Project Proposal


The proposal outlines your project's motivation, design, requirements, ethics, and safety. The project proposal is an expansion on the information provided in the RFA. Use the following format:

  1. Introduction

    • Problem: One to two paragraphs detailing the problem statement. Include any relevant references to justify the existence or importance of the problem.
    • Solution: One to two paragraphs describing the solution. Give a high-level idea of what your solution is, then delve into detail as to how it is implemented. You do not have to commit to a particular implementation at this point, but your description should be explicit and concrete.
    • Visual Aid: A pictorial representation of your project that puts your solution in context. Include other external systems relevant to your project (e.g. if your solution connects to a phone via Bluetooth, draw a dotted line between your device and the phone). Note that this is not a block diagram and should explain how the solution is used, not a breakdown of inner components.

      Sample visual aid for project which remaps GameCube buttons on the fly.

    • High-level requirements list: A list of three quantitative characteristics that this project must exhibit in order to solve the problem. Each high-level requirement must be stated in complete sentences and displayed as a bulleted list. Avoid mentioning "cost" as a high level requirement.
  2. Design
    • Block Diagram: Break your design down into blocks and assign these blocks into subsystems. Label voltages and data connections. Your microcontroller can live in multiple subsystems if you wish, as in the example below.

      Sample block diagram for electric longboard + remote

    • Subsystem Overview: A brief description of the function of each subsystem in the block diagram and explain how it connects with the other subsystems. Every subsystem in the block diagram should have its own paragraph.
    • Subsystem Requirements: For each subsystem in your block diagram, you should include a highly detailed block description. Each description must include a statement indicating how the block contributes to the overall design dictated by the high-level requirements. Any interfaces with other blocks must be defined clearly and quantitatively. Include a list of requirements where if any of these requirements were removed, the subsystem would fail to function. Good example: Power Subsystem must be able to supply at least 500mA to the rest of the system continuously at 5V +/- 0.1V.
    • Tolerance Analysis: Identify an aspect of your design that poses a risk to successful completion of the project. Demonstrate the feasibility of this component through mathematical analysis or simulation.
  3. Ethics and Safety
    Assess the ethical and safety issues relevant to your project. Consider both issues arising during the development of your project and those which could arise from the accidental or intentional misuse of your project. Specific ethical issues should be discussed in the context of the IEEE and/or ACM Code of Ethics. Cite, but do not copy the Codes. Explain how you will avoid ethical breaches. Cite and discuss relevant safety and regulatory standards as they apply to your project. Review state and federal regulations, industry standards, and campus policy. Identify potential safety concerns in your project.

Formatting Guidelines

The formatting and writing style should be the same as that of the final report. Please see the Final Report Guidelines for details, or check out the Lecture slides on the topic. We recommend using a LaTeX template. You can find that on the Final Report page or here.

Submission and Deadlines

The Project Proposal document should be uploaded to My Project on PACE in PDF format before the deadline listed on the Calendar.

There are two deadlines on the Calendar. If you submit before the Early Deadline, your team will get 3 additional points of credit to be applied to your Proposal. This means that if your proposal would normally score an 18/25, you will instead receive a 21/25. It is highly recommended to complete your proposal by the early deadline for maximum points!

Master Bus Processor

Featured Project

General Description

We will design a Master Bus Processor (MBP) for music production in home studios. The MBP will use a hybrid analog/digital approach to provide both the desirable non-linearities of analog processing and the flexibility of digital control. Our design will be less costly than other audio bus processors so that it is more accessible to our target market of home studio owners. The MBP will be unique in its low cost as well as in its incorporation of a digital hardware control system. This allows for more flexibility and more intuitive controls when compared to other products on the market.

Design Proposal

Our design would contain a core functionality with scalability in added functionality. It would be designed to fit in a 2U rack mount enclosure with distinct boards for digital and analog circuits to allow for easier unit testings and account for digital/analog interference.

The audio processing signal chain would be composed of analog processing 'blocks’--like steps in the signal chain.

The basic analog blocks we would integrate are:

Compressor/limiter modes

EQ with shelf/bell modes

Saturation with symmetrical/asymmetrical modes

Each block’s multiple modes would be controlled by a digital circuit to allow for intuitive mode selection.

The digital circuit will be responsible for:

Mode selection

Analog block sequence

DSP feedback and monitoring of each analog block (REACH GOAL)

The digital circuit will entail a series of buttons to allow the user to easily select which analog block to control and another button to allow the user to scroll between different modes and presets. Another button will allow the user to control sequence of the analog blocks. An LCD display will be used to give the user feedback of the current state of the system when scrolling and selecting particular modes.

Reach Goals

added DSP functionality such as monitoring of the analog functions

Replace Arduino boards for DSP with custom digital control boards using ATmega328 microcontrollers (same as arduino board)

Rack mounted enclosure/marketable design

System Verification

We will qualify the success of the project by how closely its processing performance matches the design intent. Since audio 'quality’ can be highly subjective, we will rely on objective metrics such as Gain Reduction (GR [dB]), Total Harmonic Distortion (THD [%]), and Noise [V] to qualify the analog processing blocks. The digital controls will be qualified by their ability to actuate the correct analog blocks consistently without causing disruptions to the signal chain or interference. Additionally, the hardware user interface will be qualified by ease of use and intuitiveness.