2022-2023 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. (Update: January 9, 2019) 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 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 in the hands of future ACES, for sale in the Dragon's Lair or beyond, reaching an even a broader audience.

2022-2023 ISP Commitments

ACE Short ISP (20%)
Saturday September 17
Medium ISP (20%)
Saturday December ?
Long ISP (20%)
Monday February ?
Proposals >>> Short ISP Proposal Medium ISP Proposal Long ISP Proposal
Appleyard, S.

  1. Choir
  2. English
  3. Math
  4. Hardware
Bike Tool Carrier

DESCRIPTION These days, mountain bikes are incredibly advanced with near perfect shifting and suspension that makes the roughest terrain feel like you are going over a cloud. One serious flaw is having no solid solution to store your tools. While some brands offer very expensive options to integrate tools in your bike, there is not cheap and easy way to do so at the moment. My idea is for a tool holder that can be inserted into the steerer tube of a mountain bike. The tool holder would have a slot in it to hold the compact Specialized SWAT multi tool and would poke out of the headtube when the cap is removed using a spring. The tool would also have a storage container housed beneath the multi tool for small snacks or spare bolts. The storage container would be threaded on to the main body of the tool holder.
HARDWARE N/A
SOFTWARE N/A
DESIGN THE TOOL HOLDER FOR THIS PROJECT WILL BE DESIGNED IN FUSION 360 AND TESTED THROUGH MANY ITERATIONS AND REVISIONS.
COMMUNICATION N/A
MECHANICAL N/A
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Appleyard, T.

  1. Math
  2. Choir
  3. English
  4. Hardware
ACES Tool Box

DESCRIPTIONThis project will be a 3D printed toolbox design to be used by future ACES and to solve the problems that conventional tool boxes have. This tool box would have Multiple sliding drawers with places to store chips LED’s and much more as well as an opening at the top with a space large enough and the right size to store a breadboard so that your project doesn't get damaged in transport between the DES and wherever you may be bringing your toolbox.
HARDWARE N/A
SOFTWARE N/A
DESIGN This project will make use of fusion 360 and potentially on acrylic lid to be able to see through to see all of your parts in the top.
COMMUNICATION N/A
MECHANICAL Hinges? Minimized friction?
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Elder, A.

  1. Math
  2. Media Arts
  3. AP Physics
  4. Hardware
Motorized Chair

DESCRIPTION I will attach two motors to two of the wheels. Then I will connect these motors two a RF receiver which will be connected to a RF transmitter inside of a controller made from scratch. This remote will have a joystick on it to be able to control the motors. I will use tank steering which means to turn left or right I will have the other side motor moving forward and the other motor moving backward. To go forward both motors are forward and same for backwards.
HARDWARE I will use a atmega328p which will be used for the joystick on the remote and sending and receiving the RF signal
SOFTWARE Arduino C: I will write code to be able to read the joystick outputs and be able to transmit them to the motors.
DESIGN I will make a 3d case for my JLCPCB PCB which will have my joystick on it and the RF transmitter.
COMMUNICATION I will us RF to transfer the data between the controller and the motors.
MECHANICAL I will use (???) motors to move the chair.
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Mann Shaw, H.

  1. AP Math
  2. AP English
  3. AP Physics
  4. Hardware
Switch Mode Bench Power Supply

DESCRIPTION This project will be a power supply with both a current and voltage limiting dial. My goal is to have two separate parts for this project. The first part will be a switch mode power supply (SMPS) that is connected to mains voltage, and converts the 120 volts AC into high current 24 VDC. This SMPS will consist of a fuse and filter for the input signal, a rectifier, MOSFETs and a PWM driver, a small transformer, and a feedback loop on the output. The second part will be a buck/boost converter that the SMPS will tie into. This buck/boost converter will allow for the adjustment of voltage, and it will be modified to adjust current as well. I plan to have a 3D printed case for the SMPS and a smaller case for the buck/boost converter. There will also be an LCD display to show current and voltage readings from the sensors I will implement. I want to use the LCD because it gives me more freedom in how I display the measurements. Depending on how hot the power supply is getting, I may also include a fan or 2 to prevent overheating.
HARDWARE The 328P that I plan to use in this project will not have a huge number of roles, but it will aid in reading and displaying the current and voltage. If fans are required, it will also control them.
SOFTWARE Arduino C: Since this is not a primarily software project, and I am more interested in hardware/electrical engineering/physics, I plan on just using Arduino to code my LCD and to read the current and voltages from my sensors. To focus largely on the other parts of my project, I will likely use the LCD library, and no library will be necessary to read the measurements from my sensors or to control power to fans.
DESIGN I plan on designing a PCB for the entire SMPS, and will likely use stripboard for the sensors and ATmega328P circuit. I will design the PCB on Eagle and will order it through JLC. The PCB will be THT soldered parts unless there is a need for me to make some of them SMT. Like I mentioned, I plan on designing 2 3D printed cases, and I will do this through Fusion360. These cases will be designed to perfectly fit the LCD display as well as the input, and output power cable adapters.
COMMUNICATION None
MECHANICAL Fans would be the only mechanical part of the project if they are used.
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Muir, R.

  1. Math
  2. Media Arts
  3. AP Physics
  4. Hardware
Self Balancing Bi-Wheeled Robot

DESCRIPTION A Bi-Wheeled Robot that can balance on its own using a efficient feedback loop and the MPU-6050 sensor. The robot should be able to withstand small pushes and abuse without falling over. Implementing a potential control system using RF is also a possibility, but not a current goal for this project.
HARDWARE 328P
SOFTWARE Arduino C
DESIGN The device will be mostly 3D printed, with the exception of a few parts such as the wheels which will need to be rubber for grip. A custom PCB will be used in order to save space
COMMUNICATION N/A
MECHANICAL The device will use precise stepper motors in order to control movement. These motors are nescisarry [sic] for their arcuate [sic] positioning and quick adjusting nature.
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Rogan, J.

  1. AP Math
  2. AP English
  3. AP Physics
  4. Hardware
Solid-State Tesla Coil

DESCRIPTION The Solid-State Tesla Coil will use mains voltage to create impressive corona discharge at a frequency that is easily adjustable with potentiometers. The hardware concepts necessary for this project are optimization of timing with 555’s, feedback (because it is a closed-loop oscillatory system), MOSFET driving, electromagnetic induction, and transformer operation. Design is also integral to this project, as the secondary winding must be done carefully for greater efficiency.
HARDWARE ICs: 555, 3732x (1,2), 74HC14.
SOFTWARE N/A
DESIGN Winding mechanism and Toroid skeleton made in Fusion 360, 1 or 2 PCBs designed in Eagle
COMMUNICATION N/A
MECHANICAL N/A
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Shea, E.

  1. AP Math
  2. English
  3. AP Physics
  4. Hardware
Magic Chess Board

DESCRIPTION The Magic Chess board is a chess board that will use a magnet to move the pieces from underneath the board. Two servos will control belts that will allow the electromagnet to move from one square to another in order to pick up different pieces.
HARDWARE 328P (Nano), Stepper Motors
SOFTWARE Arduino C
DESIGN EAGLE, JLCPCB, Fusion 360
COMMUNICATION Serial
MECHANICAL Steppers, Servos?

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Strain, J.

  1. Spare
  2. English
  3. Math
  4. Hardware
RGB Matrix Made EZ V3

DESCRIPTION This project was inspired by the H. Reed Matrix Made EZ and O. Logush Scrolling Message Board. An RGB Matrix will be supported by both the SN74595 shift registers and TPIC595 register. Additionally, scrolling features will be available by multiplexing using the MAX7221 IC as three 8x8 matrices will be incorporated. Using persistence of vision LEDs will also have the ability to be dimmed and fade in and out. The intent of this project is to simplify the process of building an LED matrix circuit for Jr ACES.
HARDWARE My project will be compatible with both the 328P and ATtiny84 MCUs.
SOFTWARE Arduino C, SPI Library Max72XX Lib
DESIGN Eagle is the platform where i will design my PCB and i will use the services of JLCPCB for the manufacturing process. Additionally, there will be a small 3D printed encasement for matrices with an open top for easy visibility.
COMMUNICATION SPI
MECHANICAL N/A
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2022/2023 Short ISP Choices
ISPs are gifts. The best choice for you is the one that fits well with your interests, as well as strengths, and blows the doors of your future opportunities wide open! It takes CONSIDERABLE time and reflection to make the BEST ISP choices but, the good news is that this year you have more options than ever before. For the 2022/2023 ICS4U-E year, the starting point for your Short ISP could come from any of the following areas (no group projects and no duplications),

  1. Reverse Engineer any existing device with digital circuitry
  2. Identify a commercially-available device and design and manufacture it BETTER!
  3. Select a component from the gallery below (I will supply it, if necessary) and create a project that incorporates it into something wonderful
  4. Research Short ISP component choices from previous years (discuss with me first to avoid redundancy and duplication) and complete the step above.
RSGC ACES?:
Digital Voltmeter
RSGC ACES:
Digital Ammeter
RSGC ACES:
Digital Temperture
RSGC ACES:
Rugged Metal Button
Vacuum Forming, & Production
MAYKU Formbox
3D Design and Printing
ACES CUSTOM PROTO STATION TRIO (10,11, 12-4BB (CHUMP))

ARM Cortex-M7 @ 600 MHz:
Teensy 4.0
JLCPCBs SMT
SMT Assembled PCBs
ACES DMM Concept ?
SMART TWEEZERS
CNC Foam?:
Mint Tin Packaging


RSGC ACES:
Laser Pointer/Follower System
RSGC ACES:
Software Library (MSGEQ7?)

Adafruit:
Water Flow Sensor
Seeed Studio:
Water Flow Sensor Kit
Adafruit
Large Analog Voltmeter
Adafruit:
Analog Ammeter


Medium ISP (SMD & CAD)

As you wind up the final two terms 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 Surface Mount Technology and Design. For this reason, you best be prepared. This ISP round you will refine your SMD and CAD skills to showcase your Design skills in preparation for the opportunities that await you in the next few years.

Your Medium ISP goal (20% of your final mark) should include the slimmest of useful DES devices consisting of a custom PCB, populated with SMT parts, and encased or hosting (Truth Be Told, Mastermind) 3D printed components in the thinnest form possible (think wallet-size proportions). You have two months. Our 3D Printing TAs, and either JLCPCB or DirtyPCBs are all about to get a serious Sr. ACES workout.

Should you be stuck for a meaningful project, consider a DDPv7 Legacy Shield to complement or replace the ones we already have (Intersection, ADC, Universal v1 or Universal v2). The only stipulation I impose is that these devices must remain compatible with our current EAGLE DDPv7/Shield files.

Download and review the updated Medium ISP Proposal. This Word version I would ask that you edit, attach, and email on Saturday December 11, 2021 under the Subject Line: Medium ISP Proposal.

 

Long ISP (THT and/or SMT, Fixed or Flex)

Download and review the updated Long ISP Proposal. This Word version I would ask that you edit, attach, and email to on Monday February 21, 2022 under the Subject Line: Long ISP Proposal.

Electronic control over your final ACES ISP must be in the form of custom PCB populated with either through hole and/or surface mount components. In the case of the latter, you can consider taking your design to the next level, in the form of a Flex circuit that will be laminated into a page of your DER. If your circuit proves fully functional a flexible 3.5V, 150 mA Powerfilm solar cell will be included in the lamination so that that viewers of your creativity will marvel at when shown the light of day!

The Flex Circuit concept was first introduced into the ACES curriculum in the 2015/2016 TEI4M year with some impressive results. Where the attempts since have failed is whren the designer becomes too ambitious. If you choose this route, I require that you keep it SIMPLE. (LEDs and resistors only?) Your Medium ISP requirements provided you with valuable experience that should improve your likelihood of success as will be a small project this term that requires the use of the ACES ATtiny85 SMD Trainer. The examples below are too ambitious for us but each offers a unique feature you may wish to consider,

 

 

Grade Contribution to Final Mark
10
30%
11
40%
12
60%

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.