Kettering University students develop creative phone apps for entertainment, problem solving

There are phone apps for everything it seems these days and Kettering University students had an opportunity to be creative with their own for a class project.

There are phone apps for everything it seems these days and Kettering University students had an opportunity to be creative with their own for a class project.

The ideas they came up with were useful and entertaining and that’s exactly what Dr. Jaerock Kwon, associate professor of Computer Engineering, was hoping to see with the end of term projects for his App Development for Mobile Devices course.

From reserving a university room with their Kettering ID to playing Tic-Tac-Toe with robotic arms, the students worked hard to put their stamp on mobile apps.

“People imagine games, handy tools, some social network apps when they hear mobile app development. The students in my mobile app class are mainly from Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering, so I would like to have the students conduct interesting projects using their EE or CE knowledge with mobile devices,” Kwon said. “Through implementations of their final projects the students learned how to combine their theoretical knowledge from textbooks with new technologies to solve real world problems, how to balance their resources to get things done in time, and how to work as a team member.”

Students were given the requirements of having actuators (make something move), sensors (make the system acquire information of its environment) and a mobile app (make the whole system work).

Here’s what the students created:

Remote Door Lock System

Lucas Fronza, Tiago Cabral and Gabriel Medeiros, all in the IIE Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, created a mobile app that allows a secure way of unlocking a door.

Upon receiving a request from a door through the mobile app, the owner can register the user and remotely unlock the door. The registered users can be managed through the app. The owner can configure the system to allow specific users to access the door.

Robotic Arm Tic-Tac-Toe

Brandon Beryman ‘17 created a robotic arm to play tic-tac-toe against a human component. The arm and game is controlled through a mobile app that recognizes where pieces are played and can be set to certain levels of difficulty.

The device can be used for entertainment or as a teaching tool for robotics, Beryman said during his presentation to the class. The game can be turned on, reset and reviewed all from the phone.

Room Reservation App

James Garza ‘18, Ari Budiono ‘18 and Colette Umbach ‘17 created an app that would solve an issue that they believe many Kettering students face -- reserving a room on campus.

The app would allow students to look up if a room is available, request a time to reserve it and then use their student IDs to unlock the room instead of waiting for campus safety to unlock the room.

The student would have to login in with the Kettering ID, which means their ID would be the only one that could unlock the door.

App Controlled Pet Feeder

Alex Medina ‘16, Michele Marra ‘16 and Peter Fornari ‘16 created an app that could control a pet feeder to release a specified amount of food at a scheduled time.

The app would allow the pet owner to use this on a regular basis or when gone on vacation. They specify how many cups of food need to be dispensed and when it needs to be done. It can be scheduled out far in advance or last minute.

ECE Assistant with Face Recognition

Akanksha Ashwini, a Kettering graduate student, created a face database for ECE members. The hardware consists of an Android table PC with a camera, a distance sensor, and a bluetooth module.

When someone approaches the system, a distance sensor detects something close and sends a signal to the table PC through bluetooth connection. Then the Android table PC tries to detect if the object is a person. When the face detection system finds a face then it starts recognizing the face. The recognition process is just basically comparing geometrical features in the detected face to the faces in the database.

If the face was found in the database, the system says greeting to the person with his/her name. Otherwise, the system will say like "how can I help you?" with a note taking screen. The user can select a person who gets the message.

Color Following Humanoid Robot

Li Dang, a Kettering graduate student, created an app to control a humanoid robot to seek and move toward objects of a certain color.

The app, designed for iOS users, can manually move the robot or choose a color for it to follow.

The original head of the robot was replaced with a custom designed module that consists of a vision sensor (Pixy CMUcam5) to help it “see,” a servo motor to rotate the sensor to find a color, and a microcontroller with Bluetooth low energy (Bluno) to control the servo motor. This robot design can be utilized to make a robot soccer team.