Dr. Farid Farahmand: Sonoma State University

EE 492/493: Senior Design Project
Instructor: Dr. Farid Farahmand
Fall 2018/Spring 2019

Lecture/Lab: Wednesday 5:30 pm - 8:110 pm
Office Hours: click here
Office: Salazar 2001
Phone: (707) 664-3491
Email: farid dot farahmand at Sonoma dot edu

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Course Description: Capstone course calls on the professional skills of the discipline; it draws on the core disciplines of the students` major field of study, as well as exploring necessary topics such as scheduling, organization, budgeting,, prototyping, develop teamwork, customer liaison skills, employ creativity in proposing new solutions, and so forth. Hence, by the end of the capstone process students are expected to have a good understanding about various design phases, including analysis phase, a design phase, a validation phase and a production phase.

The Senior Design Project (Capstone) is a two semester course with the following objectives:

First Semester: Understanding principles of engineering design process, completing small group projects, formulating problem statement, analyzing requirements, delivering high-level design block diagram, and bill of materials.

Second Semester: Continuing the work in the first semester, implementing, testing, and demonstrating the final product. Final prototype must be shown to meet initial specifications. Prerequisite: EE 592.

Objectives: After successfully completing this course, a student should be able to:  

  1. Apply engineering design principles to formulate problem statement, analyze requirements and produce a system-level block diagram.
  2. Prototype an electronic and/or software system to meet given specifications.
  3. Integrate knowledge from across the core curriculum.
  4. Take a systems approach to problem solving.
  5. Work productively in a team environment.
  6. Effectively communicate technical ideas and concepts.
  7. Learn about project management, timely delivery, and customer relationship.
  8. Understand the environmental and social impacts of the design.   Through completing the senior design project, students must demonstrate solid understanding of the following technical topics: Wireless communications, LabVIEW and MatLAB, microprocessors, sensors and transducer, networking and data communications, digital and analog communication, C/Java programming, etc.   

Project Requirements:

Completing the capstone project will require spending significant time and resources. Hence, all students are highly encouraged to find a project topic that is interesting to them. However, I highly encourage students to be open minded and consider the case that many projects, although initially don`t seem to be attractive and appealing, may turn out to be very interesting.


Although, individual students are allowed to find their own project, all capstone projects must meet the following criteria:


1-     Customer driven: In general, sources of projects are preferred to be Industry sponsored (Real-world problem from local industry or Support provided for materials and other expenses), Faculty Research based (Projects funded by research grants) or Competition based (examples are ASME Human Powered Vehicle, SAE Mini Baja, ASME annual design competition). In either case, all capstone projects must have an external client (customer). That is, projects cannot be proposed by participating students (exceptions will be made in special circumstances). Therefore, students working in a company are strongly recommended to talk to their co-workers and find a sponsor (customer) at work. All students are expected to produce industry-standard deliverables throughout the two-semester course. All project sponsors (clients) must complete the sponsorship sheet and sign it in order for the project to be officially considered as a capstone project.

2-     Team oriented: All projects must be done in teams of 2-3 students (exceptions will be made in special circumstances). You are highly encouraged to find students from other disciplines to assist you in the project. Sometimes, these students can actually receive credit toward their major in forms of Independent Study or Research Project. I strongly encourage you to consider teaming us with students majoring in Arts. Environmental Sciences, Computer Science, Biology and/or Physics.

3-     User friendly: All final projects must be operational easily handled, and useable by external clients. Hence, all projects must be accompanied in a (software or hardware) package ready for the client to use.

4-     Content: The project must demonstrate substantial study in at least three of the following topics: digital design and microelectronics, microprocessors, digital/analog communications, networking.

5-     Community needs: All projects must meet actual community needs (building a rocket that hits the flying target is not acceptable unless its clear benefit to the community is demonstrated). Community may be defined on a local, state, national, or global level (to this end, projects must agree with Center for Community Engagement guidelines.)

6-     Funding: All teams are required to submit a Research Grant Proposal and request for funding for their project. The proposal is due October. Please note that, as of now, no substantial funding is available for senior design projects. Thus, all students are highly encouraged to seek funding from the client.


Grading policy:


EE 492 Grade (1-Unit): IA+PP +FP+PD+GA 100%

Individual class assignments and activities (online or in-class) - (IA)


Proposal Presenataion (PP): See proposal_evaluation . Please see Note 1, below. PP will be determined based on the following rubric: Project Proposal Presentation Rubric

Complete description of tests achieved prior to starting the project: test result sdocument. You msut include plots, tables, test method, description. 10%
Funding proposal document (FP group effort - see note 2)- see example 10%
Project Documentations (PD - group effort): - this will be based on the following rubric. See Note 1. 10%

Group Assignments and Projects (GA) - including (see Note 2):

  • Engineering/Marketing Requirements - must reflect the project accurately.
  • Project Schedule - must be meaningful and accurate.
  • Customer Survey - The results must be accurately evaluated and plotted.
  • Engineering Ethics and project sustainability
  • Lab-based projects/ Inital test results
  • Others....
No late submissions will be accepted. ----
Note 1: Any PP or PD grade LESS THAN 80% will NOT PASS. The team has one last chance to present in January. Under such cases the maximum course grade each team member can receive will be C+. This is regardless of individual works or other grades. ----
Note 2: There is no partial credit for these assignments.  

Any unexcused absence in face-to-face or online meetings (any late arrivale or early departure) -2 %/meeting; Maximum of 15 % of the grade


If the team does not pass December presentation, all school fundings will be suspended and the maximum grade that can be earned will be. The team has one last chance to present in January. Under such cases the maximum course grade each team member can receive will be C+. This is regardless of individual works.


EE 493 Grade (3-Unit): 100%
First meeting in January - Must have an up-to-date report and give a demo (no partial grade) 5%
Midterm meeting in March or so - Must have an up-to-date report and give a demo (no partial grade) 5%
Individual Grade - Showing up / completing weekly tasks (by the advisor) 40%
Group Grade (by the review committee)
  • Documentation - Rubric (30%)
  • Presentation - Rubric (10%)
  • Demonstration - Rubric (10%)

Incomplete projects will not receive group grade in May - the group MUST complete the project!


EE 492/EE 493 Lecture Topics and Schedule
Day Lecture Assignment/Activity Due
  • Welcome - about the course / what you are expected to do
In class (Lab 1): Statement of needs / Problem Definition: (1) Goal, (2) Objective, (3) Constraints / High-level Requirements / Design Requirements Specifications
  • Review engineering requirements
  • ---- Speaker

Submit your first draft of a (any) project proposal - one page Need summary + Problem Definition + high level diagram + ten Engineering and ten Marketing Requirements - see example Bring a hard copy.

  • See the schedule
  • ---- Speaker
  • Presentation techniques: Link to video on YouTub
  • Review each others projects / Talk about details of your projects: Architecture, purpose, etc.

Please finalize the project sign-up sheet. We should make sure each team is matched up with one of the existing projects / no duplications please! Time to decide! :) Please use Faculty Advisor Approvals Form for your first draft. -

9/27 Update project summary 2018--2019

Each student must submit a document containing the following information (Use the template) - Complete ONLY Section 1 and Submit your document via Canvas:  

  • Coversheet
    • Project Title (coversheet)
    • Group Members  (coversheet)
    • Faculty Advisor/Mentor name  
  • Complete Section 1:
    • Introduction and Background: What is the problem, who has this problem? what are similar products or projects? what is your idea, specifically? how is your idea different from others 
    • Include: 10 Engineering Requirements for your project (must be numbered ER.1, ER.2, etc) /product + 10 Marketing requirements (must be numbered MR.1, MR.2, etc)
  • References (related to section 1 - must be following IEEE standards) - You can use this ink: https://www.refme.com/us/citation-generator/ieee/ you can use RefMe


  • Add the following sections to your document:
    • Test Results: Identify and LIST the testing areas that you need to exam
    • Show the test results for one case
    • Must have one test result included in the document
    • Engineering Ethics - complete the assignment
  • Complete your technical and high-level block diagrams
    • You should have both functional and detailed technical diagram.
  • Make an appointment with the Writing Center (mandatory - all team members must participate)-Proof of attendance is required. Review your Literature Review
  • Create a web page - here are example

Do the following:

  • Gantt Chart (time-line!) - See the example
  • Identify five tests you complete by December; risk areas and your contingency plans. Here is an example
  • Evaluate five alternative designs using decision matrix. Here is an example
  • Ordering your parts
  • Review your schedule & risks
  • Review test plans
  • Product Cycle: Relationship between MR, ER, and Testing
  • QUIZ on Ethics. See assignments in the Canvas.
  • Make sure your technical diagram is complete - include it in your document! It must be readable! Identify which team member's responsibilities.
  • Submit SOURCE propsal - See Canvas. Read the instructions carefully.
  • Start working on your test result sdocument.



  • IMPORTANT: Each team must start meeting with its faculty advisor on regular basis.
  • Complete the Faculty Advisor Survey
  • Make sure you have discussed your project/documents/slides with your customer/industry mentor - have them sign the form
11/27 (Tuesday) Practice Presentation Mock presentations (Salazar 2001) - 3:30 - 5:30 pm - Be there!
  • Proposal Presentation (9 am -12:30 pm)
Prepare for presentation
  • Last Class - Starting at 2:00 pm
  • Keysight Orientation
****Before class, please talk to your faculty advisor and receive his/her feedback on your presentation****
  • Everything must be submitted by noon!
  • Use the check list here!
EE 493
  • Receive permission to register for EE 493
  • IMPORTANT: Each team must meet with its faculty advisor on regular basis. Please print the following meeting log template and present it to your faculty. Each team must have a minimum of TEN meeting logs by the end of the semester (May)!

Project Update: 9 am - 11:00 am - Be availale!

  • Be prepared to give an update about your project - We will go around and get an update about each project. Your progress report must match up with your Gantt Chart in your report. This counts as FIVE percent of your overall grade for ES 493.
3/1/2018 Project Update: 9 am - 11:30 am
4/5/2018 Second Midterm Update - 9 am - 11:30 am - Midterm Report
  • Make sure you demonstrate your project to your advisor. Your advisor must complete the Midterm Demo Form. Make sure you get some feedback from your advisor. Return the forms please.
  • Make sure you have met with your customer/industry mentor - have them sign the form
4/24/2018 Submit the first draft of your document before noon - Use Drop-box Final Project Report Rubric
4/30/2018 (Tuesday 3-6 pm) Poster Presentation

Science Symposium, 4-6:30 pm / Be prepared for technical questions / You must demo your project

4/29 & 5/1 (Monday & Wednesday) 5:30 - 9:30 pm Mock presentations (Salazar 2001) - Be there!
5/3/2019 - Friday

Final Project Presentation: 9 am - 2:30 pm

5/11??/2018 Please be there at 10:00-11:30 am Talk to indutry advisors! Oral Exit Interview BEFORE YOU COME TO CLASS:

Group picture 12:00-1:30 pm

  • Talk to the industry advisors! Must be present!
  • See Final Check List - make sure you have everything
  • Submit the final copy of your documentations. Make sure you have the following in the drop-box in the FINAL DOCUMENT folder:
    • Your presentation slides
    • Final document - e.g., Project_Name-0515-2017
    • Your Final Poster
  • Get your Graduation Cap and Gown and get ready for a group picture! We will get together at noon by the Engineering Office.
5/19/2018 SS&T Commencement 2 hours!

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