CircuitSpecialists.com at ASU eProject Forum

CircuitSpecialists.com was proud to take part in the latest eProjects Forum on August 30th, 2015. The eProjects program at Arizona State University partners engineering and computing students with industry sponsors to promote ideas for projects to aid both the students and sponsors.

Sponsors were asked to provide a summary of a proposed project for students to work on throughout the semester. Both sponsors and students met during the forum to give students the chance to seek out the sponsor of the project that most interested them. This forum was presented in a “speed dating” format where students spent about 10 minutes visiting with sponsors, asking questions and learning more about a sponsor’s proposed project, after which they moved on to the next sponsor. While there was not a lot of time to speak to each group of students, it did give both students and sponsors a chance to see the level of mutual interest.

After the forum the students submitted their top project choices to the instructors and the ASU faculty will soon decide which team of students will be assigned to which project. This year there were 32 sponsored projects and over 130 students involved.

This is the first time Circuit Specialists has participated in a program like this, and we look forward to the interaction we will have with our team of students. The CircuitSpecialists.com project is the design of an inexpensive home automation and control system. The concept of the project is to develop an open source software program to control a minimum of 6 inputs and 6 outputs with a web-based control interface. Suggested uses for the inputs include but are not limited to alarm inputs, surveillance cameras (including servo motors for pan and tilt control), HVAC monitoring and control, and water sprinkler timing and control. We have requested that this project use as many off-the-shelf parts as possible in the interest of the DIY community of builders and makers.

Some of the hardware that will be at the students’ disposal includes the Banana Pi BPI-M2 SBS single-board computer, various Arduino UNO boards, and compatible shields. Student team members will also be given access to our full lineup of test equipment including our BlackJack Solderwerks soldering stations, Hantek digital storage oscilloscopes, and our extensive selection of electronic components. Our highly qualified electronic engineers and software programmers are looking forward to assisting the students in their efforts to complete this project.

One of the challenges the students will face is the need for system security for the user interface once it is accessed from outside the user’s internal network — we all know how vulnerable a system can be to unauthorized entry once it is available via the internet. But we are also asking that the project be created as open source, so that it can be expanded in the future. We feel that this will allow the best exposure for the continued use of the system as well as a great opportunity to give the students’ work more exposure to the public.

We hope that our eProject student team members will be able to look back fondly at their experience creating this application for many years to come, and that they can take pride in the way they showcased their talents working together as a team.

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