Introduction and Acknowledgements

This year the ECE Senior Handbook Project celebrates our 11th year of this project and continues the adventure to keep pace with how industry disseminates interesting and time worthy information. We share technical information about the research and technologies our students are working on through a focused technical summary. The technical note, or tech note (TN) for short, is a succinct article that focuses on a particular topic sharing the most relevant information to garner a reader’s interest. The reader has the vast reaches of the web and the authoritative scholarly literature to pursue and investigate the topic to satisfy their own curiosity.

This year was challenging and difficult — still filled with some fears, anxieties, and uncertainties all related to almost leaving the COVID-19 pandemic in the rear view mirror. While we did return to in-person classes, the ECE seniors did accomplish their Senior Capstone Projects and this year’s ECE Senior Handbook entries. Their teamwork and enthusiasm remained high and focus to accomplish all they set out to do. These pages tell their story.

The topics for the tech notes of 2023 are drawn from the Senior Capstone project in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). They reflect the subject matter that attracted the students to their senior Capstone project in the first place. While some are rich in detail, other TNs are less so. The less in detail for some is intentional, as several of the projects involve proprietary technologies. Disclosure of some aspects of the project would impact the U.S. Patent Office submissions filed during the Spring semester, proprietary information from industry who sponsored the project, or scholarly research awaiting formal publication. We hope you enjoy reading what our ECE seniors learned about and gain some insight into their Capstone projects and the working prototypes they designed and delivered to their customers.

The learning objectives of this assignment are articulation and expression to a non-technical audience. The ability to communicate to a broad audience is paramount in the technical disciplines. Information and its distribution is the engine that promotes innovation. The production of the TNs is not a simple process. Iteration and reflection on failure occur more than one would like in writing and polishing the final note. Most important, the publication of written, imagery, audio, and video elements involve meeting publication standards, gaining approval of the project editors, meeting deadlines, and making sure the copyright and intellectual property of others has not been violated. The legal consideration of publishing information on the web must be followed. The senior ECE students learn these standards by doing.

The Handbook, incorporating the TNs, is a living set of topics, articles, and connections. Now, in Spring 2023 the TNs continue the four themes from previous years: design process, management, technologies, and communications and life skills. The seniors write on these topics to communicate how the topics impacted them, their classmates, and on society.

The Senior Handbook Project—the Tech Notes—did not just happen. The magic behind the moment is a combination of the efforts of many people. An energetic thank you to Kristina Aikens (Associate Director – Writing Resources) at the Tufts Academic Resources Center for her help with making connections to the writing consultants—graduate students—for review and editorial assistance. Thank you and recognition to David Fristrom (Engineering Research & Instruction Librarian), Andrea Schuler (Digital Collections Librarian) at Tisch Library. David worked with the ECE seniors to teach them about the research tools with the objective to find appropriate authoritative sources in professional and scholarly databases. Andrea taught the seniors on research techniques, intellectual property and copyright infringement, proper citation of authored works, and publishing protocols. David and Andrea met with students one-on-one to provide specific assistance on some interesting matters. Their in-class activities made the learning objectives tangible and real.

A special thank you to David Grogan (Senior Solutions Specialist) at Tufts Technical Services for his help with the web site end of things. He has been an invaluable asset to all of us. While providing the technical support for all the computer education apps, he goes beyond getting “under the hood” of the technology and making the tools all work as they were meant to do, and getting them to work as we want them to. He spent countless hours working to understand our goals and objectives, and then proposed solutions that were better than our own conceptions. Further, he worked with us in the trenches to realize the limitations of the existing tools and search for ones that we required. He helped us work out the kinks with the Box site. He was always on call, answered our distress signals, and educated us on the idiosyncrasies of cyberspace. And he built the handbook site for this year’s pages from all the different items that were provided by the ECE seniors and myself. I cannot thank him enough.

This embodiment of work is from our Tufts ECE seniors. They do all the heavy lifting and make us proud every year. A more than special thank you to all of them: I wish for them all the success as they venture forth on their new careers. I know they will do good things and make an impact. I hope for them all the best, always.

For the reader: we hope you enjoy learning about what we have learned over this last year. If what we learned over this last year peaks your curiosity, then let your imagination soar with some of the tech notes from prior years. And, let our efforts take you to places that we never imagined.

Ron Lasser
Professor of the Practice
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Tufts University
Spring 2023