2020-2021 ICS3U-E 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.

ISP Logs

ACE 1 2 3 Medium ISP (8 weeks: Feb-Mar) Long ISP (8 weeks: Apr-May)
Armstrong, O.       The Tiny Piano The Tiny Piano is a digital, multiple-octave classic piano that you can carry in your pocket. It uses the ATmega328p of our last project in order to control the PWM (pulse width modulation) of a piezo buzzer. By controlling it, you can produce varying tones by pushing the corresponding buttons and using basic buttons to travel up or down the octaves. The keys themselves, will be 3D printed and fastened onto the buttons to create an authentic piano feel. I will also make use of a 3D-printed case along with LEDs for power and a usb-rechargeable battery all implemented into the PCB. Arduino Lie Detector The Arduino lie detector is simply an electronic signal reader that attaches to your fingers. When people lie, their brain gives off tells such as increased heart rate and skin conductivity that can be read with electrical nodes attached to the subject skin. so for my project, I will make a polygraph tester that can measure you skin conductivity using an ECG monitor and your heart rate and tell whether your subject is lying though an LCD screen. These parts will be wired into a custom-built PCB and I hope to also make use of a 3d printed case for functionality and portability in this project.
Cassano, L.       Drone Drop System Using 433 MHz RF modules I will be creating a drone drop system. This system will be attached onto the bottom of a Mavic 2 Pro drone with a custom 3D printed case and mount. I will also create a custom PCB for the full circuit. On the remote side there will be a liquid crystal display, button and an Arduino. On the receiver side of things there will be a servo motor, Arduino and battery. nRF24 RC Air Boat This project will be a remote-controlled boat. On the remote side of things there will be a joystick custom PCB, Arduino Nano and an nRF24 module. On the boat side of things there will be a 3D printed Hull, Arduino Nano, NRF 24, Custom PCB, Brushless motor with ESC and a servo.
Chin, A,       The LiDAR Measurement Device The LiDAR measurement device measures the distance between one object to another using a variety of components. The heart of the project, a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) range-finder, measures the distance between an object and the range-finder, repeating this process for another object using servo motors controlled over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to move the range-finder. The angles of movement will be recorded by an IMU (Inertial Measuring Unit) where the length between the two objects will ultimately be calculated using trigonometry, and the results/data can be wirelessly sent over to a computer for further use. The device will be housed in a 3D printed case and a PCB will be manufactured for holding the microcontroller and IMU. The IR Nixie Gecko This device will function similar to the Gecko clock except it uses retro nixie tubes instead of the regular four-digit seven segment display to present the time, date and temperature. This clock can be controlled and configured through manual push buttons or an IR remote. Akin to the original Gecko clock, the parts will be soldered onto a custom PCB and sandwiched between two 2D laser cut acrylic sheets. 3D printed parts will be designed for support if need be.
Colraine, J.       The Multi-Sensor Wireless Intruder Alarm Through the use of the HC-05 Bluetooth module along with Audio, Vibration and PIR sensors I will be creating a wireless intruder alarm that communicates from the device directly to a computer. The device will be a compact multi-sensor circuit that is able to be mounted to a surface monitoring the area in front and around it for activity. A custom PCB will contain a microcontroller circuit similar to the breadboard Arduino and have the data outputs needed for each sensor. All data gathered by the sensors will be sent to an interface on the connected computer where it is able to be monitored. The Helping Claw The Helping Claw will be a 6 DOF robotic arm built using 3 MG996R Servos and 3 5G90 Micro Servos able to manipulate objects in the surrounding area. The arm will be built with a mix of 3D printed components and metal brackets that make up the structure as well as a 3D printed rotating base. The arm will be designed in a CAD software such as Solidworks 3D or TinkerCAD and 3D printed along with a mechanical 2-axis claw. The arms movements will be controlled by a ESP32 Microcontroller or similar with the ability to program predefined actions. A manual manipulation system will also be implemented to allow for real-time movements. If time permits there will also be a Electret Microphone programmed using the BitVoicer Library to allow for voice recognition controls.
Duckman. J.       Duckman RF Battle-Ship The Duckman RF Battle-Ship ISP is a project that will consist of nine LED’s in a three by three formation on a customized eagle PCB that will be able to be controlled through a PS2 joystick using RF (radio frequency). In this project, the user will be able to compete against AI for the win in a classic variant of the game of battleship. Duckman Camera Tracker The Duckman Camera Tracker is a fairly complex solution to a simple problem that many of us students face weekly. Often teachers constantly adjust the camera so the students online can view what’s going on in class. The Duckman Camera Tracker is the perfect solution as it can be used to follow the teacher automatically using an ultrasonic sensor. The Duckman Camera Tracker will also have a manual mode in which the user can control the camera and view the lectures over WiFi creating a better overall class and at-home education experience.
Giannelli-Viscardi, S.       GlaDos Animatronic I will be 3D printing an animatronic version of the character GlaDos from the Portal game series. Using a SD card reader and the Arduino, I will play audio through a speaker, syncing movement of the animatronic controlled through servo motors. Live Feedback Home Security System DIY home security system using a motion sensor relay, camera, and wireless transmission. The motion sensor relay will trigger the camera, then upload a picture through wireless to a PC via USB and wireless, at which point the image will be uploaded to the cloud in some form like a Google drive folder.
Goodwin, J.      

The Electronic Labyrinth Game This project will be a handheld device the replicates a wooden labyrinth maze game. Here is a link to one for reference: https://tinyurl.com/yxn3bqgl. Rather than using mechanical controls, the user will tilt the device to move the on-screen ball in the appropriate direction. The screen will be made of a bi-color LED matrix. A gyroscope sensor will measure the degree of tilt which will determine the speed and direction the ball is heading in. The brains of the project will be an AVR microcontroller, most likely the ATtiny84. The device will have multiple maze layouts which will all be preset. The final project will consist of a soldered custom PCB with standoffs and potentially a case.

The Bare-Bones MIDI Controller A MIDI controller is a device used to control notes of a synthesizer or sample on a computer by interfacing with the controller via the MIDI communication protocol. MIDI stands for musical instrument digital interface. The MDI data is converted to the USB protocol via a MIDI-USB interface device. I will not be building an interface device I have already purchased one. The controller will ideally be able to determine the note velocity of the note(s) pressed. The velocity of the note is how loud it is being played on the computer. The velocity would be determined by how hard the key is pressed on the keyboard but this could prove to be difficult to design so if this is not possible a potentiometer will be used instead. The keyboard on the controller will span two octaves. The controller will also have buttons (typically referred to as pads) which would be used to control electronic drums.
Langill, D.       The Simple As Possible (SAP) Computer This project involves building an 8-bit computer based on the SAP-1 architecture described in Albert Malvino’s book Digital Computer Electronics. The project encompasses building the SAP-1 (control, ALU, memory, and I/O units) and low-level programming using the SAP-1 basic instruction set (LDA, ADD, SUB, OUT, HLT). The SAP-1 computer will be built primarily using 74xx series ICs. After breadboard prototyping, a PCB layout will be designed using EAGLE to house the SAP-1 computer. The Langill Rover In this project, there are two units: the RC rover and the custom remote. The rover will be comprised of a 3D printed chassis that integrates the rear-wheel-drive (DC motor powered) and front-wheel-steering (servo powered) systems. The custom remote serves to control, by means of joysticks, the RC rover’s speed and direction through RF transmission. Both units include an ATmega328p MCU and an RF module to facilitate motor control and RF communication, and a PCB to house electronics.
McClure, C.       Arduino Powered Hand-Held Game System. I will be designing and building a small hand-held game using an OLED screen and an AVR microcontroller. The completed project will contain a fully custom soldered PCB and if possible, a 3D printed case. This has been done before by many people online so in order to remain original, I will be programming an original game for the system. The game will have a simple objective and will be similar to the arcade game that came out in the 80s called “Galaga”. Ultrasonic Sound Gun. I will be designing an ultrasonic sound gun using parametric speakers. The goal of this device is to be able to direct focused sound to create the illusion that the sound is coming from where the gun is pointed. This will be done by modulating an audio source to 40 kHz through a 555-timer circuit. The 555 timer’s output will then be amplified and sent to an array of ultrasonic transducers. 40 kHz is outside of the audible human range which is why the sound won’t be heard until the sound waves strike an object causing the 40 kHz sound to demodulate, become audible, and create the illusion.
McDonald, H.       BA5406 Stereo Speaker My ISP will blast music from two 16 Ω speakers being driven by a PCB of my design.  It will consist of a BA5406 amplifier for a stereo audio experience complete with two potentiometers for selecting volumes of left and right. The case will be 3D printed so that an iPhone has a slot with an 1/8 inch audio jack facing upward for the phone to slip into. The stand, while playing music, will also charge the device. The addition of an LDR makes it easy to use at night, as a gentle blue light will help guide the phone when it’s dark. The circuit will be powered by a 9V source coming from the wall. The ATmega328P Micro Drone The ATMEGA328P micro drone has a 3D printed shell holding the X shaped PCB. The drone and transmitter use similar 3.7V 550mAh Li-Po’s cutdown using the same LP2985 regulators. Both use the same microcontroller, a surface mount ATMEGA328P which in conjunction with the MPU-6050 gyroscope make the on-board flight controller. The L298DD dual H-bridge motor controller is used to drive the four 3.7V DC motors. Communication is handled by a pair of nFR24L01+ 2.4GHz
O'Keeffe, J.      

The Smart Plant Pot A soil moisture sensor will be placed into a potted plant. This sensor will send the moisture reading to the Arduino. If the soil moisture sensor reads that the soil is dry, a green LED will flash and a pump will add water to the pot, wetting the soil. This will repeat allowing the user to keep plants alive with minimal work. My PCB will control the status LED. The status LED will be green when everything is okay and flash when the water is being poured out. This LED will also have a potentiometer to adjust the brightness.

The Stock Market Ticker In this project, I plan to create a stock market ticker. Firstly, I will use the high-level programming language Python to read the HTML of ca.finance.yahoo.com to get real-time data on stocks. The stocks that will be shown will have been inputted by the user via a GUI (graphical user interface) which will be built using the Tkinter library in Python. The user will also be able to select the baud rate (to communicate with the serial monitor) and the USB port in which the Arduino is located. This will slightly resemble the tools menu in the Arduino IDE. After this data has been processed, it will be sent from Python to the serial monitor of the Arduino and displayed using a display such as an LED matrix or an LCD.
Salamon. T.       OLED Chess Board with Timer I will make an electric chess board using one or four OLED displays (I have yet to decide whether I will need more than one) to display symbols representing different pieces, along with a joystick to pick which pieces to move to which squares. The bulk of this project will consist of me learning how to code better in C in order to code the game of chess. My PCB design will simply be a PCB with holes for my OLED display where these holes will connected to secondary holes which will be used to connect to the pins of my perma-proto Arduino. I will also construct a chess timer using an LCD display which will automatically switch between timing the black and white players, and will also keep track of who has taken which pieces with custom LCD characters. The Grappling Gun I would 3D print a claw which can be close and opened by pulling on or releasing a singular piece of string or wire which will be connected to a small motor and triggered by an IR sensor at its base. This claw would be shot out of a 3D printed gun. Ideally, this claw would be shot out of this gun using a second motor which would pull the claw back causing a few springs to compress, before decompressing these springs all at once, thereby launching the claw. If this doesn’t work I am considering the possibility of using a pneumatic piston to launch the claw. While this solution seems much more likely to work, I am not sure if a 3D printed case would break under this amount of pressure so I would like to stay away from this, if possible.
Schaffer, F.       Memory Game A game where you have to repeat button presses, in order, with the number of button presses required counting up each round. The PCB will have 4 uniquely coloured LEDs beside each other, with a button below each, and a duel (sic) 14-segment display above, counting the total number of button presses required. RC Sail Boat A remote-controlled sail boat with a sail that automatically adjusts to the wind angle.
Smoley, A.       Home Security System A motion sensor will be connected to a wireless transmitter that will cause a buzzer to go off on a separate device when motion is detected. There will be a device intended to be next to the owner of the device, which will be the receiver with the buzzer. There will also be second device which is for the owner to place in their house, most likely in a doorway or hallway, which will be the transmitter with a motion sensor. Snake I will create a game system for playing snake. It will be regular snake and will display the current score (current length of snake subtracted by the original length).

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 continually 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.

Parkway: 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