2018-2019 ICS4U 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 solution. 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 accept the first thing 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 ER 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 in the hands of future ACES, for sale in the Dragon's Lair or beyond, reaching an even a broader audience.

Short ISP Options (GB, JC, KFA, AH, SK, DR, HR) Proposal Form: Short ISP Proposal with Design

  1. Reflow Oven (Bake a transparent Arduino by the end of the year - see below)
  2. Outdoor Campus Wireless Weather Station: BME280 + NRF24L01
  3. ACES DMM (Smart Tweezers?)
  4. Rubik's Cube Solver with RGB Colour Sensing Scheme (3x3 Matrix)
  5. Analog to Digital Conversion Device (Class Set for Grade 6)
  6. VAWT (Vertical Axis Wind Turbine), Tutorial, More turbine designs
  7. Mechanical, coloured acrylic geared DES Wall Clock (Could Ketchum Hall be next? Out of Wood? Legacy Project? Hmmm)
  8. 360° Motorized Turntable for Project Demonstrations or MIT's SPIN Project
  9. Elevator (Lift) with Arduino-based Control Panel
  10. Our CNC Machine (Milled PB Machines)
  11. Wireless Jeopardy-style button system (for R42T) using the NRF24L01 as a multiceiver controlling up to 6 satellite transceivers. (Curious: R42T backward is T24R which is precisely what this device does: Transmit @2.4GHz to a Receiver! Weird :)
  12. Portable Function Generator?
(to be included in all
2019-2020 Grade 10 kits)

Medium ISP (SMD & CAD)

As you wind up the final six months of your secondary education it is time to both advance and lock in your burgeoning engineering skills. Whereas through-hole technology (THT) has had a good run over the past few decades, the future is ALL Surface Mount Technology and Design. For this reason, you best be prepared. This ISP round you are required to hone and showcase your SMTD skills in preparation for the opportunities that await you in the next few years.

Your Medium ISP goal (20% of your final mark) is to create the slimmest of useful devices consisting of a custom PCB, populated with SMT parts, and encased in the thinnest CAD case possible (think wallet-size proportions). You have TWO months. Allan's Reflow Oven, our suite of 3D printers, and Dirty PCBs are all about to get a serious RSGC ACES workout. This is good preparation for your Long ISP (30% of your final mark) which is an even thinner solar-powered flex circuit that will be laminated into your ER.

Download and review the updated Medium ISP Proposal. This Word version I would ask that you edit, attach, and email to handin by START of class on Monday January 14, 2019 under the Subject Line: Medium ISP Proposal.

Long ISP (SMD & CAD). So, we've arrived at the point where your knowledge, skills, and experience are at their secondary school peak. Eight weeks from now you will inform your yourself, your teacher, your family and those ACES that follow you what your time in the ACES program has taught you. Download and review the updated Long ISP Proposal. Complete the Word version and email it as an attachment to handin by START of class on Tuesday April 2, 2019 under the Subject Line: Long ISP Proposal.

ACE Short ISP (10%)
(September 13 - 4 weeks)
Medium ISP (20%)
(January 14 - 6 weeks)
Long ISP (30%)
(March 27 - 8 weeks)
SMD Flex Circuit
(April 2 - 4 weeks)
Benson, G.
Wind Power Turbine
Description: This proof-of-concept Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) will prove capable of charging batteries.
CAD: Stand and Blades
ACES Legacy Breadboard Appliance
Description: Much of what I have learned over the past 3 years will combined into a breadboard appliance for future ACES to exploit.
CAD: An optional, ultra-slim protective slipon case that friction-fits onto the board when sensors and displays are not in use.
AutoWind 2.0
Description: This project pays tribute to my Grade 10 ISP. AUTOWIND 2.0, will feature a redesigned control module, developed on a PCB. A potentiometer will select a desired temperature, while an LCD display will project, the current and target temperatures, as well as the fans rotational speed data. The fan of choice will be a standard 4-Wire Computer Cooling Fan.
MCU: ATtiny84
COMM: SPI used for ICSP
The entire device will be housed in clear acrylic housing, giving exposure to the interior electronics.

Flex Dual 7-Segment Thermometer
Description:This project will incorporate persistence of vision techniques to drive a dual 7 segment display, displaying an accurate temperature reading of the surroundings using an LM50 Temperature Sensor.
Power: Solar
Processor: 328p
Language: Assembly
ISP: Soldered Connector
Special Parts:
7-Segment Display
Corley, J
Description: I will produce an elevating device using a unique spring-based drive mechanism of my own design
CAD: Structure and housing
ACE Quest 2.0
Description: The next iteration of R. Laxdal's famous game of the same name see an 8×8 RGB Matrix under the influence of buttons.
CAD: With the exception of openings for the matrix, buttons and ports, the cover/case will protect the module.
CHUMP 2.0: 4-Bit I/O
Description: I will focus on the input. This will take the form of a Coding Input System(CIS). It would be a bank of toggle switches that could be set according to the desired line of machine code and then entered into the Program EEPROM. This should replace the current EEPROM burner.
MCU: Itself
COMM: Serial
CAD: As well as an acrylic case and 3-D plastic will be designed and a joint effort to create PCBs for the CHUMP and CIS will be done.
DER Encryption Device
Description: This project is an encryption device that uses letters in my DER. The circuit would have a button sequence password. Once the correct sequence of buttons was pressed an 8 LED array would start to display values in a loop. These values would correspond to the page, line, word, letter of a message. So if these values were looked up in my DER it would eventually read out some sort of message.
Power: Solar
Processor: ATtiny84
Language: C/C++
ISP: Finger
Special Parts:N/A
Fiset-Algarvio, K.
Rubik's Cube Solver
Description: My project will allow solve a Rubik's cube of random initial arrangement. IT can be done in 25 moves or less and I intend to confirm this.
CAD: Rack&pinion gear system, grippers
Fibonacci Clock
Description:This device will tell the time every five minutes using the first five sections of the Fibonacci spiral where each section will have a certain colour depending on the time and random number. Only people who know how to read this clock can actually read it.
CAD: A box will be made to fit the circuit board.
8×8×8 LED Cube
Description: An 8×8×8 LED cube will display various patterns and sequences onto the LEDs.
MCU: not provided
COMM: not provided
CAD: A case will be made for the project base using CAD
8x16 LED Matrix
Description: An 8×16 LED matrix will display many different sequences of patterns which can be changed from a push of a button.
Power: Solar
Processor: 328p
Language: C/C++
ISP: Finger
Special Parts: None
Hodgson, A.
Controleo3 Reflow Oven
Part: B&D Toaster Oven
Description: I will build a Reflow Oven for the DES so all ACES can use it to for surface mount soldering.
Power: AC/DC
CAD: I will demonstrate the soldering of an SMD PCB
RC Robotic Arm
Description: A wirelessly-controlled arm will pick and move objects.
CAD: Both the remote and main unit will be 3D designed and printed.
XY Plotting/Drawing Robot?
Description: A drawing robot will use stepper motors, pulleys and gears to move a pen across a page to draw different images. Processing software that allows importing images / drawings will be used to control the motion of pen on the page.
MCU: ATmega328P
COMM: not provided
CAD: A custom SMT PCB will be developed for the drawing machine and CAD will be implemented for motor mounts and frame.
Digital Clock
Description: A 4-digit 7 segment display shows the current time. RTC and
Power: Solar
Processor: ATtiny85
Language: C/C++
ISP: Finger
Special Parts: None

Knezevic, S.
Mechanical Geared DES Wall Clock
Description: The goal is to produce a mechanical clock based on a timer mechanism, a motor, and gears for the THREE hands.
CAD: Acrylic Gears
Digit/Letter Neural Recognition
Description: An artificial neural network consists of a touchscreen, transition levels and weighted input to recognize characters. The operator of this device would require special training.
CAD will be employed to encase the entire device in slim, esthetically-pleasing case.

Split-Flap Display (Antique)
Description: Check it out
A vertical box with gears on the side that turn a rod which flips pictures to produce an interesting animation.
MCU: not provided
COMM: not provided
CAD: The gears as well as the casing will be 3D printed, potential PCB can be made.

8x8 Led Matrix of Snake
Description: A game of snake on an 8x8 LED matrix. There are four buttons controlling the direction of the snake and if you hit either side of the border/wall the game ends. When you collect one of the randomly generated points you increase by one in length.
Power: Solar
Processor: 328p
Language: C/C++
ISP: Soldered Connector
Special Parts: None

Raymond, D.
Video Turntable
Description: This project has a speed-controlled rotating platform a white backdrop and phone mount. This DES asset can be used by all ACES to gather media for their own project creations.
CAD: gears, platform etc.
Chirp Control
Description: A Voice command and control system will be developed to set alarms and timers as well as controlling an RF power bar.
CAD: The power bar will have an extension to host the nRF and Relays. The primary control will have an exterior comprised exclusively of splines, hopefully in the form of a Google Home.
CHUMP 2.0: 4-Bit I/O
Description: The next evolution of the CHUMP It will contain two peripherals: A coding input system (CIS) and a LED matrix output. The CIS can be used to flash the program ROM without the need for an external computer.
MCU: Itself
COMM: Serial
CAD: An entire PCB of the CHUMP will be designed with THT parts, with the CIS and output built onto it. A case will cover the ugly bottom of the PCB, protecting it and making it mountable.
LED Snake
Description: This project is a flexible version of the game snake. This will be displayed on an 8x8 LED matrix with four button controls. An Arduino C version of the game will be made first, and if all goes according to plan, it will be reprogrammed in AVR Assembly. It will use four SMT buttons as the inputs.
Power: Solar
Processor: 328p
Language: Assembly
ISP: Finger
Special Parts: None

Reed, H.
Wireless Weather Station
Part: Anemometer & others
Description: This device will be mounted on a campus roof to gather and transmit wind and atmospheric data to a display unit in the DES.
CAD: Not sure....
Barcode-Based Stacking Machine
Description: Barcodes will assist a roboStacker places objects in respective bins.
CAD: The shelf is made of wood but the majority of the other parts are made in CAD.
Automatic Plant Grower using IoT
Description: This device allows users to grow up to 6 small plants or several medium/large plants indoors all year round. The goal of this is to allow easy home growing and giving data to the user about the well-being of their plant wherever they are as long as there is wi-fi connection (IoT). The item features adjustable plant transition as well as UV lights and timed watering.
MCU: Not provided
COMM: Serial, I2C and SPI
CAD: Online Box design tool
Flex Business Card
Description: This Project is to create a discreet and wearable business card that can be custom designed and attached to a clothing item. It will feature name, number and other things as well as some other things like time of day using an RTC.
Power: Coin
Processor: ATtiny85
Language: Arduino C
ISP: Finger
Special Parts:

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, typically, secure future success. For that, you must demonstrate your own initiative, motivation, and passion. These qualities need to be cultivated and our Grade 10 hardware course is a perfect place to start. There is so much to learn and there are so many great projects out there that offer stimulating contexts within which to develop and refine your interests.