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.
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