issues

There are no patents expected at the time, but the future work may
include the possibility.

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project has no data protection requirements. The project has no


ethical issues involved. The project will be tackled by human subjects and
no monkeys and no animal cruelty will be involved.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

THE USE OF SWITCHES TO TRANSFER A LOW PASS FILTER


INTO A BAND PASS FILTER
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Carmel Pule, carmel.pule@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Electronic Systems


Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Designing a band pass filter is laborious in effort and time and to be able
to simply transfer a low pass filter to any frequency is very attractive to
any designer.

Project
Objective(s):

The Project entails the building of a system which consists of low pass
filters which are switched at a high frequency about which the filter
characteristic is to be transferred. The question of the sampling violation
theorem is overcome through using a multiple path system which
samples the incoming signal at different phases and all together the
information is regenerated and reconstructed at the output. The main
objective of the project is to study the effect of sampling the output
waveform during the first sampling procedure, were the frequency
warping of the filter is expected to be different for each position of
sampling a second time.

Project Resources

The practical resources are the use of fast oscillators, samplers and
multiplexers and a series of low pass RC filters. Simulation using software
is expected on a normal fast computer. Discreet, integrated and
microcontroller system may be used.

Industrial Partners
involved:

No industrial partners are involved but filtering is a general subject which


could interest many industrial applications. This could be looked upon as
a pure research project.

Expected
Project The objective is to deliver a practical working proposition, software or
Deliverables:
hardware which will prove that the sampling of the sample would result in
warping the frequency domain which resembles that used in Digital
Filters.

Student
background
interest:

The student should have a good electronics, software background and be


able to handle the practical side of applying hardware and software using
a system based design

IP Issues

There are no patents expected at the time, but the future work may
include the possibility.

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project has no data protection requirements. The project has no


ethical issues involved. The project will be tackled by human subjects and
no monkeys and no animal cruelty will be involved.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

PC CONTROLLED STRESS PATH TRIAXIAL CELL SYSTEM


PART 2
Supervisor(s):

Ing. Evan J. Dimech, evan.dimech@um.edu.mt, Department of


Electronics Systems Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Perit Adrian Mifsud, adrian.mifsud@um.edu.mt, Department of Civil


Structural Engineering

Problem
Background

Triaxial testing is a common method to measure the mechanical


properties of deformable solids such as soils (sands, clay), rock and other
granular materials and powders. Through a current final year project, the
Department of Electronics Systems Engineering and the Faculty of
Architecture and the Built Environment have started to build a PC
controlled stress path triaxial system. The main aim of this current year
project was to utilize and upgrade the existing stress path testing
apparatus to new system requirements by designing and building
additional hardware and software so as to make the triaxial system PC
controlled.
The entire system mainly consists of different subsystems utilizing the
following components: triaxial cell, load cell, pressure controller (the
pressure controller consists of three sub-pressure controllers namely for
the cell pressure, the back pressure and the axial pressure), a pore
pressure transducer and a displacement transducer. The system control
and data acquisition are to be conducted via a PC. Through the current
final year project most of the required mechanical, electrical and
electronic hardware was developed. Hence the emphasis of this final year
project will be to bring together the already developed system hardware
and software, design and build any remaining hardware and implement a
software test platform for the various required soil testing scenarios.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Other Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

Review the existing state of the art stress path triaxial cell systems.
Review the work done throughout the current thesis.
Design and develop the remaining mechanical, electronic and
electrical system hardware components.
Design and develop a PC based software test platform for the control
and data acquisition of the different soil triaxial tests.

Resources (Equipment/Software/Literature): Available within the


Department of Electronics Systems or made available by the Faculty
of Architecture and Built Environment.
Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Malta

D1: Design and develop the remaining Stress Path Triaxial Cell
System hardware, including electrical, electronic and mechanical
hardware.
D2: Bring together the different triaxial sub-system hardware
components to a functional system
D3: Design and develop the control and data acquisition test software
for the different soil tests conducted by the stress path triaxial system.

Skillful in analogue and digital electronics design


Good skills in mechanical systems design.
Skillful in embedded system design

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Good programming skills, mainly C and NI Labview.


A solid interest in multidisciplinary mechanical, electrical and
electronic system design.
Good hardware and software implementation skills.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

AN INDUSTRIAL CABLE INSULATION TESTER


Supervisor(s):

Ing. Marc Anthony Azzopardi, marc.azzopardi@um.edu.mt,


Dept. of Electronic Systems Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background:

High impedance precision sensors such as pH probes require high


performance cables to conduct pico-ampere currents and milli-volt potentials
with minimal losses and triboelectric charge injection to dedicated
instruments. However, such cables are prone to damage during
manufacturing that could alter their prized characteristics. Therefore these
need to be fully tested prior to shipping to end customers.
For this purpose, a well-established manufacturer of such instrumentation
wishes that a semi-automated test rig be designed and constructed to
conduct batch testing of such cables. The system needs in-built intelligence
to conduct the tests in a uniform fashion, giving repeatable results. It needs to
safeguard the operator from any high voltages while monitoring the test
conditions and flagging damaged cables to the operator. The test rig should
cater for logging of test results and transferring associated data to an existing
Labview controller over RS485 cables.
This is primarily a hardware development project!
To review the nature of the technical problem presented by the client.
To generate and evaluate a number of potential electronic tester solutions
To design digital and analogue circuitry required to test batches of cables
To develop microcontroller logic to run tests in a semi-automated fashion.
To conduct a performance assessment of the system.
To improve functionality and robustness as required.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Electronic materials provided by Industrial Partner.


Resources (Equipment/Software/Literature) available in the Department

Industrial Partners
involved:

ProMinent Fluid Controls Ltd.


BLB 907-912 Bulebel Industrial Estate. Zejtun ZTN 3000. Malta

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Deliverable 1: A working prototype of the complete system.


Deliverable 2: Full documentation describing the system.

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Excellent first-hand experience with embedded systems


Good skills in analogue instrumentation electronics.
Good programming skills for embedded systems.
An interest in multidisciplinary electronic system design.
Self-motivation and ambition to convert a concept into a prototype that
meets a clients expectations.
Good technical skills and experience in hardware implementation

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

AN UNMANNED AERIAL/GROUND HYBRID VEHICLE


Supervisor(s):

Ing. Marc Anthony Azzopardi, marc.azzopardi@um.edu.mt,


Dept. of Electronic Systems Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):
Problem
Background:

N/A

Project
Objective(s):

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs)


are currently being used for surveillance and defence and are proving
invaluable in search and rescue missions. UAVs have the capability to move
through large distances in 3D space, while UGVs have lower minimum power
requirements and better dexterity while manoeuvring on surfaces. This
project aims to combine the attributes of both types of robots into a hybrid
vehicle that is better suited for a wider range of missions.
For this purpose, a novel vehicle configuration will be investigated and the
basic controls, actuators, power management, and sensory systems will be
developed into a platform that paves the way for future research in this
direction. The resulting embedded system needs to be developed with a view
for further expansion and must lend itself for high performance control.
This is primarily a hardware development project!
Develop an architecture for a UAV-UGV hybrid robot design.
Develop an embedded system for the flight controller.
Design and implement all the digital and analogue circuitry required.
Design and build the required motor driver.
Design and interface an Inertial Measurement Unit.
Develop some basic control algorithms to test the robot.

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

D1: A preliminary prototype of the hybrid robot


D2: A flight controller / ground locomotion unit
D3: A functional test of all major subsystems.

Student
background /
interest:

Previous practical experience involving robotic embedded systems.


Interest in sensors, interfacing, mechatronics, and of course robotics.
Excellent programming skills for embedded systems.
An interest in multidisciplinary electronic system design.
Self motivation and ambition to convert a concept into a prototype.

IP Issues

Potential IPR restrictions are envisioned

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Budget: < 600 (only indicative)


Source of funds: Student Funded.
Resources (Equipment/Software/Literature) available in the Department.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

A SWARM ROBOTICS DEMONSTRATOR


Supervisor(s):

Ing. Marc Anthony Azzopardi, marc.azzopardi@um.edu.mt,


Dept. of Electronic Systems Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background:

A large number of relatively simple robotic agents can be controlled in a way


to collectively achieve a holistic result that is beyond the capability of any
individual robotic agent. Such swarm behaviour is frequently demonstrated in
nature and offers numerous advantages as opposed to a centralized control
system. These algorithms, although achievable on large scale devices are
challenging to implement on simple robotic agents with limited onboard
energy storage and processing power, which leaves much room for research.
The objective of this project is to efficiently implement swarm algorithms to
control a number of custom-built robotic agents with limited processing
power. The agents will be made to demonstrate collective self-organizing
behaviour as governed by the distributed swarm intelligence algorithm
chosen.
A certain amount of hardware customization might be required in order to
better match the agents attributes to the algorithm. In addition, a certain
amount of computer simulations will also be required to test the effectiveness
of the implemented algorithm.
This is primarily an algorithm development project!
Conduct a detailed literature review on the subject.
Improve existing robotic agent hardware to suit the algorithm as necessary.
Maximize and assess the computational capacity of each agent.
Investigate a number of interesting distributed algorithms that exhibit self
organizing behaviour.
Simulate & evaluate the said algorithms using multi-threaded programming.
Generate and evaluate a number of promising algorithms.
Demonstrate self-organizing behaviour of many autonomous agents by
downloading one or two such algorithms into the agents.
Improve functionality and robustness as necessary.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

D1: Detailed literature review on swarm robotics for micro-bots


D2: Enhanced Robotic Agent Hardware
D3: Algorithms and test results

Student
background /
interest:

Excellent first-hand experience with embedded systems


Excellent programming skills for embedded systems.
Good skills in analogue and digital electronics.
An interest in multidisciplinary electronic system design.
Good technical skills and experience in hardware implementation

IP Issues

No IPR restrictions are envisioned.

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Budget: < 500 (only indicative)


Source of funds: Student Funded
Resources (Equipment/Software/Literature) available in the Department

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

ELECTRO-MYOGRAPHIC SIGNAL CAPTURE


Supervisor(s):

Ing. Marc Anthony Azzopardi, marc.azzopardi@um.edu.mt,


Dept. of Electronic Systems Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):
Problem
Background:

N/A

Project Objective(s):

Electromyography (EMG) is the study of electrical signals produced by


skeletal muscles when activated. These signals are often detected by
electrodes placed on the skin, and using signal conditioning circuits, these
are isolated, amplified and digitized for further analysis. In recent years,
electromyography has increased in popularity as it is useful in many
applications such as prostheses control and the diagnosis of certain
neuromuscular disorders. However, the quality of the signal obtained is
highly dependent on the electrodes themselves and the circuitry following
them, putting great emphasis on the performance of analogue electronics.
The aim of this project is to investigate effective methodologies of obtaining
EMG signals, and hence design a multichannel EMG signal capturing
system. Cost must be given special consideration, as reliable, low cost
EMG acquisition systems have a widespread potential for general purpose
human machine interfacing (HMI). In such systems, error detection,
reliability, comfort, adaptability and price are key.
This is primarily a hardware development project!
Conduct a detailed literature review on the subject.
Obtain multi-channel signals from different parts of the human body and
digitize the signal into a high resolution representation using an ADC.
Analyze a number of EMG capture circuit designs
Design and construct a high performance EMG signal capturing system
Minimize noise ingress and cross talk between electrodes.
Use a microcontroller and/or FPGA to manipulate the signals obtained.
Design a system which can be easily used in next generation
technologies.

Project Resources

Industrial Partners:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

D1: Analysis of different EMG capturing Systems


D2: Design and test of a high performance EMG capturing System

Student background
/ interest:

Highly proficient in analogue electronics, signal conditioning, PCB design


Good general programming skills for embedded systems.
An interest in multidisciplinary electronic system design.
Self motivation and ambition to convert a concept into a prototype
Good technical skills and experience in hardware implementation

IP Issues

No IPR restrictions are envisioned.

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project involves human subjects; please specify: Designer may wish
to test low-voltage (battery-operated) measuring equipment on himself.

Budget: < 700 (only indicative)


Source of funds: Student Funded
Resources (Equipment/Software/Literature) available in the Department

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

DIRECT DIGITAL SYNTHESIS FUNCTION GENERATOR USING


AN FPGA
Supervisor(s):

Ing. Marc Anthony Azzopardi, marc.azzopardi@um.edu.mt,


Dept. of Electronic Systems Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background:

Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) is a technique which leverages the versatility


of computer controlled digital-to-analogue converters (DACs), combined with
analogue electronics, to create an arbitrary waveform from a single and fixed
frequency reference clock. DDS is useful due to its ability to construct and
control waveforms over a large range of frequencies with high precision and
accuracy. It has numerous applications in test and measurement equipment,
as well as communications.
The aim of the project is that of achieving the highest output frequency
possible from the reference clock, while minimizing artefacts. The focus is on;
designing an efficient and fast algorithm; establishing a high throughput
connection between the peripherals making up the system; achieving good
SNR at the output of the system and then transmitting this signal via an
optimal transmission cable and connection. The performance will be
assessed in terms of SNR at the output under various frequencies and
arbitrary waveforms.
This is primarily a hardware development project!
To review existing designs of similar systems;
To design and implement the digital controller for the function generator;
To design and implement the analogue interface/filtering circuitry;
To conduct a performance assessment of the system;
To produce a simple API for accessing the features of the platform and set
the required parameters for proper system functionality;
To improve functionality & robustness as required in a practical instrument.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Deliverable 1: A prototype DDS function generator


Deliverable 2: An easy to use API to set the required waveform to be
generated by the function generator.

Student
background /
interest:

Excellent first-hand experience with embedded systems


Good skills in analogue and high speed digital electronics.
Good programming skills for embedded systems, especially VHDL.
An interest in multidisciplinary electronic system design.
An interest in high frequency PCB design.
Self motivation and ambition to convert a concept into a prototype
Good technical skills and experience in hardware implementation

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Budget: < 500 (only indicative)


Source of funds: Student Funded
Resources (Equipment/Software/Literature) available in the Department

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

MID-AIR OBSTACLE DETECTION


Supervisor(s):

Dr In. Kenneth Chircop, kenneth.chircop@um.edu.mt, Dept. of


Electronic Systems Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Prof. In. David Zammit-Mangion, david.zammit-mangion@um.edu.mt,


Institute of Aerospace Technologies

Problem
Background

In contrast with commercial air transport, Remotely Piloted Aircraft


Systems (RPAS) do not usually transmit their position with onboard
transponders like ADS-B leading to lack of situational awareness.
Consequently, the probability of mid-air collisions between RPAS is ever
increasing with the growth of such uncontrolled air traffic.
This thesis aims at developing an onboard mid-air obstacle detection
system using a visible spectrum and/or an IR camera. The work involves
the identification, adaptation and implementation of obstacle detection
algorithms on an FPGA module following successful development in
MATLAB. The work shall also include the interfacing of the cameras with
the system.

Project
Objective(s):

To identify, adapt and simulate object detection algorithms in


software.
To implement a real-time mid-air object detection system on an
FPGA.

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Mid-Air obstacle detection system

Student
background /
interest:

Digital Electronics Design using FPGAs


Real-time systems
Image Processing

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

MATLAB, Vivado, and departmental electronics design instruments.


Partners, if any

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ADS-B RECEIVER, DECODER AND


SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM FOR UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS
Supervisor(s):

Professor Ing. David Zammit-Mangion, david.zammitmangion@um.edu.mt, Institute of Aerospace Technologies

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Dr. Ing. Kenneth Chircop, kenneth.chircop@um.edu.mt, Dept .of


Electronic Systems Engineering

Problem
Background

The market for low-cost unmanned aerial systems (UASs) is growing and
cheap, yet robust technology will be a key enabler to allow the
introduction of such systems into operation. The project will involve the
construction and testing of an ADS-B system that will receive data input
from a transponder (an external system that will be provided). ADS-B is a
data message standard through which aircraft data such as speed and
position is transmitted. Through the reception and processing of ADS-B
data, a virtual radar plot of aircraft in the vicinity can be constructed.
ADS-B is the emerging technology on which aircraft surveillance in air
traffic control is expected to be based in future. The system that will be
developed in this project will be microprocessor based and will also need
to act as a data concentrator that integrates air and navigational sensor
data. Algorithms that decode, as required, the transponder output data,
track the movement of aircraft in the vicinity and provide an output in an
appropriate format will be developed in the project. The work will need to
cater for data outages, filtering and other signal processing as required,
as well as handle data from sensors such as those associated with air
data (speed, altitude, etc) and position (GPS or similar) and prepare an
ADS-B message prior to its transmission by an appropriate transponder
system.

Project
Objective(s):

To develop a smart microprocessor based ADS-B receiver/decoder


system
To incorporate a data concentrator and ADS-B OUT functionality in
the microprocessor system
To test and evaluate the system developed

Project Resources

Department resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

6pm

An electronic system that is capable of decoding and generating ADSB messages and act as a data acquisition system
Demonstration of operation of the system developed

Multidisciplinary activities that involve, amongst others,


instrumentation, electronic system design, digital system interfacing,
microprocessor applications & system integration

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

IMPLEMENTATION OF AN AIRCRAFT AUTOMATIC TAXI CONTROL


SYSTEM
Supervisor(s):

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Professor Ing. David Zammit-Mangion, david.zammitmangion@um.edu.mt, Institute of Aerospace Technologies


Dr. Ing. Kenneth Chircop, kenneth.chircop@um.edu.mt, Dept .of
Electronic Systems Engineering

Problem
Background

The automation of the taxi phase of flight in large fixed-wing transport


category aircraft remains one of the only phases of operation that is not
yet automated. With the advent of the introduction of electric traction on
commercial airplanes, the prospect of automating ground movement in
the airport is gathering interest in industry.
This project will focus on the adaptation of a control algorithm developed
as an MSc thesis (Zammit C., 2014) , its implementation on a
microcontroller board, interfacing with inertial sensors and system
integration on board a radio controlled vehicle that needs to be adapted to
host the proposed system.

Project
Objective(s):

To adapt existent algorithms and implement them on a microcontroller


To interface sensors and drivers (hobby radio-control type electric
motors and servos) with the microcontroller
To integrate and test the system on a hobby radio-control type vehicle

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

An electronic system that is capable of controlling a vehicle


Demonstration of operation of the system developed

Student
background /
interest:

Multidisciplinary activities that involve, amongst others,


instrumentation, control theory, electronic system design,
microprocessor applications & system integration

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Resources for consumable electronic components (major equipment


already available)

None

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

AN AUTOPILOT SYSTEM FOR A QUADROTOR


Supervisor(s):

Professor Ing. David Zammit-Mangion, david.zammitmangion@um.edu.mt, Institute of Aerospace Technologies

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Dr. Ing. Kenneth Chircop, kenneth.chircop@um.edu.mt, Dept .of


Electronic Systems Engineering

Problem
Background

The aim of the project is to develop an autopilot system for a quadrotor.


The work will involve the development of the necessary control algorithms
and their implementation on a microcontroller together with the interfacing
with the necessary inputs and outputs. The autopilot will primarily be
required to maintain steady conditions commanded by the operator and
conduct simple manoeuvres such as tilt and translational motion.
The work will involve the prototyping and validation of algorithms in
MATLAB; their implementation on a microcontroller system; design and
construction of the electronic interfacing (hardware and software,
including filtering) associated with inertial sensors, electric motors and
radio control receiver; system integration and flight test.

Project
Objective(s):

To develop an autopilot system for a quadrotor


To implement appropriate control and interface algorithms
To test and evaluate the system developed, including in flight test

Project Resources

Resources for consumable electronic components.

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

An autopilot system that works

Student
background /
interest:

Multidisciplinary activities that involve, amongst others, control theory,


instrumentation, electronic system design, digital system interfacing,
microprocessor applications & system integration

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

INSTRUMENTATION OF AN AERO ENGINE


Supervisor(s):

Professor Ing. David Zammit-Mangion, david.zammitmangion@um.edu.mt, Institute of Aerospace Technologies

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Dr. Ing. Kenneth Chircop, kenneth.chircop@um.edu.mt, Dept .of


Electronic Systems Engineering

Problem
Background

Hobby (radio control) aero engines are simple and have no


instrumentation that allow monitoring of their operating conditions. This
project is associated with instrumenting an aero engine to provide
engineering and operational data during operation.
The work will involve developing a microprocessor based system for
measuring parameters such as rpm, fuel flow, and cylinder temperature,
data logging for eventual download and data evaluation and providing
real time monitoring to alert of any impending failure. The work can be
expanded to also measure, for example, thrust and power output so that
characterization of some engine performance parameters can be
obtained. Although the system is primarily intended for test-bench use, it
will be developed into an airborne system to fly on small fixed wing radio
controlled airplanes and may be flown in the time frame of the project.
Consequently, the electronic hardware design will need to cater for
reliable operation in environments of vibration and stress.

Project
Objective(s):

To develop a data acquisition system for a hobby grade aero engine

Project Resources

Resources for consumable electronic components

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

A data acquisition system that works

Student
background /
interest:

Multidisciplinary activities that involve, amongst others,


instrumentation, electronic system design, digital system interfacing,
microprocessor applications & system integration

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

NON-PHOTOREALISTIC RENDERING OF SCENES


Ms. Alexandra Bonnici, alexandra.bonnici@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems
& Control Engineering

Supervisor(s):
Co-supervisor
any):

(if

Problem
Background

N/A

Research in computer graphics (CG) has been involved in the generation


of synthetic imagery and historically, the approach adopted in CG is the
creation of scenes that are as realistic as possible, with algorithms looking
into the physical optic laws to render the illumination effects on objects
within the scene in a manner that is as close to reality as possible, with
the ultimate test being the ability of fooling a human judge into believing
that a computer generated image is a photograph of a scene.
The focus of CG has however shifted from the need of realism to the
need of representation and visualisation of complex scenes such that
these can be communicated to observers as effectively as possible. Thus,
the task of CG is no longer the creation of just realistic images but rather
that of creating imagery that is useful and beautiful as well as physically
realistic. For this reason, CG algorithms are looking at cognitive sciences,
the fields of art and graphic design and illustration rather than optics.
Here the challenge lies in the representing abstracted and structure
information in a manner that is useful and aesthetic, hence the field of
non-photorealistic rendering (NPR).
One aspect of NPR is to create alternative representations of scenes
captured by digital photography. Here scene images are typically preprocessed using for example edge detection to find lines that exhibit
changes in illumination intensity across the scene. These may be
weighted according to the cognitive and perceptual significance they have
in the scene, using theories such as the Gestalt rules of perception.
Artistic expression used by illustrators and artists, for example changes in
line thickness according to the significance of the line, are then used to
represent these edges in the image, thus creating a new image from the
scene that is physically realistic but rendered in such a way that retains
only the relevant structural shape of the scene.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Literature review of existing NPR algorithms


Algorithm that obtains the structural information from a scene
Algorithm that represents this information in an NPR manner

Student
background/
interest:

Signal Processing with interest in image processing

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

To perform a literature review of NPR techniques


To review artistic cues that are used in line drawings
To use these cues to present an alternative representation of a scene.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

CONTEXT CLASSIFICATION OF SCENES


Ms. Alexandra Bonnici, alexandra.bonnici@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems
& Control Engineering

Supervisor(s):
Co-supervisor
any):
Problem
Background

(if

N/A
Scene Recognition is a key process in the human visual system, with
humans being able to understand the context of the scene presented to
them quickly and efficiently, irrespective of the number of objects, their
different poses, colours, shadows or texture.
Scene recognition is traditionally performed by progressive reconstruction
of the input scene fro local measures such as edges, corners and
surfaces, but more recently, researchers are suggesting that recognition
of real world scenes may be initiated by encoding the global configuration
of the scene, bypassing all details and local features to focus on the
holistic cues of the scene.
The human visual system uses both modalities: local and global
information from the scene are used to recognise the scene category. For
this reason, representations of both the local and global features could
provide for an improved machine categorisation of scenes. Local and
global features may be obtained from Fourier-like transforms such as the
discrete cosine transform among others which use different sinusoidal
frequencies to represent different levels of detail in the image. Machine
learning algorithms, such as support vector machines can then be used
to learn the classification of the local and global features obtained from
the images, such that new scenes according to the category to which
they belong.
Such research has various applications in computer vision most notably in
robotic navigation systems, the systematic organisation of large image
databases as well as context based search and retrieval.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background
interest:

To obtain a set of local and global features from a scene


To be able to classify the scene according to some set criteria

Literature review of suitable descriptors that can be used to describe


local and global features of a scene
Literature review on machine learning algorithms that can be used to
categorise the scene features
Algorithm that extracts some local and global discriminatory features
from a scene
Algorithm that provides the classification of scenes into their
respective categories
Signal Processing with interest in image processing
Interest in computational intelligence

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

OPTICAL MUSIC RECOGNITION OF PIANO SHEET MUSIC


Ms. Alexandra Bonnici, alexandra.bonnici@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems
& Control Engineering

Supervisor(s):
Co-supervisor
any):

(if

N/A
The musical score arose from the need to record and pass from one
generation to the other music expression in a manner that is more reliable
than aural tradition. Music notation has been adapted and improved over
the ages since the very first time that music was written down to the
modern representation in use today. Music notation is highly symbolic,
containing mixture of lines, note heads, markings for note durations and
expression, all arranged in such a manner that a musician may
understand the rhythm, pitch and expression of the musical score.

Problem
Background

With cheaper digitisation media available, optical music recognition


(OMR) became a researched area with value to musical and scientific
communities alike. Optical music recognition opens opportunities for
automated and time saving methods for changing paper-based music
scores into a machine readable symbolic format that is used by music
software, allowing the translation of the musical score into other notations,
such as Braille, as well as increasing the interaction between the score
and multimedia, allowing playback and musical analysis. Of particular
interest is the possibility of allowing a music scholar to assess his/her
execution of a musical piece with what is actually written in the score.
Optical music recognition requires the use of pre-processing techniques
such as binarisation and line detection to enhance the quality of the
musical score for further processing. This would typically involve musical
symbol segmentation and recognition, using techniques such as Hidden
Markov Models. The musical symbols must the be re-organised into
meaningful groups such that the reconstruction of the musical notation
may take place, representing the musical score in a format such as MIDI
which may be ported to musical software or digital instruments.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Literature review of existing optical musical recognition systems,


including pre-processing techniques that can be used for musical
scores and symbol recognition algorithms that are useful for
recognition of musical symbols
Algorithm that extracts symbolic information from printed musical
sheets
Algorithm that changes this symbolic information into MIDI format

Signal Processing with interest in image processing


Interest in computational intelligence
Musical knowledge is NOT required

Student
background
interest:
Ethical and Data
Protection Issues

To understand the issues involved in optical music recognition in


order to develop algorithms that may extract the symbols present in a
musical score
To extract the information encoded within these symbols and
represent it in formats that can be used by digital instruments or
software.

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

3D INTERPRETATION OF DRAWINGS WITH ARTISTIC CUES


Ms. Alexandra Bonnici, alexandra.bonnici@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems
& Control Engineering

Supervisor(s):
Co-supervisor
any):
Problem
Background

(if

N/A
Drawings have an important role in communication of ideas to other
persons. Sketches of 3D objects are however, potentially geometrically
ambiguous, since the representation of drawn objects in the 3D space
may have multiple valid interpretations. Humans overcome these
ambiguities, partly by using preconceived geometric concepts but also
through other cues that may be present in the drawing. To this extent,
artists and designers often include artistic cues to help in the portrayal of
geometric intent. Such cues may include the use of shading and shadows
as well as the use of thick, bold lines for object edges which are closer to
the observer and thinner lines for edges further away from the observer,
thus introducing an impression of depth in the drawing.
Machine interpretation of pen-and-paper drawings is therefore an
interesting and challenging problem and attempts to create interpretations
of the sketched objects that is similar to the human interpretation of the
same sketch. In current research carried out within the department of
Systems and Control Engineering, the artistic cues are being used to
distinguish between the different geometric interpretations of the edge,
namely, distinguishing between convex, concave, and occluding edges
based on the shading cues that are present in the drawing and labelling
the edges accordingly. While such a distinction serves to give an idea of
the overall geometric shape of the drawing, the labels alone do not
generate a 3D interpretation of the drawing.
These labels can however be used to provide an initial inflation of the
drawing and such an initial inflation may be used as an initial starting
point in conjunction with other 3D interpretation algorithms described in
the literature to obtain the full 3D interpretation of the drawing. Such
algorithms however, are based mainly on geometric constraints and do
not take into consideration the artistic depth cues that are present in the
drawing. To this extent, the aim of this project will be to investigate how
these artistic depth cues can be used in conjunction with existing 3D
interpretation algorithms to obtain 3D models from drawings that match
the designer's intent.

Project
Objective(s):

To understand the different depth cues that may be present in a


drawing
To use these depth cues to obtain a 3D interpretation of a drawing

Project Resources

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Literature review of existing 3D interpretation algorithms


A study of different depth cues that are used in sketches
Algorithm that obtains 3D models from the 2D sketches

Student
background
/
interest:
Ethical and Data
Protection Issues

Signal Processing with interest in image processing

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

EMOTION RECOGNITION FROM PHYSIOLOGICAL SIGNALS


Supervisor(s):

Prof Kenneth P Camilleri, kenneth.camilleri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of


Systems & Control Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Over the past decade, we have seen a rise in interest in emotion


recognition and affective computing, mainly to have computational
systems react to the emotional state of the user. There is also rising
interest in detecting human emotions in order to convey these emotions
remotely and augment human-human remote interaction. Human emotion
recognition may be achieved by analyzing various physiological signals,
posture and face images. This project aims to establish the principles of
emotion analysis and to implement algorithms that may recognize
emotions from such multi-modal data, with particular interest in
electroencephalographic (EEG) signals acquired from the scalp which
reflect the underlying brain activity.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Equipment/Software/Literature: Public databases, literature from the


Internet; if real-time system will be implemented, equipment is
available in the laboratory for this purpose.

A literature review of emotion analysis and algorithms for emotion


recognition.
Download, install and make available an existing database of signals
classified by emotion.
Implement Select specific data modalities for emotion analysis, with
particular interest in EEG data.
Select and implement state-of-the-art methods of emotion analysis
and perform a comparative anlaysis.
Possibly, implement a real-time emotion analysis system.

Interest in signal processing.


At ease with programming in Matlab or C.

Student
background /
interest:

Perform a literature review of emotion analysis and algorithms for


emotion recognition.
Analyse existing databases of signals classified by emotion.
Select specific data modalities for emotion analysis, with particular
interest in EEG data.
Select and implement state-of-the-art methods of emotion analysis
and perform a comparative anlaysis.
Possibly, implement a real-time emotion analysis system.

N/A

IP Issues
Ethical and Data
Protection Issues

The project has data protection issues; please specify.


The project has ethical issues; please specify.
The project involves human subjects; please specify.
If the student advances to the stage of acquiring physiological data for
emotion analysis.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

FINGER MOVEMENT DETECTION USING THE


ELECTROMYOGRAM
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Kenneth P Camilleri, kenneth.camilleri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of


Systems & Control Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Prof. Michael Saliba, michael.saliba@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Industrial and


Manufacturing Engineering
Dr Tracey A Camilleri, tracey.camilleri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems &
Control Engineering

Problem
Background

Myoelectric control, that is the use of the electrical potential acquired from
the muscle innervation, has recently been receiving increasing attention.
Most works are concerned with myoelectric control of large scale arm
movements, however dexterous finger control provides for fine control
which is desirable for advanced arm prosthesis or for the fine control of a
dexterous robotic hand. This project is being proposed in the context of
the Departments work in myoelectric arm control and the work carried out
by the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in the
design of dexterous robotic hands.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Perform a literature review of myoelectric finger movement detection


and control.
Analyse existing databases of relevant myoelectric signals.
Determine whether new myoelectric signals would need to be
acquired.
Select and implement state-of-the-art methods of myoelectric signal
processing, feature extraction and finger movement classification.
Possibly, implement real-time myoelectric control of a dexterous
robotic hand.
Equipment/Software/Literature: Public databases, literature from the
Internet; if real-time system will be implemented, equipment is
available in the laboratories of the Department of Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering.

A literature review of myoelectric finger movement detection and


control.
Acquisition of an existing database of relevant myoelectric signals and
if necessary new myoelectric signals acquired locally.
Implementation of a state-of-the-art method for myoelectric signal
processing, feature extraction and finger movement classification.
Depending on time constraints, and technical considerations, realtime myoelectric control of a dexterous robotic hand.

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project has data protection issues; please specify.


The project has ethical issues; please specify.
The project involves human subjects; please specify.
If the student advances to the stage of acquiring EMG data.

Interest in signal processing.


At ease with programming in Matlab or C.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

VOICE COMMANDED MOBILE ROBOT FOR SEARCH AND


FOLLOW OPERATIONS IN UNKNOWN ENVIRONMENTS
Supervisor(s):

Dr. Ing. Marvin Bugeja, marvin.bugeja@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems &


Control Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

This project aims to develop a system that would allow a Khepera III
mobile robot to be commanded, via speech, to autonomously search for
and follow a specific target in an unknown, obstacle-cluttered
environment. Khepera III is a small mobile robot available in the Control
Systems Laboratory. It features onboard processing, wheel encoders,
ultrasonic and infrared sensors and WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity. Recently
it has also been equipped with a CMUcam5 vision system, and a digital
compass. This project is a continuation of previous works. It is expected
that this project develops further, and eventually integrates, the previously
designed modules. These include a speech interface for voice recognition
and synthesis, and robotic search and follow algorithms. Unsurprisingly, a
robot with the capabilities described above has many practical
applications, such as: a robotic assistant in search and rescue missions,
or, a mobile robot that cooperates with humans to search and retrieve
hazardous items in unmapped environments.

Project
Objective(s):

Develop further an algorithm that allows a mobile robot to search for a


specific target in an unmapped, obstacle-cluttered environment,
efficiently.
Train the available speech interface for the search and follow task at
hand.
Enable and integrate the CMUcam5 pan and tilt feature.
Replace the current digital compassing module, and investigate
sensor fusion options to enhance localization.
Integrate the search and follow algorithms with the speech module.
Test the complete integrated system.

Project Resources

Equipment/Software/Literature: Khepera III mobile robot (available);


CMUcam4 (available); digital compass module (available); Linux
computer (available); sound card, microphone and speakers
(available); and electronic components to build some interface
circuitry.

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Literature and theoretical review on robot search and target following.


The integrated robotic system, including the speech interface.
Evaluation and testing.

Student
background /
interest:

Control systems, signal processing and robotics.


Computer programming (MATLAB and C).
Electronics and computer interfacing.
Knowledge in Linux is an asset but not a requirement.

IP Issues:

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues:

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

AUTONOMOUS ROBOT NAVIGATION IN A POPULATED


ENVIRONMENT
Supervisor(s):

Dr. Ing. Marvin Bugeja, marvin.bugeja@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems &


Control Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

This project aims to develop a system that would allow a PowerBot


mobile robot to navigate to a target location in an obstacle-cluttered and
populated environment, using a preloaded map. Powerbot is a highpayload differentially driven research mobile robot available in the Control
Systems Laboratory. It features an onboard computer, wheel encoders,
ultrasonic sensors, and a laser range-finder. This project shall also
investigate the mapping process, as well as the possibility of interfacing
additional sensors to PowerBot, such as an inertial measurement unit
(IMU) to enhance localization. There are numerous practical applications
for a robot with the capabilities mentioned above. These include, but are
not limited to: delivery robots in urban environments, and robotic guides in
museums and city centres.

Project
Objective(s):

Investigate various mapping processes to identify the most suited for


the task at hand and produce a map of the test environment.
Study the possibility of developing the code in a robot programming
framework, such as ROS.
Test Powerbots native localization performance, and consider the
possibility of interfacing an IMU to improve it.
Study, implement and test algorithms for robot localization and
navigation in urban environments.
Test and evaluate the performance of the complete system.

Project Resources

Indicate source of funds: UOM internal research grant


Equipment/Software/Literature: PowerBot mobile robot (available);
battery-operated/USB-powered monitor for PowerBot, IMU
(available), and possibly electronic components to build interface
circuitry.

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Literature and theoretical review on mobile robot autonomous


navigation in urban environments.
A reliable map of the test environment.
The integrated navigation system on PowerBot.
Evaluation and testing.

Student
background /
interest:

Control systems, signal processing and robotics.


Computer programming (MATLAB and C++).
Electronics and computer interfacing.
Knowledge in Linux is an asset but not a requirement.

IP Issues:

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues:

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

A BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACE FOR RAPID IMAGE


SEARCHING
Supervisor(s):

Dr. Owen Falzon, owen.falzon@um.edu.mt, Centre for Biomedical


Cybernetics

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Prof. Kenneth P. Camilleri kenneth.camilleri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of


Systems and Control Engineering

Problem
Background

Despite the huge advances in the field of computer vision, the


performance of existing computer vision algorithms for object recognition
still lags behind that of the human vision system. Object recognition in
the human vision system is generally reliable even when the object of
interest is viewed at different scales and orientations or under different
lighting conditions. This recognition of objects of interest is also
accompanied by identifiable brain activity patterns.
By exploiting the efficiency of the human vision system for object
recognition and computer processing power for the processing and
analysis of the brain activity elicited during such object recognition, a
brain-computer interface for the rapid detection of objects of interest can
be developed.
The aim of this project is to develop a brain-computer interface sysem
where the users brain activity is analysed to automatically flag images of
interest from a sequence of images that are rapidly shown to the user.

A review of the existing literature in relation to brain-computer


interfaces for rapid image searching.
The development of an EEG-based brain-computer interface system
for the automatic detection of objects of interest during the rapid
presentation of a sequence of images.

Project Resources

Emotiv EEG equipment


g.tec EEG equipment

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Project
Objective(s):

A review of the existing literature on rapid image searching using


brain-computer interfaces.
The implementation of selected algorithms for the processing and
classification of EEG data for the detection of images of interest.
A brain-computer interface system for rapid image searching.
An evaluation of the performance of the implemented system.

Student
background /
interest:

A background in signal processing is required.


Knowledge of Matlab is required.

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project involves human subjects: the study will involve the
acquisition of EEG data from human subjects.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

AN EEG-BASED BIOMETRIC SYSTEM


Supervisor(s):

Dr. Owen Falzon, owen.falzon@um.edu.mt, Centre for Biomedical


Cybernetics

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

In recent years there has been an increasing interest in biometric systems


that rely on electroencephalography (EEG), i.e. recordings of electrical
brain activity, for person authentication or identification because of the
increased security and privacy such systems can offer when compared to
conventional biometric systems. When compared to other biometric
measures such as fingerprint scans, iris scans or voice recognition
systems, EEG signals are more difficult to replicate artificially for the
purpose of fraud. Furthermore, with the development of low-cost EEG
acquisition setups that utilise dry electrodes and that only require a
minimal amount of time for setting up, EEG-based biometry is becoming
more feasible to implement in practical setups.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

A review of the existing literature in relation to EEG-based biometry


systems.
The development of an EEG-based biometry system for person
identification or authentication.
g.tec EEG equipment

A review of the existing literature on EEG-based biometry systems


The implementation of selected algorithms for the processing and
classification of EEG data for person authentication.
An evaluation of the performance of the implemented system.

Student
background /
interest:

A background in signal processing is required.


Knowledge of Matlab is required.

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project involves human subjects: the study will involve the
acquisition of EEG data from human subjects.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

FOETAL THERMOGRAPHY
Supervisor(s):

Dr. Owen Falzon, owen.falzon@um.edu.mt, Centre for Biomedical


Cybernetics

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

During pregnancy the foetus is immersed in a fluid, known as the amniotic


fluid, that protects the developing baby. The volume of this fluid is
monitored during the course of the pregnancy because it is indicative of
the foetus state of health. For this purpose a measure known as the
amniotic fluid index (AFI) is typically obtained from a number of
ultrasonography scans. However, this approach using ultrasonography
has a number of drawbacks and the AFI obtained in this manner typically
has a wide margin of error.
The idea behind this project is to analyse surface heat images acquired
from the abdominal region of pregnant women using thermography. An
analysis of the heat patterns acquired will be carried out in order to
determine whether thermography can provide an alternative or
complementary measure to the AFI obtained using ultrasonography.

Project
Objective(s):

A review of the existing literature in relation to foetal thermography.


The analysis of thermal images to measure the volume of amniotic
fluid in a pregnant uterus.

Project Resources

FLIR SC7200 thermal camera

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

A review of the existing literature on the use of thermography for


monitoring of the pregnant uterus.
Analysis of thermal patterns acquired from the abdominal region of
pregnant women to determine correlations between temperature
patterns and the AFI.

Student
background /
interest:

Preferably a background in signal and image processing.


Knowledge of Matlab is required.

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project involves human subjects: the study will involve the
acquisition and use of thermal images from human subjects.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

EYE-IN-HAND VISUAL SERVOING WITH A ROBOTIC ARM


Supervisor(s):

Prof. Simon G. Fabri, simon.fabri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems &


Control Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Prof. Kenneth P. Camilleri, kenneth.camilleri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of


Systems & Control Engineering

Problem
Background:

Visual servoing deals with the use of video from cameras as feedback
information to control the position or pose of a robot in real time. When
applied for control of a robotic arm, 2 main different configurations may be
used: eye-in-hand or eye-to-hand. In the former, the camera(s) is fixed on
the arm and moves along with it. When applied for automated assembly,
the camera mounted on the robotic arm is used to identify objects of
interest that are randomly placed within the arms workspace so that it
picks them up sequentially and places them in an ordered manner to
assemble a given construct. This represents the main objective of this
project: an eye-in-hand robotic arm configuration for pick and place tasks
in automated assembly.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources:

Industrial Partners:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues:

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues:

N/A

Design and assembly of suitable eye-in-hand camera mounts for the


CRS robotic arm available in the Control Systems Lab.
Selection and interface of appropriate cameras with the vision
processing hardware.
The design, implementation and testing of image processing and
visual servoing control algorithms for the manipulator, including the
pick and place tasks.
Overall implementation and testing of the eye-in-hand closed loop
control system for the system exhibiting visual servoing with pick and
place for assembly.
Robotic manipulator and gripper (available), video cameras
(available), PC and robot interface (available), control development
software (available).

Literature and theoretical review on visual servoing.


Modelling and simulation studies for such systems.
Design and implementation of the image processing and servoing
algorithms for pick and place control of the manipulator.
Complete integration and full physical testing of the systems
performance.
Computer interfacing
Image processing
Control systems
System modeling and robotics
Matlab/Simulink

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

System Integration and Control of a Mini Robotic Manipulator


Supervisor(s):

Prof. Simon G. Fabri, simon.fabri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems &


Control Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background:

Previous projects have resulted in the construction of a mechanical


structure for a four degrees-of-freedom mini robotic manipulator with a
parallel jaw gripper, currently available in the Control Systems Laboratory.
The mechanical set-up as currently configured has never been fully
integrated to form a complete computer controlled closed loop robotic
system. The main aim of this project would thus be to design, implement
and test the electronic interface circuitry and a number of control
algorithms for this manipulator using dSPACE control processor boards.
An evaluation of the present set up and the sensors/actuators would also
need to be performed and, if necessary, adjusted or improved.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources:

Industrial Partners:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues:

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues:

N/A

An evaluation of the current mini robotic manipulator structure and its


sensors and motors.
The design and implementation of electronic circuitry to connect the
manipulator to dSPACE control board available in the Control Lab.
The design, implementation and testing of various position and
gripping control algorithms for the manipulator.
Indicate source of funds: UoM research grant
dSPACE control interface boards (available), PC with Matlab/Simulink
and control software (available), manipulator mechanical structure
with motors and encoders (available), components for construction of
the electronic interface circuits.

Literature and theoretical review on robot manipulator control.


Modelling and simulation studies for control of such systems.
Design and construction of the interface circuitry between the
manipulator and the dSPACE control board.
Design and implementation of closed loop algorithms for position and
gripping control of the manipulator.
Complete integration and full physical testing of the systems control
performance.
Computer interfacing
Control systems
System modeling and robotics
Matlab/Simulink

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

CONTROLLING A COMPUTER APPLICATION USING EOG


SIGNALS
Supervisor(s):

Dr Tracey Camilleri, tracey.camilleri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems &


Control Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

In recent years there has been a lot of work towards the development of
communication systems between the computer and the human being,
known as human computer interface (HCI) systems. Instead of using
standard control inputs such as a keyboard, mouse or joystick, new
modalities based on bio-signals are also being considered, offering an
alternative means of communication not only for healthy individuals but
also for those with disabilities.
One natural way of communicating with a machine is through eye
movements. There are various modalities of recording eye movements
including
eye-gaze
trackers,
videooculography
(VOG)
and
electrooculography (EOG). This work considers the latter approach
whereby eye movements are recorded non-invasively through electrodes
placed in the vicinity of the eye. Processing of the EOG signals in realtime can then be used to control a computer application, which involves
for example the selection of icons or cursor control.

Project
Objective(s):

Record EOG signals while subjects focus at specific locations on a


computer screen.
Implement algorithms to process the recorded EOG signals and
detect the different types of eye movements being performed.
Develop a computer application that is controlled solely through eye
movements.
Compare results with those obtained using an eye-gaze tracker.

Project Resources

The EOG recording equipment is available in the biomedical


engineering laboratory.

Expected Project
Deliverables:

A literature review of signal processing techniques for the detection of


different eye movements.
Implementation of algorithms to detect at which position the subject is
gazing when looking at a computer screen.
A computer application controlled by eye movements.

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project involves human subjects; EOG data will be recorded from
human subjects through a set of non-invasive electrodes placed around
the eyes. Note that this project is covered through UREC form ENG
004/2012.

Students are expected to be proficient in signal processing and have


an interest in biomedical engineering.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

EMG BASED CONTROL OF A ROBOTIC ARM IN 3D SPACE


Supervisor(s):

Dr Tracey Camilleri, tracey.camilleri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems &


Control Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Dr Ing. Marvin Bugeja, marvin.bugeja@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems &


Control Engineering

Problem
Background

Electromyographic (EMG) signals record the electrical activity of muscles


and can be recorded non-invasively using surface electrodes that are
placed on the skin, on top of the muscle belly. These signals can be used
to control external devices such as prostheses where the muscle activity
is recorded in real-time, processed and used to control the various
degrees of freedom of the prosthesis. When it comes to upper limb
prosthesis, commercial systems control these different degrees of
freedom sequentially. The movement in this case is rather unnatural and
hence current research is focusing on techniques that allow for
continuous and smooth myoelectric control whereby different movements
of the shoulder, elbow and wrist can be carried out simultaneously.

Project
Objective(s):

The goal of this project is to control a robotic arm using EMG signals,
taking into consideration the simultaneous control of multiple degrees of
freedom as well as the time varying nature of the EMG signal. Using a
robotic arm to mimic a human upper limb prosthesis, the recorded EMG
signals are to be mapped into joint angles which will be used to control
the three dimensional motion of a robotic arm in real-time.
This project follows from two previous final year projects that focused on
the control of the robotic arm in two-dimensional space and measured
changes in the recorded EMG signals as a result of fatigue. The next
step is to extend the movement to 3D space and modify the current
computational model that maps the muscle activity into corresponding
joint angles to also consider the time varying parameters of the signal,
thus guaranteeing a smooth control of the robotic arm.

Project Resources

The equipment needed for this project is available within the SCE
Department and includes the:
Robotic Arm
Position tracking system
Surface EMG electrodes

Expected Project
Deliverables:

A dataset which consists of the recording of EMG and position


tracking data during upper limb movements in 3D space.
A computational model that can convert the EMG data into the
respective joint angles and which takes into consideration the time
varying nature of the EMG signals.
A system that allows for the continuous, simultaneous control of
various degrees of freedom of the robotic arm in 3D space over a
reasonable time span.

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project involves human subjects; please specify.


Note that this project is covered through UREC form ENG 004/2012

Interested students are expected to be proficient in signal processing


and control systems. Interest in biomedical engineering will also be of
value.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

REDUCING TRAINING TIME IN SSVEP BASED BCI SYSTEMS


Supervisor(s):

Dr Tracey Camilleri, tracey.camilleri@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Systems &


Control Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

A brain computer interface (BCI) system allows an individual to


communicate with a computer or machine in real-time using his/her brain
signals, typically recorded non-invasively using an electroencephalogram
(EEG). In an SSVEP-based BCI a set of simultaneously flickering light
sources are presented to the user. When the subject attends to one of
these flickering stimuli a steady state visually evoked potential (SSVEP) is
generated with spectral characteristics matching those of the flickering
light. Thus processing of the recorded EEG signals can distinguish
between the different brain patterns that are generated when attending to
the different stimuli and used as control signals to communicate with a
computer.
Recently a brain controlled music player application that works on the
same principles has been developed. In this case, the music player is
controlled not through the standard approach of pressing buttons, but
rather through brain signals that are recorded while the user attends to
one of a set of flickering stimuli. A limitation of these systems which
impacts their everyday use, is the extensive user training needed for the
system to learn the users brain patterns and classify signals accordingly.
In view of this, this project aims at identifying techniques that can reduce
the user training without affecting the classification performance of the
brain computer interface system.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Expected Project
Deliverables:

To carry out a literature review to identify techniques that can be used


to minimize the training period needed in an SSVEP-based BCI setup.
Identify the suitability of these techniques for the brain controlled
music player application.
Implement one of these techniques and compare performance of
controlling the music player with the current setup.
Testing of the upgraded music player on different users.
EEG recording equipment is available in the biomedical engineering
laboratory.
All signal processing with be carried out in Matlab.
Literature review of current developments in trying to reduce the
training sessions in brain computer interface systems.
Development of a system that can learn the users brain patterns from
little training data and which possibly adapts itself while the subject is
using the SSVEP-based BCI.
An upgraded brain controlled music player which requires less
training than the current system.

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

The project involves human subjects; please specify.


Note that this project is covered through UREC form ENG 001/2011

Students are expected to be proficient in signal processing and have


an interest in biomedical engineering.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

COMPRESSION OF DEPTH INFORMATION IN 3D VIDEO


TRANSMISSION
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Ing. Carl James Debono, carl.debono@um.edu.mt, Department of


Communications and Computer Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Transmission of 3D video and Free-viewpoint applications are intended to


provide an immersive multimedia experience. In order to support this
depth map information is essential to reduce the texture videos and allow
high quality reconstructions. This information still occupies channel space
and, since the channel bandwidth is a limited resource, adequate
compression is needed. This project will look into alternative coding
techniques for the depth videos.

Project
Objective(s):

Understand the requirements for depth map transmission


Develop a coding scheme to reduce the size of the data and/or the
time of encoding
Compare the results achieved with the standard and literature

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Software developed
Simulation results
Analysis of results
Write-up

Student
background /
interest:

Programming
Image processing
Multimedia communications

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Equipment/Software/Literature: Visual Studio .NET, Matlab, IEEE


publications
None

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

MPEG-DASH VIDEO DELIVERY IN VANETS


Supervisor(s):

Prof. Ing. Carl James Debono, carl.debono@um.edu.mt, Department of


Communications and Computer Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANETs) is a technology that is expected to


provide a variety of services, including video content. This video content
can be in the form of entertainment for passengers or other services such
as road traffic conditions. HTTP streaming is evolving into the main
approach for delivery of multimedia content over the Internet Protocol.
MPEG-DASH allows for dynamic adaptation of the streams according to
channel conditions and is driven by the client demands. This project will
study the feasibility of this video delivery technique in VANETs.

Project
Objective(s):

Study the feasibility of using MPEG-DASH in VANETs


Develop a prototype using open source simulators
Compare the results achieved with literature

Project Resources

Equipment/Software/Literature: SUMO, OMNET++, IEEE publications

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Software developed
Simulation results
Analysis of results
Write-up

Student
background /
interest:

Programming
Networks
Multimedia communications

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

GESTURE RECOGNITION WITH MICROSOFT KINECT


Supervisor(s):

Prof. Ing. Carl James Debono, carl.debono@um.edu.mt, Department of


Communications and Computer Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

Prof. Ing. Adrian Muscat, adrian.muscat@um.edu.mt, Department of


Communications and Computer Engineering

Problem
Background

Gestures can be used as a means of communication and signaling.


Recognition of gestures is important in computer vision systems as it
opens up to a number of possible applications. These include: control of
devices, human abnormal behavior, interfacing to software applications,

and many others. The Kinect incorporates both a camera and a depth
sensor. This sensor provides additional data that can help in better
classifying and identifying gestures.

Project
Objective(s):

Understand the relationship between the colour and the depth


Design and implement algorithms to identify and classify gestures
Apply machine learning solutions to speed-up the algorithms
Perform experiments to determine the statistical accuracy of the
developed solution

Project Resources

Indicate source of funds: Kinect available


Equipment/Software/Literature: OpenCV, Matlab, IEEE publications

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Software / Hardware developed


Experimental results
Analysis of results
Write-up

Student
background /
interest:

Programming
Computer Vision
Intelligent Systems

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

IMPLEMENTATION AND COMPARISON OF DATA EMBEDDING


ALGORITHMS
Supervisor(s):

Dr Johann A. Briffa, johann.briffa@um.edu.mt, Department of


Communications and Computer Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Spatial-domain information hiding in images consists in the modification


of pixel data in order to represent some message sequence. The
resistance of each embedding method to lossy image compression
schemes (such as JPEG) and the detectability of the embedding have a
direct impact on the usability of these schemes. This project is researchoriented, and has potential for publication.

Project
Objective(s):

Investigate the relationship between the parameters for the hidden


information (such as message length, embedding strength, etc.) and
the resistance to image compression and detectability

Project Resources

Equipment/Software/Literature: for a preliminary reading list please


get in touch with the supervisor

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

N/A

Project report
Software implementation allowing reproduction of experiments
performed
Data set with input used for experiments and results obtained
Interest in information hiding.
Some knowledge of digital imaging fundamentals.
Aptitude and willingness to program (the project is likely to use a
selection of languages, including C++ and Python).

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

ALGORITHM IMPLEMENTATION ON HIGHLY PARALLEL


ARCHITECTURES
Supervisor(s):

Dr Johann A. Briffa, johann.briffa@um.edu.mt, Department of


Communications and Computer Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

CUDA is an interface for general-purpose programming on Graphical


Processing Units (GPUs) from NVIDIA. The architecture of GPUs
emphasises massive parallelism of arithmetic units at the expense of
control units and memory caching. This allows a very high speed-up for
classes of computationally-intensive data-parallel problems, often found
in scientific computing. This is an implementation project, with a
significant research orientation.

Project
Objective(s):

Implement a compute-intensive algorithm on GPUs; suitable


algorithms to be discussed with supervisor

Project Resources

Equipment/Software/Literature: for a preliminary reading list please


get in touch with the supervisor

Industrial Partners
involved:

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

N/A

Project report
Software implementation allowing reproduction of experiments
performed
Data set with input used for experiments and results obtained
Interest in parallel computing.
Aptitude and willingness to program (the project requires the use of
C++ and NVIDIA CUDA; prior OO development experience in another
language is suitable).

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

HIGH DENSITY 2D BARCODES


Supervisor(s):

Dr Johann A. Briffa, johann.briffa@um.edu.mt, Department of


Communications and Computer Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

A number of standards for 2D barcodes exist, which allow the encoding of


more data (in the same physical space) than conventional 1D barcodes.
Various companies, including Microsoft and HP, have shown interest in
techniques that increase the encoding density that is, the amount of
data that can be encoded per unit area. Other researchers have also
used techniques from watermarking and steganography to create
barcodes that do not look random. This project is research-oriented, and
has potential for publication.

Project
Objective(s):

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Investigate existing standards and proposed techniques, comparing


their embedding density and decoding reliability
It is expected that some of these techniques will need to be
implemented and tested
Another option in this project is to implement a reader for a specific
system on an embedded or portable device (such as a mobile phone)
Equipment/Software/Literature: for a preliminary reading list please
get in touch with the supervisor

Project report
Software implementation allowing reproduction of experiments
performed
Data set with input used for experiments and results obtained
Interest in information hiding.
Some knowledge of digital imaging fundamentals.
Aptitude and willingness to program (the project is likely to use a
selection of languages, including C++ and Python).
For a portable system implementation, knowledge of Java and
Android development would be helpful.

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

INFORMATION HIDING USING IMPERCEPTIBLE YELLOW PRINTER


DOTS
Supervisor(s):

Dr Johann A. Briffa, johann.briffa@um.edu.mt, Department of


Communications and Computer Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Since the introduction of high quality colour laser printers, the US


Government has required colour laser printouts to imperceptibly embed
document tracking information. This has been achieved by creating an
imperceptible grid of tiny yellow dots across the page. Yellow dots are
used to take advantage of a weakness in the human visual system that
makes seeing yellow on white difficult. If the dots need to be extracted, a
blue light can be shone on page, resulting in the dots becoming visible,
and thus enabling manual detection. Our previous work has
demonstrated that the same technique can be used to embed arbitrary
data, which can then be automatically extracted after printing and
scanning. This project is challenging, heavily research based and would
aim to produce a publication.

Project
Objective(s):

This project will look to continue our previous work in this area. There are
two possible streams that could be looked at.

Optimising the placement of the yellow dots in order to both reduce


errors and increase capacity. This may also involve looking at
whether it is possible to interleave our dots with those printed by the
laser printer itself currently we print our documents on ink jet
printers that do not print their own yellow dots. This is a more practical
based approach and will involve conducting extensive testing and
require good programming skills to implement any changes.

A more theoretical approach would look at optimising the error


correction code currently used. We initially used a naive error
correction code as proof of concept, however, there is substantial
scope for optimisation. This would involve both conducting tests to
evaluate the characteristics of the channel (printing and scanning
documents to determine error rates) as well as constructing a more
optimised error correction code.

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

Equipment/Software/Literature: for a preliminary reading list please


get in touch with the supervisor

Project report
Software implementation allowing reproduction of experiments
performed
Data set with input used for experiments and results obtained

Interest in information hiding


Willingness to program the current implementation is in Java, so
good Java skills are essential
For stream 2 a background in mathematics or error coding is
desirable

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

UPDATES TO DISTRIBUTED SIMULATOR FOR COMMUNICATIONS


SYSTEMS
Supervisor(s):

Dr Johann A. Briffa, johann.briffa@um.edu.mt, Department of


Communications and Computer Engineering

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

SimCommSys is a multi-platform distributed Monte Carlo simulator for


communication systems. The error control coding component implements
various kinds of binary and non-binary codes, including turbo, LDPC,
repeat-accumulate, and Reed-Solomon. This code base has been in
continuous development since 1997, and currently weighs in at over 45
700 physical lines of code, written by Dr Briffa and collaborators. The
distributed computing component of this code uses a client/server
architecture built on TCP/IP to facilitate running simulations on grid
resources; this also works well on local clusters.

Project
Objective(s):

This project will look to extend the existing code base, continuing our
previous work in this area. Various extensions could be looked at,
including:

Writing a cross-platform GUI for the simulator (i.e. writing software to


create and edit simulation files in a user-friendly way).

Writing a back-end / middle-ware for matching resources with


simulations.

Adding a result validation component to confirm simulation


reproducibility and facilitate the use of public computing.

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Student
background /
interest:

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Equipment/Software/Literature: for a preliminary reading list please


get in touch with the supervisor
SimCommSys can be found at
https://github.com/jbresearch/simcommsys

Project report
Software implementation allowing reproduction of experiments
performed
Data set with input used for experiments and results obtained

Interest in low-level computing issues and parallel computing.


Aptitude and willingness to program (the project requires the use of
C++; prior OO development experience in another language is
suitable).

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

MODELLING AND SIMULATION OF A PLL-BASED TRANSMITTER


FOR GSM
Supervisor(s):

Dr Ing. Owen Casha, owen.casha@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Microelectronics and


Nanoelectronics

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Conventional GSM transmitters utilise quadrature amplitude modulation


(QAM) with in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) signals that are mixed with a local
oscillator operating at the carrier frequency. This method, although viable,
requires mixers, filters and D/A converters to up-convert the base-band I and
Q signals to the RF carrier frequency. It is difficult to realise the required
analogue filters in monolithic form so the system becomes complex and
costly. A cheaper and simpler solution may be achieved by direct modulation
of a high resolution sigma-delta frequency synthesizer as shown below.

Direct modulation of a sigma-delta frequency synthesizer

Project
Objective(s):

The aim of this project is to develop and optimise a MATLAB model to aid the
design of a PLL-based Transmitter. Using the predictions provided by this
model, a number of circuit blocks required for the PLL are designed for a
GSM application.
The following are the specifications targeted for this design:
Frequency Band (DCS): 1710.2 MHz to 1784.8 MHz
Channel Spacing: 200 kHz
Tolerated Frequency Error: 0.1 ppm

RMS Phase Error: 3


Phase Noise: -112 dBc/Hz @ 400 kHz and -154 dBc/Hz @ 20 MHz
Settling Time: 245 s
Data Rate: 270.833 kbits/s
Modulation: GMSK

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Access to IEEE Journal Papers


MATLAB
Cadence

Literature Review
Development and optimisation of a MATLAB model of a PLL-Based
Transmitter
Design and optimisation of particular circuit blocks of the PLL such as the
VCO, GMSK filter and Sigma Delta Modulator

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

Simulation and Testing

Student
background /
interest:

Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design


Modelling and Simulation
Control Theory
Verilog or VHDL

IP Issues

N/A

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

DESIGN OF A MULTISTAGE NOISE SHAPING (MASH) CONVERTER


USING THE 0.18 M CMOS PROCESS
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Ivan Grech, ivan.grech@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Microelectronics and


Nanoelectronics

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

ADCs are an important element for most systems in order to interface the
analogue sensors to the digital processing section. Noise-shaping
converters are widely used since they rely on low-precision components
and can still achieve high resolution. The multistage approach achieves
high order noise filtering using only 1st and 2nd order closed loop
modulators, eliminating problems with stability.

Project
Objective(s):

The scope of this project is to design a 1-1-1 or a 2-1 noise shaping


converter using the 0.18 m AMS CMOS process.

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Literature review on MASH conveters


Design of ADC building blocks and simulation results

Student
background /
Interest:

Analogue circuit design

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Cadence with AMS 0.18m hit kit (available).

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

DESIGN OF MEMS-BASED RESONATORS


Supervisor(s):

Prof. Ivan Grech, ivan.grech@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Microelectronics and


Nanoelectronics

Co-supervisor (if
any):
Problem
Background

N/A

Project
Objective(s):

MEMS resonators offer high quality (narrow band) response and also
compatibility with CMOS processes. Furthermore, by appropriate choice
of the resonant modes and electrode placement, it is possible to achieve
balanced/unbalanced port termination, which greatly opens the
application field of such resonators.

Choice of appropriate drive/sense transduction mechanism (piezo /


electrostatic)
Design of basic resonator structures (1 or 2 port) including Q-factor
characterization
Analysis of unbalanced/balanced port topologies
Analysis of resonators for impedance transformation
Analysis of the possibility of fine tuning using appropriate DC bias

Project Resources

Coventor or ANSYS FEM software (available)

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Literature review on MEMS resonators


Design and simulation of simple 1 or 2 port resonators
Design and simulation of balanced/unbalanced port resonators
Design and simulation of resonators intended for impedance
transformation
Analysis of the possibility of fine tuning via DC bias

Student
background /
Interest:

Analogue circuit design


MEMS design

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

AUDITORY PROCESSING MODELLING USING FPGAS


(CONTINUATION)
Supervisor(s):

Prof. Ivan Grech, ivan.grech@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Microelectronics and


Nanoelectronics

Co-supervisor (if
any):
Problem
Background

N/A

Project
Objective(s):

The objective of this project is to model auditory processing which takes


place in the auditory nerve using FPGA hardware. Such processing
includes, auto-correlation, cross correlation and peak detection in order to
extract pitch information and localization cues Automatic gain control in
the inner ear will also be modeled. The digital system should extract
monaural and binaural cues which can be used for sound source
localisation.

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

The inner ear structure, referred to as the cochlea performs important


spectral analysis of the incoming audio signal whose output is further
processed by the auditory pathway and the brain in order to performs
tasks such as speech recognition and sound localization. Traditionally,
silicon models of the cochlea were designed using analogue hardware.
However, todays FPGAs can compete in speed with analogue systems,
with the added advantage of higher precision and flexibility, making FPGA
implementation of cochlea models an attractive solution. A digital model
of the inner ear has already been developed in a previous FYPs. The
scope of this project is to add further processing capability as well as post
auditory signal processing for pitch and localization cues extraction.

Student
background /
interest:

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

Xilinx ISE Foundation Series


MATLAB
ModelSim
FPGA Evaluation board

Literature review of cochlea and post-cochlea processing with


emphasis on digital implementations
Design of the HDL code for the cochlea and auditory pathway
modeling
Simulation Results.
VHDL/ FPGA programming
Familiarity with Xilinx ISE Foundation Series / Modelsim

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

HARDWARE HMM FOR SPEECH RECOGNITION


Supervisor(s):

Prof Edward Gatt, edward.gatt@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Microelectronics and


Nanoelectronics

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background and
Objectives

Hidden Markov Models have long been established for speech recognition.
However, dedicated hardware to speed up processing is still being
developed.

Project Resources

FPGA Board
Matlab

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

FPGA Implementation processor for fast computation of HMMs

Student
background /
interest:

Signal Processing
FPGA Design

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

SIGMA-DELTA ADC FOR BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS


Supervisor(s):

Prof Edward Gatt, edward.gatt@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Microelectronics and


Nanoelectronics

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background and
Objectives

The performance of biomedical data acquisition systems is generally


limited by precision of the digital input data, which is achieved at the
interface between analog and digital signals. The recent developments in
digital VLSI technologies provide the practical means to implement the
Sigma-Delta analogue-to-digital converters (ADCs). The increasing use of
digital techniques in biomedical data acquisition systems has also
contributed to the recent interest in cost effective high precision ADCs.
Sigma-delta modulation based on analog-to-digital conversion technology
is cost effective alternative for high resolution (greater than 14 bits)
converts, which can be ultimately integrated on digital signal processor ICs

Cadence Software
Matlab

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Analogue Chip Design for Sigma-Delta ADC

Student
background /
interest:

Signal Processing
VLSI Design

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

N/A

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal

HARDWARE FOR SUPPORT VECTOR MACHINES


Supervisor(s):

Prof Edward Gatt, edward.gatt@um.edu.mt, Dept. of Microelectronics and


Nanoelectronics

Co-supervisor (if
any):

N/A

Problem
Background

Support Vector Machines, invented by the Russian Vladimir Vapnik, are


probably best explained by considering the input samples as being
mapped in some arbitrary sample space. The dimension of the sample
space will be equal to the number of attributes associated with the input
samples. Once the data is mapped to the sample space, the objective of
the SVM algorithm is to manage to fit a separator in order to detach
samples of the same class from the remaining samples. This happens
during the learning stage which for SVMs is normally a supervised type.
The samples from each class which are nearest to the separator are
called support vectors as these affect the position of the separator. The
position of the separator is optimised so that the distance between itself
and any support vector of each class is increased as much as possible.
Finally, classification is done according to the position a new sample lies
with respect to the separator.

Project
Objective(s):

To implement functional blocks which can be integrated to create SVM


systems for recognition.

Project Resources

Industrial Partners
involved:

N/A

Expected Project
Deliverables:

Modelling of the system on Matlab


Code and simulation on modelsim of the code
Synthesis of the Design on an FPGA board
Real live performance

Student
background /
Interest:

VHDL

Ethical and Data


Protection Issues

N/A

PC
Modelsim
FPGA Board
Xilinx Software ISE and Chipscope Pro
Matlab

Faculty of Engineering, Final Year Project Proposal