2019-2020 ICS3U Independent Study Projects (ISPs)

Independent Study Projects. Please read our overview on why ACES pursue Independent Study Projects so vigorously.

To my mind, the characteristics of a great project include such aspects as imagination, creativity, a degree of risk and, sometimes, even simplicity, to name a few. Check out the flashlight circuit 'board' this guy made out of little more that a piece of paper and a pencil? Simple, but inspiring. Consider a problem that needs a solutions. Boyan Slat did at age 17 when he was in high school; four years later he is cleaning up the world's oceans. So, dig in, think, dream, research, and explore possible project pursuits. Be discerning: don't Commit to the first project that comes along. You'll be expected to maintain the progress of your ISP on your web page to enable everyone to follow your efforts so have your phone handy to at all times to capture the images of your journey. Be conscious of the fact that a multi-page summary of your project will appear in your DER after Presentation Day for more permanent record of your efforts. You may wish to take into account the ISP Evaluation document that will be applied on your Presentation Day.

Also, don't underestimate the value of an enterprise/entrepreneurial aspect to your project that could see a number of units of your project for sale in the Dragon's Lair or beyond, reaching an even a broader audience.

ACE 1 2 3 Medium ISP (6 weeks: Jan-Feb) Long ISP (8 weeks: Apr-May)
Atkinson S H D Foosball Scoreboard. This project will create a better way to keep score of a foosball game. Mountable onto any foosball table the centre console will have an 8by8 RGB matrix that will display the score of the game. The way the device will sense whether a goal has been scored is by using two independent circuits in each net. These circuit will have a battery, an attiny85, a sensor for sensing goals, and a nrf2401 to wirelessly transmit whether a goal has been scored. The centre console will have buttons making setting up the game a breeze Atkinson LED Controller. The Atkinson LED Controller will be a small device that allows a user to control your LED strip in a new way. The controller will have multiple functions. First, the user will be able to set the LED strip from their smartphone over WiFi. Next, the user will be able to put the controller into a disco mode. In this disco mode the controller will use a microphone paired with a MSGEQ7 to change the brightness and colour depending on pitch and volume. Finally, just in case the user does not have their phone handy an IR remote will also be able to control the strip. This will then be connected using a PCB and put inside a 3d printed case.
ESP-12E WiFi Module
Bizzarri H S D Area Calculator. My ISP is device that calculates the area of the bottom side of any square, triangle and cylinder. The project will have three ultrasonic sensors on the top, left and right side of the device with a LED matrix (possibly the MatrixMadeEz) in the center. The LED matrix will display the area of the shapes. A set of push buttons will be used to select the shape that needs to be calculated. It will use an Arduino to process the ultrasonic values for the prototype and then for the custom PCB, an on-board Arduino will be used. At-Home Water Show. This project is going to be a device which creates an at home water show. In order to get the necessary pressure to get the water to flow upwards, a variety of DC motors will be used to pump air or water into bottles and, due to the increased pressure, water will shoot out.  The water nozzles will be controlled by an infrared remote. The user will input what nozzles they want to fire and in what order on the remote.  ATmega328P
Buchan D H S Digital Level. This project utilizes the Adafruit MPU-6050 6-DoF Accel and Gyro Sensor to create an off-board gyroscope with orientation data displayed on an LCD screen. This tool is similar to an analog level, but has the machine precision that digital hardware and software components offer. The final product will either be on a custom PCB or a Perma-Proto board.

The Great and Powerful George: The Talking Skull. The Talking Skull is a model human skull that will be fitted with LEDs, speakers, a DC hobby motor, and an Adafruit MP3 shield to make a working animatronic. The general function is the coordinated movement of the jaw with audio output from an 8 Ω speaker housed within the model. The skull will be kitted-out with an RTC and a keypad: users will enter their date of birth and receive a day-dependent fortune. Finally, the product will also serve as an animatronic music box. ATmega328P

De Aragon H S D The Laser-Measuring System. This device is meant to measure the amount of chain that is let out when the anchor of a boat is dropped. It does this by counting the number of links that interrupt the laser-receiver connection and multiply this by the link length. De Aragon Radio. This project will be a basic Frequency Modulation radio in which there will be an option to change between channels and adjust the volume. There will also be an LCD screen displaying the channel which it is on. If possible, an EAGLE designed PCB and accompanying 3D printed case will be sent away for to complete the final product. If time permits an Amplitude Modulation radio setting will also be added and the time will also be displayed on the LCD screen. RF. 328P.
Durand       Wi-Fi Motion Sensor. This project will use a sensor to detect if there is an obstruction. Once an obstruction has occurred, the device will then communicate via wifi signals, to another device approximately 30 yards away, that there has been an interference. This will be represented by an LED lighting up, which will then be turned off as the obstruction passes. the method of detection is by an infrared LED.  Self-Maintaining Plant Grower. This project will use an RTC clock to send a signal to a water pump which waters a plant every so often. This device will also include a light sensor and a servo motor to face the plant towards the sun, making the growing process as efficient as possible. The progress of the plant will be tracked and monitored throughout its growth. There will be a TinkerCAD 3D printed case which includes all of the necessary attachments.
Goldman H S D Keycard and Passcode Safe. A safe that requires two forms of authentication to open. Prompts to the user are given using an LCD. First, a keycard must be placed to an NFC reader. If the card’s data matches that of the designated access card, the display instructs the user to enter a 4-digit passcode via a keypad. If that is correct, a servo motor turns, therefore, allowing the door of the safe to open. The components, including a stand-alone microcontroller, are organized on a custom designed PCB inside of the safe, with the NFC reader, keypad, and LCD wired to the outside. Wireless Weather Station. There are two individual systems, a weather transmitter station, to be placed outdoors, and a receiver station, to be placed indoors. The transmitter station collects weather data and uses RF to wirelessly transmit it to the receiver station. The receiver station uses seven-segment displays to show the current temperature and humidity, as well as the corresponding recorded maximum and minimum data values. These values can be reset at any time by the operator, allowing them to collect data during a weather event. ATmega328P
Lloyd S H D The Arduino Drum Machine. This drum machine will output a different drum sound based on which button is pressed. There will be a 4x4 square of buttons and each will produce its own sound. There will also be an option on the drum machine to loop a drum pattern entered by the user. The PCB will be roughly 12” wide by 12” long and will feature drum buttons which control drum outputs and speakers for a specific drum. Volume will be controlled through a potentiometer and there will be an LCD display on the top of the circuit which will display the different drums and which button they correspond to, when a button is pressed the corresponding drum’s name will be displayed on the LCD display. Remote-controlled device locator. In this project there will be two key elements, the remote, and the locating device itself which will be attached to the item of the user’s choice. When the ON button on the remote is pressed a signal will be sent and the locating device will begin to beep and vibrate thus allowing the user to find the missing item; much like Find My iPhone, which is an IOS application that tracks and alerts a users phone when lost. Furthermore, the locating device will have a GPS tracker inside of it allowing for far-away location of items.
IR/GPS. ATmega328P.
Marsland S H D Space Invaders. My goal is to create a replica of the video game space invaders on a number of LED matrix’s. The player movement will be controlled with A joystick. This project will use shift registers and POV to light up the Matrix(s). The score will be displayed on 7-segment displays. There will be 2 separate PCBs. one will hold the LED matrix(s). This PCB will include a microcontroller and shift registers. the other PCB will hold the 7-segments as well as shift registers. The two PCBs will be connected. Space Invaders Wireless. I will be taking the space invaders game from the medium ISP and making the controller wireless. The controller will communicate with the game using IR communication. Currently the controller has to be plugged into the Arduino, but I would like to create a PCB that will sends signals, based on which button is pressed, to the game. The remote will control the moving and shooting abilities as well as turn the display on and off. I will also add a main menu to the game. ATmega328P.
McKenna H D S The McKenna Macro. The McKenna Macro will feature multiple Cherry MX switches that are placed on a custom designed PCB and also inside of a custom designed case. The design will be powered the Adafruit's Trinket Pro and it will allow for the user to upload custom input methods that will display as a keyboard in any Mac OS or Windows computer. It will also be able to type a string of characters. The McKenna Macro pad is, in essence, a minicomputer. The McKenna Mouse. A computer mouse that functions on any Mac OS or Windows operating system that has two buttons for left and right click, a modified potentiometer that acts as a scroll wheel, and an optical sensor that is able to control the mouse’s movements on the computer. ATmega328P
Communication Strategy?
Raman H S D Automatic Drain Melter. A pressure sensitive resistor will be employed to sense when there is snow and ice on the drains grate. When snow or ice is sensed, coils running along the grate will heat up for 4 hours to melt all of the snow and ice. Finally a matrix will scroll ‘on’ or ‘off’.
The Infrared–Remote Control Car (IR–RC). In this project a small RC Car will be created; however, unlike most other RC cars, this one is to be controlled by an IR remote. There will be IR receivers at the front and back of the car. The user will control where the car moves by simply pointing the IR remote (while pressing the on button, of course) to near one of the sensors The car will then begin moving towards the IR remote and as the user moves the remote around, the car will follow. This project is inspired by the Air Hogs laser-controlled RC car that I got about a year ago, and have been playing with and studying since. ATmega328P
Robertson-Caryll H D S The Digital Chess Timer. A chess timer is comprised of two clocks that count down the minutes and seconds it takes to make a move. One clock is always paused while the other counts down, once the player is finished his or her turn, they press a button that pauses their clock and starts their opponents.

The clock displays will each be comprised of four seven-segment displays connected to shift registers which provide a POV display of the time. An Arduino Nano will act as the microcontroller of this circuit and store the digits of each number in EEPROM while counting down the time with the “millis” function. A single pull triple throw slide switch will allow the user to change the duration of time per game from 5 minutes to 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Four AA batteries will supply voltage to the circuit, enabling the clock to be portable. Its voltage will be regulated with a 5v regulator. The clock displays, shift registers, transistors, and voltage regulator will be housed on a PCB that is controlled by the Arduino Nano. A 3D printed case will encapsulate the entire circuit and provide holes for the two buttons and switch.

The IR Thief. This device will use IR receivers to capture the data from IR emitting devices. It will then store this data by using SPI communication to write the binary IR codes to an SD card. The device will be able to save multiple IR codes from different remotes. LEDs located on the remote will indicate how many codes have been stored by the device. Buttons placed on the remote will correspond to the order in which the codes were captured and stored. When the operator actuates a button, the corresponding IR code will flash via a high powered infrared emitter. ATmega32U4
Semler H D S Coin Sorter. The project will take the input of a Canadian coin and weigh it using a load cell inside the body of the case. The coin will then be put into one of five piles, and the name of the coin will be scrolling on an 8 x 8 LED matrix. My PCB will Simply be a Transmission Terminal for Various Connection Spots. RGB Light Panel. The RGB Light Panel will consist of an 8x8 RGB Matrix that will be controlled by an IR Remote. On the remote, there will be a variety of buttons that will control the amounts of RGB as well as the brightness of the matrix. ATmega328P
Shibley H D S SHiB Stick-Shift. The SHiB Stick-Shift is a modular shift register system. Each Mini-PCB plugs into the next thus adding one bit to the shift register. The code will be written in low level and be very minimal for the user to use the Stick-Shift SHiB Long-Range Radio Communicator (aka SHiB LR2C). The SHiB LR2C is comprised of three sections. The first section is the CW transceiver. The transceiver is what creates and receives the signal from / for the antenna. The antenna is a simple dipole design that is optimized for 40M. The final part is the translator, this provides the decoding from Morse code to simple characters on an LCD. The SHiB LR2C uses a special band of Radio Frequency called 40-Metre. This band is very far from the common RF communications that are used on cell phones. The type of radio communication used is called CW (Continuous Wave) and can transmit both Morse code and Serial data. NOTE: Morse is far more reliable than the Serial form. ATmega328P
Taylor S H D RGB Matrix.  A 4x4 RGB matrix will be created, with the driver of the leds being shift registers. A software library will also be created to ease the use of the matrix as well. Animations will also be programed in to demonstrate the matrix. 

Teensy Synthesizer. The Teensy Synthesizer will be a software focused synth with a selection of waveforms and effects. The Synthesizer will have limited hardware with only potentiometers, switches and buttons controlling the parameters of the synthesizer. The synthesizer will be able to switch octaves and will have a keyboard with buttons representing each note. A case will be created to house the synthesizer. The OLED display requires either I2C or SPI.
32-bit ARM Processor.

Tessier S D H Binary Game. For my ISP I plan to make a working binary game that is hopefully more efficient/improves on the existing game. I will try to avoid using the microcontroller as much as possible. I hope that my product, when completed, will include an EAGLE PCB and quality printed case to allow comfortable use with potentially a handheld controller… “Reach for the top” buzzer system. I will be making a buzzer system in which there is a central control unit which presents which buzzer has been clicked first. This system is similar to game show buttons in Jeopardy or to the current reach for the top buzzer system. I aim to create wireless buzzers which each have their own case and PCB to ensure a long lifetime of effective use.
Haven't decided on either wired (SPI) or wirelss (RF). ATmega328P.
van Duynhoven       Marble Maze Labyrinth. My project is a design-based project using a joystick along with two servo motors to create a marble maze that allows the marble to maneuver its way through the maze by rotating and moving the joystick. the goal of the game is to get the marble from one side of the maze to the other. Electronic Sunflower. An Electronic Sunflower is a mechanical-automatic device that through sensors can understand the position of the Sun. The servo motors will then direct the Electronic Sunflower towards the sun to create optimal efficiency for the solar panel on top, to gain charge. I will try to power this product from the sun so it is green, efficient and reusable. I will use photo diodes to track the sun and use the solar panel to charge the whole Electronic Sunflower. I am going to try and use SPI with the servo motors and possibly incorporate Some sort of IR communication to turn it on and off. ATmega328P
Vretenar D H S CN Tower Message Board. It is the CN Tower that will be designed and printed in grey filament. There will be a flexible LED matrix on the restaurant that will be a message board. The elevators will have LEDs all the way up that are able to light up. The PCB holds an ATtiny84, a crystal, voltage regulator, and some headers for programming, voltage, and LEDs. Seven Segment School Clock. The project with be 2 groups of 4 seven segment displays stacked on top of each other. The Seven segment displays will be 3d printed and have a neoPixel LED in the center of each segment. The top group of 4 will show the hour and the minutes while the bottom will show the day of the week for school. To adjust the date or time, there will be a remote connection through Bluetooth. There will also be a RTC to make sure the time is correct. ATtiny84.

Grade Contribution to Final Mark

For the bulk of your formal education you have been, and will continue to be, required to consume curriculum chosen for you by someone else. Fortunately (hopefully) you will put this knowledge and skill to good use in your future. However, jumping through someone else's hoops alone does not secure future success, satisfaction, happiness and mental stability. For that, you must continally demonstrate your own initiative, creativity, motivation, and passion. These qualities need to be continuously cultivated, recognized and respected and our Grade 10 hardware course is a perfect place to start. There is so much inspiring concepts to learn and there are so many great projects out there that offer stimulating contexts within which to develop, refine and define, your interests.

Barkway: This is a device that can be connected to a guitar to distort sound and change the loudness of it. CAD will be employed to design and print a case for the device.
Barkway: When the Netlfix Button on a remote is clicked, it turns on music, turns off the lights, and turns on dimmed lights. Will also include a designed platform to hold the circuits on a wall, and a connector between a servo motor and a stylus pen. Also turns on Netflix.
Design: 3D Printing
Communication: IR
Carson: A device that blocks electronics from receiving calls or Wi-Fi signals, housed in a custom 3D designed and printed case.
Carson: It will be a module that can be placed over a door handle so that you can open a door using your feet when your hands are full. It will also include a locking mechanism and an alarm that can be used remotely.
Design: 3D Printing
Communication: IR, BT
Dolgin: A 3D designed trash bin with placement tray. Once an ultrasonic sensor detects an object in the tray, it will lift the tray and place the contents in a larger reservoir. Another sensor is employed to monitor the available capacity of the bin and displays this result on a bargraph.
Dolgin: RF controlled two wheel rover design, able to turn right, left, travel forwards and backwards using a joystick or push buttons. Fusion will be used to design the body, case, and eagle will be used to design the PCB remote
Design: EAGLE PCB, 3D Print
Communication: RF, possibly IR
Dreger: This device employs a wireless keypad for activation/deactivation. The clock housing and remote case will be designed in CAD and printed.
Dreger: I will create two devices that use a GPS module to get the position then send that position, via a SIM card module to a phone or on the other device it will send the position to another Arduino with an LCD Screen via an nRF
Design: EAGLE PCB, 3D Print
Communication: RF
Fatola: Players have to match numbers on 2 7-segment displays with 1 7-segment display presenting a randomly-generated number from 0 to 9 at a certain speed. The speed depends on the speed which an object passes a through a pair of proximity sensors.
Fatola: This is a project where multiplication questions will show up on and LCD screen. Using an IR remote and buttons, both players must answer the question correctly. For every question answered correctly, 2 motors will lower some kind of piece (plastic, metal, etc) towards a pair of IR sensors. Once the IR sensors read the presence of an object, the previously red bi-color LED will turn green. The first player to accomplish this wins the game.
Design: 3D Print
Communication: IR
Kingsley: I will be designing a robotic claw in CAD and 3D printing it. Servo motors will be employed to move the claw, controlled by an Arduino.
Kingsley: I will create a music box, capable of making a total of 9 different notes and be controlling it with a remote control using IR. A case will be made to house the components of the music box and will have volume control as well.
Design: 3D Print
Communication: IR
Lank: This machine employs an Adafruit color sensor to determine the colour of a Skittle. A stepper motor will be employed to relocate the object to its correct colour bin with the help of 3D designed and printed parts.
Lank: A PCB will be designed to control a OLED display which takes readings from I2C weather sensors and displays them, making a mini weather station. I will have an outdoor case(containing sensors) wirelessly transmitting the sensor data to the indoor display.
Communication: I2C
Macdonald: This station will monitor temperature, air pressure, altitude, humidity and possibly other features. A 3D designed and printed case will house the station.
Macdonald: The Sensor Buoy will send different types of environmental data gathered by different sensors. The data will be sent using
Design: 3D Print
Communication: IR
Mazzuca: Ideally, the board would have two matrices (?) (1 per fencer) that will display the points each fencer has accumulated and when a fencer's sword has hit metal, The CAD aspect will be the employed to create the enclosure.
Mazzuca: Ideally, the board would have two matrices (?) (1 per fencer) that will display the points each fencer has accumulated and when a fencer's sword has hit metal, The CAD aspect will be the employed to create the enclosure.
Design: 3D Print
Communication: not sure
McCutcheon: A sound-reactive circuit that will divide up audio input (microphone/line in) into several different frequencies and then display it as a visual animation (matrix/bargraph).
McCutcheon: A machine that will draw on paper using a pen controlled by servos and steppers. it will use WIFI communication from the computer to send letters to the machine that will then print it.
Design: 3D Print
Communication: I2C, RF
McFarlane: Using EAGLE, a PCB will be designed that includes all of the visible steps incorporated in the culminating Grade 10 ACES project of the same name. This device gives the Grade 10s an opportunity to take their project to a polished level.
McFarlane: A mini rc car using a hobby motor and radio frequency to control it.
Design: Not Indicated
Communication: RF
Parker: An ultrasonic sensor mounted on a motor and housed in a 3D printed case. It will spin the sensor around to give the same effect as a traditional radar station with a connected siren.
Parker: I am going to try and recreate the famous Wii remote made by Nintendo. It uses IR as its main source of communications and a variety of IC's that control the readings for the movements. The different buttons will also be recreated using different push buttons to the same effect. A case will be 3D printed and a PCB could be designed if time allows it, but it may be soldered on a perma proto board
Design: SMT EAGLE PCB, 3D Print
Communication: IR
Peterson: An LED is tilted on a matrix under the influence of a signal from an IMU that uses a gyroscope and accelerometer. The software will use my custom LED Matrix library. A EAGLE-designed PCB will be employed and encased in a 3D-printed or friction-fit, laser cut housing.
Peterson: Multiple I2C devices that sense things such as humidity, temperature, air pressure, and oxygen concentration will be mounted on an EAGLE PCB and placed in a 3D printed case. These devices will send their readings to the Arduino via RF technology. Using processing, a graphic display of the various sensor readings will be made using serial data
Design: EAGLE PCB, 3D Print
Communication:Serial, I2C, RF
Pyper: This is a game in which a motor controls a claw that picks up objects. CAD is employed to make various parts, such as the claw.
Pyper: The project consists of a remote controlled robot desined like a spyder. the robot uses a camera to provide a live feed of what it sees.
Design: 3D Print
Communication: Bluetooth
Rigby: Switches are used to set a particular note before the master is set to play back the sequence. Notes are displayed on an LCD Screen. The project is housed in a custom case with the notes embossed on the shell.
Rigby: Use EAGLE to incorporate a circuit board and print a casing to hide the circuitry discreetly next to the blind.
Design: EAGLE PCB, 3D Print
Communication: Bluetooth
Vassos: It is the classic Simon memory game employing 4 LEDs that flash in a sequence that must be repeated by the player pressing buttons. If you fail to repeat the sequence, you lose. Housing will be designed with ViaCAD and 3D printed.
Vassos: Two players using two Arduinos from across a room can play pong against each other through RF communication. This game will be displayed on a matrix that each player will have. Appropriate housing will be designed and 3D printed
Design: 3D Print
Communication: RF
Watson: I am going to make a wire-cutting machine that will cut wire to a predetermined length. An LCD monitors the length of the cutting process and signals when it is complete. Some form of encasement will be designed. Time permitting, I will try to incorporate a stripping feature.
Watson: Will test the strength/Frequency of an ir connection, will use the Morland ShiftBar to display it. will be in a 3D design and printed case.
Design: 3D Printed Case
Communication: IR
Wilkinson: This device is a heart and BPM Monitor. The custom housing and sensor casing will be designed and printed.
Wilkinson: I intend to create a system which uses infrared communication to allow a user to draw on a graphic LCD screen. This will include a system similar to an Etch-A-Sketch where knobs are used as opposed to traditional directional controls. The screen and all necessary components will be encased in a 3d-printed housing(s).
Design: 3D Printed Case
Communication: IR
Woollcombe: I will create a door lock that is able to be locked and unlocked through the use of an RFID card. The door will employ a servo motor to manipulate a bolt. CAD will be employed to design a case.
Woollcombe: First, I am going to create a display using WS2812 Integrated Light Sources. The display will be around 1.4 m is length, and will be seven strips high. Then, I am going to use an Arduino Uno WiFi Rev2 to download, and display the real-time data on the display
Design: 3D Printed Case
Communication: Bluetooth, WiFi