Drones, video games and road trip weather trackers

Group of students working with Peter Jamieson

Part of a series of Miami Moments highlights on Undergraduate Research, summer 2015.

Original story by Susan Meikle, university news and communications, meiklesb@MiamiOH.edu

Students who take Peter Jamieson's Digital Systems Design class (ECE 287) design their own projects as part of the hands-on lab class. Jamieson encourages students with particularly interesting ideas to apply for Miami's Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS) program.

This year four of his students received the USS award, which provides six hours of academic credit with tuition waived, a $2,600 fellowship and a $400 project allowance — along with the opportunity to work on an independent research project with a faculty mentor.

Two other students received funding from the office of the dean of the College of Computing and Engineering to conduct independent research projects with Jamieson.

The projects range from creating an autonomous drone for taking photos during Ultimate Frisbee tournaments to creating a computer program to generate landscapes for video games. 

Video game for cultural understanding – Naoki Mizuno

Mizuno, a senior computer engineering major and computer science minor from Toyota, Japan, has been developing Culture Code, a multiplayer video game framework to help teach cultural understanding to classes.

Chris Bell, a sophomore computer engineering major, is working on the Culture Code video game project with Mizuno. Bell's independent research, also mentored by Jamieson, is supported with funding from the office of the dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. 

Mizuno also worked with Jamieson last summer on the digital game verilogTown, designed so that people can solve city-based puzzles where cars need help to safely traverse the city. Mizuno is one of the main developers of the Beta release of verilogTown.

Road trip weather tracker - Bailey Hall

Hall, a junior electrical engineering major from Rochester, Mich., is/has been working on a road trip weather tracker — a route and weather prediction application. Similar to a Google map for mapping the best travel route, the application will also follow the weather as you toggle through the planned route hour by hour.

His system uses predictive radar and data from NOAA weather stations. It can be used for road trips of less than 2,500 miles (as weather cannot be predicted accurately past two days, Campbell said).  Ideally a user could change the planned travel route to avoid areas of bad weather.

The calculator is now available online – check it out at www.usweathertripper.com

Drone to film field sports/Ultimate Frisbee – Braden Campbell

Campbell, a sophomore computer engineering major from Zanesville, has been working on an autonomous ball-tracking drone to film field sports events.

The quadcopter uses autonomous navigation and computer vision to follow colored markers on a sports field — such as red Ultimate Frisbee discs. Campbell's goal is to have the drone film field sports games.

Campbell, a member of Miami's club Ultimate Frisbee team, thought of the drone idea after a club tournament. He had been thinking of ways to film an Ultimate Frisbee game by setting a camera on a tripod, but the camera needed to be up high to capture the action. Jamieson suggested using a quadcopter, and Campbell's project took flight.

Campbell also worked with Ryan Sunderhaus, senior computer engineering major and computer science minor, on the project.

Sunderhaus is also mentored by Jamieson and his project is supported with funding from the office of the dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. 

Ultimate Frisbee and other disc sports were officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee Aug. 1, 2015 — near the same time that Campbell's ball-tracking drone made it's first flight in the Withrow Court gym.

Watch a video of the drone's first flights – and the drone's bird's-eye view - here.

Landscape generation for video games – Alan Ehret

Ehret, a junior electrical engineering major from Centerville, has been using meta heuristic algorithms for procedural landscape generation for video games. In other words, he is creating a computer program that can generate landscapes to be used with video games.

His program creates a way to embed a small description in coding language that the computer can expand into an actual onscreen landscape.

He is building a library of landscapes, or code for the landscape maps, that can be used in different video game designs.

The image at left shows two of the different landscapes Ehret created with his program. 

Not just coding: Creativity and Innovation

Miami celebrates Creativity and Innovation during the 2015-2016 academic year. 

Creativity starts with asking questions. Innovation begins when those questions generate ideas that are put into action. Each of these USS projects follows that arc of creativity and innovation.

Jamieson is also working on a book project that deals with (appropriately for a creative thinker) questions: His book College Q and A will be released early next year. 

Ask, or answer, a question on www.collegeqanda.com.

Continue the story here and read about other cool projects!

Follow Jamieson on Twitter.

Check out Jamieson's website for more "Cool Student Projects."