Project Guidance

Thread Starter


Joined Jan 17, 2007
This semester we have to submit a mini project. We had decided on implementing on a smart 'elevator' logic. However, we decided the topic was not good enough as the project mainly involves coding.[We had planned to show different floors by using leds n all]. Now we are asked to make a project based on what all we have learned till now. I have come up with some topics like
1. Bar Code Reader

2. Handwriting Recognition

The problem with these projects are that they seem too complex for my level of study. Some of the topics that have been done in the previous years include :- Voice controlled Robot, Smart Car Park System, Universal Remote, etc...
Im listing these projects just to show the level required. We are instructed not to repeat projects already done by our seniors.

SO if any1 has suggestions on how to make the above projects simpler or any other topics as well, I'd be grateful. We are mainly expected to do microcontroller based projects, and told not to projects based on robots.
Help please?


Joined Aug 15, 2007
This seems to be contradictory to a large degree: "However, we decided the topic was not good enough as the project mainly involves coding." and "We are mainly expected to do microcontroller based projects,"

Micros WILL need coding, and usually more coding than expected! :D

Also, because we do not know what you've learned over the semester, it's a little difficult to help.

How about a traffic-light control system with traffic-density based sequencing, Emergency vehicle pass-through, and an output to trip a camera for light-jumpers and -runners? -- Although this would be more code than hardware...


Thread Starter


Joined Jan 17, 2007
Okay Im in s6. And as for the coding ambiguity, its cos our sir doesnt really wish us to do projects that have already been so established in the real world. The traffic light project seems good. How do you plan to measure traffic density? and how is the emergency planning done...? tripping camera i guess requires some senors...its a good idea which i think my sir will approve. If you could just tell how to go about doing it. ?
Thanx for the reply.

Edit: There seems to a group with the same idea as this. However they are not sure whether they will go ahead with it. So if you could send some more ideas I'd be really grateful.
Thanx again


Joined Apr 24, 2007
If it were me, I would try to find something that is genuinely interesting, to me, and something that I already have at least some knowledge about, probably including at least some ideas for how to go about doing it, and, hopefully, something that I would really wish that I could keep and use, after building it, and, if you're lucky, maybe even something that could be a viable commercial or hobbiest product (or maybe even something that is patentable).

Just as an example, off the top of my head, I think that a relatively-low-frequency Network Analyzer or Bode-Plotter might be pretty cool, and possibly easy-enough. Analog Devices has some ICs that would do much of it, for you, and some good appnotes on line. (If you make one, let me know.)

I've always wanted to have an electronically-configurable "dummy load", too. One that also measured itself would be even better.

An automatic DRC (digital room-correction) equalizer for Hi-Fi audio would be neat, too, but might be too complex, or expensive.

And it might be good to make a standalone unit that could turn any standard IDE CD-ROM drive into an audio CD player, since the regular standalone audio CD players are more expensive. That's probably too complex, too.

How about an automatic sun-tracking solar bratwurst cooker? ;-) A solar-powered peltier beer cooler to go with it would be a bonus.

Maybe a decorative fountain controller, which could control many small water jets, to create intricate patterns? Never mind.

An x-y-tilt mini-mirror controller so a laser could be reflected to make a large display of text or graphics on a wall?

Or, if you're into automatic weapon-delivery systems, I might know someone who is still in need of a system that could do target acquisition, tracking, and fire control, to shoot ping-pong balls at any cat that jumps up onto the kitchen counter, when the owner is not home. Bonus points would be awarded for being able to automatically recognize repeat offenders and increase the projectile velocity for them. (If you didn't want to involve weapons, or the harming of cats, for some reason, maybe you could work on a recognition system that would only allow one or two particular pets to come into (and leave) a house, through a pet door.)

Maybe you could get some better ideas by looking at the Application Notes at the uC (and other IC) manufacturers' websites, and some of the projects discussed on some dedicated-to-uC forums (or websites). There might be some forums like that at , and at , for example.

Or you could even just pick any product-type that interests you and look at the commercial products that are available, and try to find one that you like, for which you could do a simplified (or maybe even a cheaper, or better) version.

If you do something that you actually like or enjoy, it will probably seem easier and you will probably also do a better job.

- Tom Gootee


Joined Aug 15, 2007
(1) The traffic density will initially be detected with pressure switches at the entry to the intersection. The timing would start out with a default cycle time. A separate count would be kept of how many vehicles pass through the intersection for each road. The counts would be saved periodically: every hour, or half-hour, or quarter-hour. Then the counts would be normalized, and used to periodically adjust the default cycle times.

Ideally, the emergency vehicles would be equipped with short-range transmitters to indicate to the lights that they should go into "Emergency Mode" until the signal is lost again.

As to the camera-tripping, that will take a little more thought: you do not want to ticket everyone who makes a left turn, nor somebody who made a left turn just after somebody made a right turn on red -- assuming they are legal where you are.

I know it is possible to do the detection, because I heard New York City is planning to install such cameras...