Camosun students display bright ideas

Event showcases innovative projects from electronics and computer engineering students

Camosun College students Marshall Smith

The idea to install lighting into the frame of a bedroom mirror isn’t new, nor is having a screen hidden within a mirror.

But when Marshall Smith and his Camosun College electronics and computer engineering technology group mates looked into it, the retail price was at least $600. Smith and fellow students Bailey Kowaliuk and Evan Lowdon, believed they could build the same and add a screen inside that will display the current weather through the mirror.

“The idea took off when my girlfriend’s mom said she’d love a mirror that could have lighting in it and could tell her the weather so she’d know what to wear that day,” Smith said.

On Friday, the trio of Smith, Kowaliuk and Lowdon displayed the final product which they call Mirrorage, an ‘appliance for the modern age.’ The mirror is about one metre high and is bound by a lighting frame (white or red), bluetooth audio speaker and a seven-inch screen that displays the weather, date and time. The mirror is one of about a dozen end-of-year projects that were on display for the electronics and computer engineering portion of their studies in the Interurban Centre for Trades Education & Innovation Atrium at Camosun’s Interurban campus.

In total, the cost of the mirror with lights, and a small computer relaying the weather information from an app, cost about $500 to build. That doesn’t include the slow and careful time put into the project, which would be filed under the research and development section of the books, should they go to market.

They created the mirror by purchasing materials from Victoria companies Allied Glass and Sunshade Window Films. The former expressed interest in selling the final product, should they choose to produce them.

However, they probably won’t go to market, Smith said, as they’ll move on to the demanding Camosun bridge program for engineering that transfers to the University of Victoria. However, it is tempting.

“I’m taking it back to the mainland for the holidays and we’ll see if my girlfriend’s mom wants to buy it,” Smith said. “There’s no pressure on her, we’ll see.”

Many of the projects at Camosun on Friday were presented as ‘in progress,’ as not all were brought to completion.

That included a 3D joystick that ‘floats’ in an apparatus and uses an electromagnetic tracking system to detect the position of the handle.

“The calculus and mathematics behind this is very challenging, there is nothing on the market like it that doesn’t use mechanical parts,” said Tyler Gibson of the ‘Mag Stick’ team. “Right now, it will take a lot of time to finish this.”

The group had hoped they could link the controller to a video game for the display – it did show its position on a x-y axis – but the progress they made on the 3D controller is impressive unto itself.

“The idea is this can be re-applied to a body suit for virtual reality and other applications,” Gibson said.

Another invention included a pair of computerized glasses that can take a photo of what the user sees. It then uses software to analyze what is in the photo and relay the detail back to the user in audio format.

For more on the Camosun electronics and computer engineering program visit Camosun.ca.

 

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