Project Information

Examples of previous projects

More information on project presentations and writeups

During the final month of the course you will work on self-designed projects. The projects are your opportunity to apply what you've learned, and extend it in directions that appeal to YOU. What areas of electronics seem interesting? What gizmos have you wanted to understand? What interesting and cool things do you wish you could build? Think about such things, talk with friends, colleagues, instructors, surf the webs, etc. to expand your horizons and start imagining what you might want to build.

Project Topics

  1. Should be something you can understand and build that you couldn't have done at the beginning of the semester.
  2. AVOID projects that are largely programming microcontrollers. We know you can program. Concentrate on analog electronics, OR use a microcontroller if you need it, but interface to the real world.
  3. AVOID making some complex mechanical object or lovely walnut case. Go for the electronics inside! You want a working theramin, not a beautify, non-functional box.
  4. You should understand how the circuit works! If you Google a circuit, great, but you must understand it by the end.
  5. Design something where you will be able to compare circuit theory with actual circuit performance.
  6. Entertainment value is fine.


  1. The default is a group of two people. If you wish to work alone, please discuss with your instructor.Groups of three are strongly discouraged and only allowed in extraordinary circumstances.
  2. Organize so that all participate
  3. Expectations will increase with number of members.

Phase 1: Project Topic / Justification (5pts) : Due on D2L Oct 12 Midnight ALL GROUPS (week 8)

Phase 1: What are you interested in?

Submit a statement of your Final Project Interests to the D2L dropbox
Here are the guidelines:

  • Give 2 or 3 things you are interested in for the final project. (Just one is okay if you have already discussed the idea with the instructors.)
  • Why are you interested in the project? What is your goal?
  • Who is your partner, or will you work alone?
  • Plan on 1/2 - 1 full page. (Keep it less than a page, and shorter than a page is fine, but make it 1/2 page minimum.)
  • Don't stress about this. The goal of the statement of interests is to start the conversation about final project. Next week the discussion will get more detailed and you can begin refining your ideas into actual research questions.

Phase 2: Research Proposal Draft 1 (15 pts) (week 9) Oct 26 Midnight ALL GROUPS [now extended]

In this 2-3 page proposal, you should identify the following things:

  • What is the context or motivation for this project?
  • What are your research questions / objectives for the project ?
  • What measurements will you take and what will they be compared to?
  • What theoretical ideas do you need to learn about?
  • Does any structural components (racks, robots, cars) need to be built? [hint: best answer is "no" or "very little"]
  • If anything needs to be purchased:
    • How much will it cost?
    • Where do you purchase it from?
    • How quickly can you get it?
  • What published literature or other references will be useful? What ideas are being contributed from each of your references? Please try to go beyond wikipedia.
  • Provide an overall schematic diagram of your project. Feel free to be as detailed as you like.. you'll need this eventually in great detail.
  • Create a schedule with well-defined sub-goals for each week of the final project (e.g., “measure subsystem X and compare against theory Y”). Keep in mind you will present on Week 15 of the course.
  • N.B.: shoot to order parts by Oct 26! (See info below)

Phase 3: Research Proposal Draft 2 (20 pts) . (Due of week 11) Nov 3 Midnight ALL GROUPS

Revise your Research Proposal Draft 1 to address instructor comments as necessary. In addition, consider these additional guidelines:

For two of your earliest measurements get very concrete:

    • What is the goal of the measurement? What will you learn from the results? How will you use the results for future steps in the project?
    • Include a diagram of the experiment and a schematic of the circuit
    • Identify Independent and dependent variables
    • How will you display the data?
    • What will it be compared to?
    • What instruments will you use?
    • What needs to be built?
  • For the whole project, what theoretical ideas do you need to learn more about?
  • What predictions will you make?
  • What models do you need to use?
  • Lay out a revised schedule of intermediate goals for your project. Be as concrete and specific as possible. Each goal should be clear enough that you could actually take steps to accomplish it.

Progress Updates weeks 12-13 in lab (20 pts: 10 pts each)

Weeks 12 and 13, each project team will give a five minute informal presentation. Powerpoint is optional, but may be helpful if you plan to share preliminary results or anything else that requires graphics. The goal is to communicate:

    • A quick overview of your project.
    • What you did over the last week and what you learned from it.
    • What you plan to work on during the coming week.

Lab Notebooks 11-14 due on D2L (40 pts: 10 pts each)

Same routine as weeks 1-10. Make sure to be complete.

Lab Notebook for Week 14 will be due with the final project write-up.

Presentations Dec 8, 9-5 pm (50pts)

  1. Use the computer-based presentation program such as Powerpoint, Keynote etc.
  2. Quality of the presentation will be evaluated (distinct from details of project).
  3. Prepare in parallel with lab work (do not leave until last minute).
  4. Everybody on team should contribute equally to the presentation.
  5. If possible, demostrate you working project.
  6. Length: 10 minutes with an additional 2 min for Q&A and up to three for transition.

More information on project presentations and writeups

Project Reports due Friday Dec 12, 5 pm (50 pts)

  1. Must be a fully polished, typed English document complete with diagrams and data
  2. One report per group
  3. Include theory – key parts (how do they work?)
  4. Compare results to theory
  5. Quality of the manuscript will be evaluated (distinct from details of project)
  6. Record signals during operation for putting in your presentation and proposal.  Please use a web browser to screen capture screenshot images from your oscilloscope over the network. A cellphone camera or other digital camera works well for easily taking a snapshot of the scope or other instrument.
  7. Everybody on team has a part in writing the report. The report should specify how specifically individual members contributed to the building of the project and to the report.

Grades based on

  1. originality
  2. degree of difficulty.
  3. execution, i.e. can you make it work
  4. presentation


More information on project presentations and writeups


  1. You can be reimbursed for up to $30 per person for parts  as long as the final product stays in J-lab after the project is  over.
  2. Many of the parts you need may already be available in G230, look around.
  3. To be reimbursed for parts: Make sure you have approval first. Save original receipts/invoices that show that the item has been paid for (a quote or order confirmation won't work). And take these to the main physics office.
  4. Great places to buy parts:


Important NOTE: You may not incorporate HIGH VOLTAGES into your final project without prior discussion with your lab section instructor. And your instructor may disallow or discontinue any project that uses high voltages if strict safety rules are not observed.