Starting early is so important, it cannot be emphasized enough. In the first few weeks, the lab is usually half empty, and it's really easy to grab a lab station and soldering iron. It's also easier to get help from the TAs or Prof. Land. If you're doing a radio project, nobody's around to interfere with your signal. Later on, all the lab benches are taken, the soldering irons have mile-long wait lists, and once you do get one, the tip is used up. The TAs also have less time to devote to individual problems, since everyone needs them. We finished essentially a week early, and that made everything so much easier.
We completed the project the way we expected it to turn out. Everything reasonable we mentioned that we would do in the proposal was completed. We initially were considering two-way communication with an LCD on the transmitter, but decided that's way overkill for the principle of the design. We had some difficulty fitting all the components inside the metal case, but Dan managed to squeeze everything in and seal the box. If we had more time, we could perhaps get a pair of real antennas to enhance our signal and transmission range. Or at least design something better than a piece of wire. We have some cold solder joints and at times we feared that we might have some bad connections because our wiring was so cramped. Luckily that did not happen. Everything seems rather robust and no wires are coming free.
As mentioned in the high-level design, we adhered to applicable FCC regulations concerning low-power unlicensed transmission. We don't expect any federal officials knocking on our door anytime soon... well not for this project, anyway.
Intellectual property considerations
We didnít have any problem with any patent or trademark issues. All of the hardware and software were done by group members. However, the design doesn't involve anything non-obvious, and thus is not patentable.
Since we were dealing with potentially dangerous voltages, we had to ensure we were adequately protecting our users. We could have skimped on safety to make the project easier, for example, it was really hard to squeeze everything into that box. However, we decided it would be better to avoid killing people, so we did everything we could to insulate, ground, and isolate dangerous components from the outside world.
IEEE Code of Ethics
1. To accept responsibility in making engineering decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment
4. To reject bribery in all its forms
7. To seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions of others
9. To avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action
10. To assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.
Oh wow, we never thought we'd make it this far. We couldn't have done
it without the love and support of our families, the academy, my goldfish Nemo,
may he rest in peace, and so many others along the way. We'd also like to
thank Prof. Bruce Land for always being around to support our crazy ideas and
help us design our project. He was very helpful and patient, and made the
project a lot more enjoyable. Our TAs, David Li and Jeannette Lukito have
also been great, putting up with our nagging and helping out whenever we had
problems. Dave was also cool enough to bake us a cheesecake once, and take
us to Burger King late one night. How many TAs would do that for you?
The list is short. We'd also like to thank Vlad Kozitsky for helping us
with radio stuff and sneaking into the superlab to borrow resistors and a solder
sponge. He didn't know about that though. =ř