The Grading Scheme

See the links below for detailed descriptions of the Proposal, Final Report, Lab Notebooks, and Teamwork.

Note: There is a 25% penalty per business day for any late submissions.

Item Team / Individual Score Points Evaluation Sheet**
Initial Idea/Project Page Team 5 N/A
Proposal Team 25 Word
Design Review* Team 60 Word
Eagle Assignment Individual 10 N/A
Soldering Assignment Individual 5 N/A
Individual Progress Report Individual 25 Word
Demonstration (Informal)* Team 150 Word
Presentation (Formal)* Individual 50 PDF
Lab Notebook Individual 50 Word
Final Report: Technical Team 30 Word
Final Report: English/Format Team 20 PDF
Teamwork Individual 50 Word
Checkout Team N/A Word
Peer Reviews Individual 15  
Design Document Check Individual 5  
Mock Demo Individual 5  
Mock Presentation Individual 5  
Total   515 N/A

* Grades for these will be the average of the TA and Instructor grades; peer review grades will be used to provide feedback.
** Evaluation Sheets are subject to minor changes.

The Project Proposal

The proposal outlines the product's benefit to the end customer, the product features, a design overview, the performance specifications the project will meet, and your plan for meeting these project objectives. The plan will show the sequence in which work will be completed, and it will show how work will be shared between the team members.

Below are the items that should be discussed. An appropriate length is approximately five pages.

  1. Introduction
    1. Title: Include the project title, and a statement describing why you've selected the project you have, and why you're excited about doing it.
    2. Objectives: Describe the project goals and intended functions. Include a bulleted list of benefits to the end customer (e.g. "able to stay in touch with friends and co-workers through email access from anywhere in the world"), and a bulleted list of product features (e.g. "email sending / receiving, email forwarding, 10 MB storage, fetches email from a POP account, sends attachments).
  2. Design
    1. Block Diagram: Draw a general block diagram of the design ("general" means probably around 5 blocks). Each block should be as modular as possible. In other words, they can be implemented independently and re-assembled later.
    2. Block Descriptions: Describe the function of each block briefly, and explain how it contributes to the overall design and feature list above. Include a discussion of the interface with other blocks.
  3. Requirements and Verification Two matched enumerated lists should be made with an entry corresponding to each element of the block diagram. The first list is Requirements, the second is Verification.
    1. Requirements Each block of the block diagram must be described with one or more block-level requirement(s). If multiple requirements are listed for a single block, they should all be on the same level, not subblocks. Leave the next level of detail for the Design Review. The requirements should detail exactly what the block must do and how it must interact with other blocks. A set of high-level requirements is complete if under the conditions that all of the requirements are verified, the project will definitely function as required.
    2. Verification Decribe the test procedures that will be used to verify that the block meets the corresponding requirement. List acceptable quantitative results that will constitute the Requirement having been Verified. Describe how results will be presents, e.g. tables, graphs, a single number, etc.
    3. Tolerance Analysis: As part of your project, describe one engineering component or sub-system that most affects the performance of the project. Later on, you will test this component at extremes and include the results in your notebook and final report. For example: "To perform within a clock frequency specification, Resistor A must be 5K ohms, ±10%, in order for the circuit to perform within specification." Then demonstrate by testing the circuit at the resistor extremes and recording these results in your notebook.

      You are to choose any condition in your circuit that has an affect on this signal. Determine the tolerance of this input that maintains operation of your device or causes the affected signal to remain within tolerance. Be sure to include both tolerance extremes in your report, as well as any insights you may have gained while performing this analysis.

      Include the results as part of your final written report, although it can be done at any point in the semester. Early in the semester, start determining which signals are most important to your design, as it will help later on in your design cycle.
  4. Cost and Schedule
    1. Cost Analysis: Include a cost analysis of the project by following the outline below. Include a list of any non-standard parts, lab equipment, shop services, etc., which will be needed with an estimated cost for each.
      • LABOR: (For each partner in the project)
        Assume your dream salary ($/hour) x 2.5 x hours to complete = TOTAL Then total Labor for all partners.
      • PARTS:
        Sum planned (Engineering Estimate) parts cost
    2. Schedule: Include a time-table showing when each step in the expected sequence of design and construction work will be completed (general, by week), and how the tasks will be shared between the team members. (i.e. Select architecture, Design this, Design that, Buy parts, Assemble this, Assemble that, Prepare mock-up, Integrate prototype, Refine prototype, Test integrated system).

NOTE: Actual COSTS and SCHEDULE will be part of your Final Report. Keep a log of cost and schedule in your notebook.

Lab Notebook Overview:

The Lab Notebook is a session-by-session record of what individuals do as a member of the project team at each step of the design, construction, and testing of the project, and it is updated whenever project work is done. Most research and development work in industry will require keeping a similar log. It enables you and/or others to pick up the thread of your past work and carry it forward and serves as a legal record supporting patent claims. 

The book should show entries made at or shortly after every working session. 

In the context of this course, the notebook additionally serves as documentation of progress. It is often referred to when project demos are not successful. Finally, past students that have attempted to obtain patents find that this notebook is the crucial piece of information for proving their work. 

Instructors should see that each partner is individually carrying an important part of the design effort. Freely referring to the work of team mates is encouraged, but identical notebooks should not be turned in. 

To stress the importance of keeping track of your progress, your TA will be checking your notebook at your weekly meeting, and can provide feedback about what changes should be made. The notebooks will be graded by your TA at the end of the semester.

The Book

Any notebook with permanent bindings designed for laboratory record-keeping is acceptable. Those with pre-numbered pages are preferred. Ideally, it should have graph rulings on alternate pages, or else quarter-inch square grid on all pages. We will not accept normal spiral-bound notebooks, as these are not permissible in court since pages can be easily replaced. While most of you probably won't be taking your design to court, this is a class, and we want to teach you to get into the habit of keeping legally acceptable records. Some of you may decide you do want to patent your project, so it will be very beneficial to have given yourself the legal advantage from the start. 

We will allow you to keep your notebook on a computer, but entries will still need to be printed out and attached to a physical notebook for weekly meetings. Keep in mind also that it may be easier in the long run to scratch out rough graphs and equations on paper, so try to plan ahead. If you know you'll have a lot of graphs, equations, etc., don't make more work for yourself than you need to. Do NOT email your notebook entries to your TA unless he or she specifically requests that you do so.

Notebook entries

Each complete entry should include:

  1. Date

  2. Brief statement of objectives for that session

  3. Record of what was done

The record will include equations, diagrams, and figures. These should be numbered for reference in the narrative portion of the book. Written entries and equations should appear on the right-hand page of each pair.

Drawn figures, diagrams, and photocopies extracted from published sources should be placed on the left-hand side, which is graph-ruled. All separate documents should be permanently attached to the notebook. 

Overall, the book should contain a record that is clear and complete, so that someone else can follow progress, understand problems, and understand decisions that were made in designing and executing the project.

What to include

There is always something to record:

Suppose you are only 'kicking around' design ideas for the project with someone, or scanning library sources. Your objective is what you're hoping to find. The record shows what you found or what you decided and why, even if it isn't final. 

One of the most common errors is to fail to record these seemingly 'unimportant' activities.

Final Written Report

This section has already been migrated.

The Final Report is held to professional standards of language and format, and is evaluated by staff in the ECE Editorial Services, who also check theses and dissertations for the department. The report is also evaluated for technical content and organization by the lab instructors. Quantitative results are expected wherever applicable. At the bottom of this page is an outline of content to include. More detailed instructions can also be found in the following files:

Exemplars from Previous Semesters

The following reports received very high scores for the format and writing components of the Final Report grade. (Note that these components of the grade do not reflect technical quality.)

General Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose / usefulness of project
    2. Project functions
    3. Blocks / Subprojects
  2. Design
    1. General design alternatives
    2. Equations / Simulations / General Circuits
    3. Detailed description of design
    4. Schematics with components / Drawings / Flow diagrams
  3. Verification
    1. Testing procedure
    2. Quantitative results / Graphs / Measurements
    3. Discussion of results and failed verifications
  4. Costs
    1. List of parts and equipment needed
    2. Parts + (ideal salary (hourly rate) x actual hours spent x 2.5)
  5. Conclusion
    1. Accomplishments
    2. Uncertainties
    3. Ethical considerations
    4. Future work / Alternatives


The teamwork grade is a subjective score that will be awarded at the end of the semester according the criteria below. Partner evaluations may be emailed at the end of the semester to help determine this score.


Smart Frisbee

Ryan Moser, Blake Yerkes, James Younce

Smart Frisbee

Featured Project

The idea of this project would be to improve upon the 395 project ‘Smart Frisbee’ done by a group that included James Younce. The improvements would be to create a wristband with low power / short range RF capabilities that would be able to transmit a user ID to the frisbee, allowing the frisbee to know what player is holding it. Furthermore, the PCB from the 395 course would be used as a point of reference, but significantly redesigned in order to introduce the transceiver, a high accuracy GPS module, and any other parts that could be modified to decrease power consumption. The frisbee’s current sensors are a GPS module, and an MPU 6050, which houses an accelerometer and gyroscope.

The software of the system on the frisbee would be redesigned and optimized to record various statistics as well as improve gameplay tracking features for teams and individual players. These statistics could be player specific events such as the number of throws, number of catches, longest throw, fastest throw, most goals, etc.

The new hardware would improve the frisbee’s ability to properly moderate gameplay and improve “housekeeping”, such as ensuring that an interception by the other team in the end zone would not be counted as a score. Further improvements would be seen on the software side, as the frisbee in it’s current iteration will score as long as the frisbee was thrown over the endzone, and the only way to eliminate false goals is to press a button within a 10 second window after the goal.