York Chapter


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Calling All Engineers

Professional Engineers Ontario - York Chapter
in association with
York University

is looking for your participation for the
Capstone Project


The Lassonde School of Engineering at York University is looking for Professional Engineers who are interested in working with their 4th year engineering students in their multidisciplinary Capstone Engineering Design Project.

The objective of the course is the application of theoretically or academically acquired knowledge to a practical problem in a near-"real world" design and development context. The students participating in the course are given practical, open-ended engineering design projects requiring considerable technical knowledge, and are evaluated on their performance executing the projects based on professional reviews. This year, there are currently around 15 projects anticipated, with currently planned topics including development of an electronic flute, using spare ground telescope capacity to track space debris, development of a wind-up computer and creating an app to support collaborative teaching innovation. A full list of projects planned for 2016-2017 will be available by request to interested parties.

As a P.Eng., you are sought to help advise students during their project development. The advising activity would, as a minimum, consist of providing feedback to students in the run up to / at their design gate reviews (2 or 3 reviews over the fall/winter of 2016/2017 – noting that feedback/support can be provided remotely for these reviews), and attendance at the student project fair at the end of the course. Students will have faculty advisers and supervisors, but the school is keen to involve active practitioners such as you, to give students real-world feedback, and also to allow practitioners to engage with soon-to-be graduates.

If you would like to collaborate with PEO and York University in this advising role, please contact us at your earliest convenience. Project allocation will occur soon, prior to the course kick-off in September.


Capstone Project – preliminary list

The preliminary list of projects planned for the 2016-2017 Capstone project, along with short descriptions, is provided below. The final list may differ from this, based on the need to replace some projects and/or students who propose their own projects.

Individual LegoTM sets are great to build, take apart and rebuild, following the instructions provided. Storing LegoTM sets individually can be challenging however, but combining multiple sets in a single storage container can make finding the correct piece for one of those sets later on quite difficult. When designing one’s own models, it can be useful to find a specific piece in a pile, but again this can be challenging when dealing with a large amount of mixed pieces. This project will develop a means to identify a chosen type of LegoTM piece from a pile, based on user selection or a reference image (such as the instructions).

There are a growing number of uncontrolled human-made objects in orbit, and generating high-precision orbit knowledge for all of them, in order to avoid collisions with controllable spacecraft, is an ongoing and growing challenge. There are a large number of ground-based telescopes that have spare capacity to observe such objects near the geostationary satellite belt. This project will develop software compatible with standard telescope command protocols to use such spare capacity to identify, track and generate orbit measurements for such uncontrolled objects.

There are situations where it would be helpful to have a traditional computer system and peripherals operating in an environment where access to power may be limited. This could include low-cost computing for schools in developing countries, where power infrastructure may be fragile or non-existent, or for personal computer use when in a safe space during a storm or natural disaster, or during a prolonged power outage. Whilst smart phones have addressed a number of the issues around saving the state of a computer when power is minimized, and retrieving that state on full power recovery, and alternate power technologies such as wind-up radios and torches have been around for a while, this project will explore the range of possible alternate-power computer technologies.

Spacecraft flight software traditionally requires dedicated software development. With the advent of cubesats, many of the spacecraft hardware systems have been commoditized, but the flight software often remains program-specific. ESA have created a framework of services to be met by flight systems, which help define standards for flight software to meet, however a number of these are already met by terrestrial standards, which are not used on spacecraft. This project will look to map traditional and app software development protocols and standards to spacecraft software development, to try to leverage rapid ground software development approaches for future flight software.

Electronic wind instruments have existed for some time, in particular since the advent of the wind controller, an instrument derived from the clarinet, which provides sensor interfaces to capture breathing and fingering. Such interfaces have not yet been created for a flute-like instrument. The closest instruments use a traditional flute as the source trigger for other electronic sounds. This project will determine the characteristics of embouchure and breathing, or headjoint airflow, required to determine the sound that will be produced by a flute, and develop appropriate headjoint and fingering interfaces to allow a flautist to interact with this new electronic instrument.

There have been a number of recent developments in social robotics, providing robots that are designed to encourage interaction with people. This project will develop a robot for the Bergeron building, to help serve users and guests of the building through providing information, accompanying people around the building, checking on the occupants outside regular hours or other tasks. The project team is expected to determine how to allow the robot to navigate around the building autonomously, including in the presence of temporary obstacles, and engage with different types of user.

Many faculty across campus engage in innovative teaching methods or styles. Some faculty also find challenges with some material to be taught and would be interested in having colleagues suggest possible ways to change their classroom practice to address the challenges. This project will develop an app to allow faculty to highlight specific classes where they will be using novel approaches and would welcome a handful of peers to attend to see the approaches in action, and to highlight classes where they may face challenges and would be keen to have suggestions for improvement. Particular care will be taken to ensure information privacy is managed.

New rollercoasters are very costly to develop. Ensuring the design will be engaging and the motion as expected prior to building the ride is a valuable development activity, and can in itself create a new simulated ride experience. This project will develop a motion simulation prototyping platform to simulate the motion expected from a planned rollercoaster ride.

Use of cameras to provide a richer calling experience has exploded since the advent of smartphones. This project will explore the potential for development of a 3d projected image of the caller (or e.g. objects in the room with the caller), to give a more immersive experience for virtual interaction.

Future cars will be equipped with sensors and communication systems to coordinate automated driving between multiple vehicles. It is predicted that such “road trains” will be faster, more efficient and less likely to be involved in accidents. Students involved in this project will use multiple NXP Cup car platforms to design a sensing and communication system to navigate a track at speed, while maintaining a fixed distance between each car.

To create custom-made shirts, clothing manufacturers need an inexpensive measurement system to take a customer’s torso measurements in a convenient manner. Ideally, such a system could be implemented from a customer’s home, using a smart phone camera and would maintain customer privacy.

A Canadian lunar mission is planned for 2020. A semi-autonomous rover is to be included in the mission. The rover’s task is to gather lunar soil samples and test for moisture while maintaining radio contact with a base station. The rover’s mass must not exceed 5kg and must be solar-powered.

Amusement parks are divided into different zones that are only accessible to certain people, at certain times, based on their roles (customers, security, ride operators, administrators, cleaning staff, maintenance workers, etc.). Develop a system that can monitor a 5m by 5m area, with up to four doors and restrict access to particular doorways based on the person’s role, time of day and security status of the park.

For more information, please contact

Dr. Franz Newland, P.Eng.
Assistant Lecturer
York University
Cell: +1 519 212 7538
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Mr. Lui Tai, P.Eng.
Education Director
PEO York Chapter
Cell: +1 647 218 0648
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Mr. Matthew Xie, P.Eng., MBA
PEO Capstone Project Lead
PEO York Chapter
Cell: +1 416 917 5688
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