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ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING CAPSTONE DESIGN PROJECTS
  • Electrical Engineering Capstone Overview


    During their senior year, Electrical Engineering (EE) cadets take a two-semester capstone design course, mainly Capstone Projects in Electrical Engineering I and II (1426/1436). The focus of these two courses is to teach the students the skills and concepts needed to succeed as a Coast Guard project engineer and project manager. Classroom discussions cover the engineering design process including needs identification, system requirements, system reliability, budgeting and scheduling. Additional topics include engineering ethics, society and technology, and contemporary electrical and computer engineering topics. Field trips to Coast Guard labs and project-related trips to various locations are included in the courses.

    In the lab, cadets form teams of two to three students and conduct a two-semester major engineering design project. Working as an apprentice engineer alongside faculty members, Coast Guard sponsors, and contractors as part of a small Coast Guard project team, students are confronted with real-world engineering problems that require formal resolution with no predetermined outcome. A typical project includes requirements definition; computer programming; computer algorithm design and system implementation; data gathering and analysis; and presentation of results in a formal paper and oral presentation.

    At the culmination of the capstone experience, the EE cadets get an opportunity to formally present their work to Academy faculty and to professionals from Coast Guard Headquarters and various Coast Guard engineering commands.

  • 2014-2015 Capstone Projects


    Direction Finding of Spread Spectrum (SS) Signals: This project aims to solve the need for CG assets to have the ability to direction find on SS signals such as the new signal proposed for the 406 MHz Search and Rescue Satellite (SARSAT) system to augment search and rescue operations. Students will design and build a data acquisition system capable of estimating the direction of arrival of SS signals using both FFT and de-spreading methods, use a Software Defined Radio (SDR) to transmit and receive test signals and demonstrate proof of concept, and design algorithms to extract information from simulated beacon messages.
    Cadets: 1/c Siders, 1/c Law
    Advisor: Dr. Crilly

    Field Response Emergency Deployable (FRED): This project seeks to develop a low-cost, lightweight, portable system to aid in field analysis of data from USCG Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) reference stations. Students will design a working DGPS receiver using Software Defined Radio (SDR) methods and prototype the system using a Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) and MATLAB for signal processing.
    Cadets: 1/c Greene, 1/c Santrach
    Advisor: Dr. Reza

    Robust Dynamic Positioning and Data Acquisition Systems: Rising failures of shipboard dynamic positioning systems due to computer, electrical, or thruster issues are of concern. The USCG Marine Safety Center (MSC) has taken note of the upward trends in investigations of marine incidents. Students will build and outfit a water‐borne platform and design and create a data acquisition system to test dynamic position failures. Students will then explore ways to model and better understand the mechanics of failures due to loss of reference position, loss of motor drive, and loss of thruster.
    Cadets: 1/c Hoburg, 1/c Meyers
    Advisor: Dr. Emami

    GNSS Software Defined Radio (SDR):The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center (NAVCEN) is the primary U.S government interface with GPS users on behalf of the U.S. Air Force which operates GPS. NAVCEN seeks to monitor the performance of current and future GPS signals and the USCGA EE section needs a platform to test GPS algorithms. A Software Defined Radio (SDR) GNSS receiver in which all of the baseband processing is performed in software instead of hardware allows for tremendous flexibility in the receiver. This flexibility can be used to add new signals for monitoring and to change receiver algorithms for testing. The objective of this project is to build a SDR GNSS receiver in MATLAB for post-processing legacy GPS L1 C/A signals which can then easily be expanded to include other GNSS signals. A radio frequency (RF) front-end will be needed to receive and digitize the GNSS data. Upon successful implementation, the options for shifting to a real-time system will be investigated.
    Cadets: 1/c Palenzuela, 1/c Pilarski
    Advisor: LCDR Seals

    Enhanced Location Aware/Tracking Via Low Powered Sensor Devices: Explore the use of Near Field Comms (NFC), low power Bluetooth, iBeacon or other technology to enable the CG to track employees and visitors on CG properties. In today’s environment, it is important more than ever to ensure we know where personnel are during an emergency situation. This project would research current technology and provide a small scale solution in Mac Hall that uses sensors and some sort of software interface to display personnel in Mac Hall on a building map. Students will have to design, develop, integrate, and test their system.
    Cadets: 1/c Lutton, 1/c Hub
    Advisor: LCDR Armstrong

    SeaWatch Command and Control (C2) Software Development: C3CEN is the System Development Agent (SDA) and System Support Agent (SSA) for SeaWatch, the next generation C2 system for all USCG Cutters. They are in the process of developing SeaWatch v2.0, and require three software modules/applications to improve the robustness and security of the system. The three applications are system monitoring, front end GUI, and heartbeat. The project would be to design, develop, integrate and test these software modules for inclusion into SeaWatch 2.0 which would be installed on all USCG white hull platforms to include 378, 270, 210, 110, FRC and OPC.
    Cadets: 1/c Taylor, 1/c Edwards
    Advisor: LCDR Myers

    The Power Project:The power project is an exploration of power systems. Leveraging the Hampden lab equipment, cadets will construct a functioning generator switchboard with the capability of automatically paralleling up to three Hampden generators, balancing the real and reactive power, and automatically adding or removing generators as dictated by the load. Closed loop digital control systems will be implemented to adjust the speed of the prime mover (induction motor with variable frequency drive) and the generator’s field current to maintain a balance between all on-line machines. The system’s electrical frequency will also be time synchronized to GPS so that cadets may explore the reliance of the nation’s infrastructure on the GPS. A GUI operator interface will be constructed allowing simple control as well as advanced analysis of system operation. All data will be stored in a database for post analysis.
    Cadets: 1/c Sako, 1/c Campbell
    Advisor: LT Dahlen

    Embracing Today’s Internet Protocol: Network Layer 3 Modernization of the U.S Coast Guard (Secure IPV6):The world is slowly shifting from IPv4 to IPv6 network addressing. The Coast Guard’s C4&IT Strategic Plan 2011-2015 specifies that the Coast Guard will begin the transition of applications “to operate in an IPv6 environment” during FY2012. This project will research what IPv6 is, involve the cadets becoming subject matter experts on this protocol and especially its security capabilities, gain an understanding of the status of IPv6 migration at CGA and in the Coast Guard/DHS, build a mock-up IPv6 network in the Capstone Lab, design an IPv6 migration plan for CGA, and work with IS to carry out the migration of McAllister Hall to IPv6 while troubleshooting and resolving any and all issues that arise in the process.
    Cadets: 1/c Williamson, 1/c Hannon
    Advisor: LCDR Benin

    Autonomous Ground Vehicle (AGV) for Mac Hall: The Coast Guard needs personnel who understand data acquisition, sensor integration, video/image processing, and design of autonomous systems, as missions demand more use of autonomous systems (e.g. dynamic positioning systems, surveillance drones). The student will procure/build a small ground vehicle, determine a methodology for indoor navigation, and instrument the vehicle with sensors (laser, video, etc.) so that it is capable of navigating and performing an indoor surveillance mission autonomously.
    Cadets: 1/c Eager, 1/c Ray, 1/c Steinmiller
    Advisor: Dr. Hartnett

     

  • 2013-2014 Capstone Projects


    Dynamic Positioning Systems: Rising failures of shipboard dynamic positioning systems due to computer, electrical, or thruster issues are of concern. The USCG Marine Safety Center (MSC) has taken note of the upward trends in investigations of marine incidents. Students will build and outfit a water‐borne platform to test dynamic position failures. Students would then explore ways to model and better understand the mechanics of failures due to loss of reference position, loss of motor drive, and loss of thruster.
    Cadets: 1/c Palmieri, 1/c Gingrich, 1/c Hooymans
    Advisor: Dr. T. Emami

    Field Response Emergency Deployable (FRED): This project seeks to develop a low-cost, lightweight, portable system to aid in field analysis of data from USCG Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) reference stations. Students will design a working FPGA-based DGPS receiver to calculate measures of interest to DGPS system operators and maintenance personnel.
    Cadets: 1/c Magnuson, 1/c Keith, 1/c Hills
    Advisor: LT Dahlen

    Dynamic Stress Measurement of Ship’s Propeller Shaft: The objective of this project is to provide Coast Guard engineers and contractors with a tool to analyze the operation of a ship’s propeller shaft and associated equipment. Specifically, the EE cadets will construct a system that may be used to dynamically model the stress in a ship’s propeller shaft, perform dynamic modeling of a ship’s hull deformation while underway, verify proper shaft alignment, detect a bent shaft, characterize the condition of journal bearings, and analyze condition of the propeller.
    Cadets: 1/c Woodard, 1/c Harvey
    Advisor: LT Dahlen

    IEEE 1609 Influenced AIS: This project will examine the current Automatic Identification System (AIS) protocol used by ships around the world with an emphasis on identifying any weaknesses or vulnerabilities. It will then explore how the IEEE family of standards for secure vehicular communication could be adapted or applied to a future, more robust and secure, AIS.
    Cadets: 1/c Hall, 1/c Lee
    Advisor: LCDR Benin

    Smart Buoy with NMEA 2000 Data Recorder: This project will seek to design, build and employ a buoy system on the water that can sense weather and sea conditions. Through system integration techniques, cadets will implement a solution that will allow the buoy to gather various weather and sea data through the use of multiple sensors and store that data in an onboard recorder. The capability to retrieve the data wirelessly or through a real-time data streaming feed will also be explored.
    Cadets: 1/c McAndrew, 1/c Moreno, 1/c Ezzo
    Advisor: Dr. Hartnett

    Source Location Estimation Using Multiple Antenna Arrays: This project seeks to develop a solution for the detection of a particular source’s location in a region of interest using several antenna arrays scattered in that region. Results of this project can help the USCG to locate a repeated rescue‐21 hoax caller. This project has two parts. The first part involves the development of antenna arrays and their associated hardware. The second part involves the processing of the received data from several antenna arrays in a central location.
    Cadets: 1/c Truman, 1/c McGarry
    Advisor: Dr. Crilly

    Wireless Security and Ethical Hacking: This project seeks to develop a low-cost, automatic wireless security tool for USCG wireless networks. The tool will automatically scan for active networks, monitor and flag possible threat activity, and notify appropriate personnel to take further action. Students will focus on the development of automatic wireless security algorithms and their implementation on low-cost commercially available devices. The project will also focus on developing the tools to complete a denial of service attack in wireless networks starting from a rough overpowering of the spectrum to more elegant solutions that interrupt data flow.
    Cadets: 1/c Carts, 1/c Monahan
    Advisor: Dr. Sovereign

    Automatic Object Detection in Aerial Videos: This projects aims at developing a solution to detect various objects from aerial videos applicable to the USCG search and rescue mission. The main objective of this project is to assist the USCG search team in successfully locating objects on the high seas. The class of videos that will be considered in this project are videos obtained by USCG airplanes flying over the sea to locate several objects of interest, e.g. boats, fishing vessels, rafts, lifeboats, barges, etc. The project involves the design and development of algorithms that can be used to detect objects of interest from these videos and to optimize the algorithm by reducing the probability of error (mainly false negatives).
    Cadets: 1/c Swanberg, 1/c Kenney, 1/c Ferguson
    Advisor: Dr. Reza

    MK39 Gyro’s Inertial Navigation and Dynamic Measurements: This project seeks to study the USCG MK39 Gyro and determine if its inertial navigation and dynamic motion measurement capability can be used operationally within the Coast Guards newest Command and Control System, SEAWATCH. The objective is to use the MK39 as a backup and/or validity check to GPS fixes, Course Over Ground (COG) and Speed Over Ground (SOG). In addition, students will explore ways to use the MK39 data for other operations and record keeping.
    Cadets: 1/c Pratz, 1/c Arocho
    Advisor: LCDR Seals

  • 2012-2013 Capstone Projects


    Sailbot (Autonomous Sailboat): The project team worked together with students from the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering section to design, build, and test an autonomous sailboat. The sailboat was designed to compete in the International Sailbot Competition. Students from the Electrical Engineering section were responsible for the design of all navigational and robotic elements on the craft.
    Cadets: 1/c Kane and 1/c Williams
    Advisor: Dr. Hartnett

    Coordinated Autonomous Boating: This project employed autonomous assets to provide real‐time data to a central coordinating authority. Students modified scale‐model sailing vessels to sail autonomously under the control of an onboard computer. Students developed the sensor package and software needed to implement autonomous vessel‐to‐vessel communications. Students explored possible applications for a fleet of autonomous sailboats. This project focused on the sailing, navigation, asset coordination, and information sharing of three autonomous sailing vessels, assigned to gather data from a specific area.
    Cadets: 1/c Davis and 1/c Lemly
    Advisors: Dr. Freeman, Dr. Emami and Dr. Hartnett

    Dynamic Positioning Systems: Rising failures of shipboard dynamic positioning systems due to computer, electrical, or thruster issues are of concern. The USCG Marine Safety Center (MSC) has taken note of the upward trends in investigations of marine incidents. Students built and equipped a water‐borne platform to test dynamic position failures. Students explored ways to model and better understand the mechanics of failures due to loss of reference position, loss of motor drive, and loss of thruster.
    Cadets: 1/c Cogley, 1/c Paquette and 1/c Rehouma
    Advisors: Dr. Emami, LT Dahlen and Dr. Hartnett

    Field Response Emergency Deployable (FRED): This project involved the development a low-cost, lightweight, portable system to aid in field analysis of data from USCG Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) reference stations. Students designed a working FPGA-based DGPS receiver to calculate measures of interest to DGPS system operators and maintenance personnel.
    Cadets: 1/c Fuller, 1/c Leffler and 1/c Perez
    Advisor: Dr. Reza

    Wireless Security: This project sought to develop a low-cost, automatic wireless security tool for USCG wireless networks. The tool automatically scanned for active networks, monitor and flag possible threat activity, and notified appropriate personnel to take further action. Students focused on the development of automatic wireless security algorithms and their implementation on low-cost commercially-available devices.
    Cadets: 1/c Litts, 1/c Rauch and 1/c Weber
    Advisors: LT Kempe and Dr. Sovereign

    NMEA 2000 Data Recorder: The latest USCG small boats employ state-of-the-art NMEA 2000 sensors. The NMEA 2000 standard is significantly different from the previous NMEA 0183 standard. This project sought to develop a shipboard NMEA 2000 sensor data recorder to save various data for analysis. Students designed and tested a prototype NMEA 2000 sensor data recorder based on one of several popular microprocessors.
    Cadets: 1/c Lynne, 1/c Freivald and 1/c Bibb
    Advisor: LT Myers