CSc 59866/7 Capstone I/II Fall 2024 -Spring 2025

BEAT+: Adding Branding and Entrepreneurship for Real-World  Applications Using Emerging Technologies: AI, AR/VR, AT, and Apps

Sample Projects for the Past Cohorts


Course Instructor:

  • Zhigang Zhu, Herbert G. Kayser Professor, Department of Computer Science

Branding and Entrepreneurial Mentors:

Community Partners:

Application Information and Links

Note the deadline for team proposal submissions to VentureWell/CREATE/Zahn that would gain bonus at the end: 

(1) Zahn Competition Proposal (optional – up to the team; due TBA at 11:59PM to Zahn. (link). Send the application directly to Zahn by following the above link.

(2) CREATE proposal (by invitation only) in docx by Monday 10/28 midnight to Prof. Zhu via email, and Professor Zhu and Ms Celina Cavalluzzi at Goodwill will give you feedback for submitting a revision (proposal in docx, quad chart in pptx) due by midnight of Monday November 04 to Professor Zhu (who will collect all proposals to send to CREATE by Friday November 08, 2024 – TBD). 

(3) VentureWell E-Team proposal (optional – up to the team) by October 4th to VentureWell (link).

Program Description

The program BEAT+ is an extended version of the last four years success, and we emphasize four components: Branding, Entrepreneurship, Applications, and Technologies. Undergraduate Seniors in CS and CpE will work in teams to design emerging technical solutions in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), Assistive Technology (AT), data analytics and app development skills to solve real-world application problems for social good and national priorities. Teams will learn basic branding principles (how to design user interfaces and communicate with end users and community partners about their technical solutions) and basics of entrepreneurship (customer discovery, business models, etc.). Teams will be encouraged to participate in academic research projects, the CCNY Zahn Innovation competitions and NYSID’s CREATE competition. We will invite collaborators from both academia and industry as the BEAT+ mentors and evaluators. Students are expected to learn new software/hardware tools and skills by doing their projects.

Capstone I Course Syllabus Fall 2024

(Fall 2024 academic calendar)
Capstone I Class Meet Time & Location: Tuesday 11:00AM – 1:30PM In-Person [Room TBA] or occasionally over Zoom Link  for presentations to or by the community partners (passcode will be sent via email)
Office Hours: Every Thursday  2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, [Online office hours Zoom Link]

  • Week 1 (09/03). Kick-Off Meeting (in-person).(1) 11:00 am – Introduction (Zhu). (2) 12:00 pm – Past project showcases (slides) and project design brainstorming. Assignment 1. Please submit a 1-page resume with your interest for a project topic and teaming. Email to Professor Zhigang Zhu at Due on 09/10 (Tuesday midnight)  [09/02 Labor Day College Closed]. 
  • Week 2 (09/10). CREATE Competition and Related Projects – zoom meeting [Recorded Video]. (1) 11:00am –  CREATE  Opportunities  [promotion video] (Megan L. Tatro, Social Media and Marketing Strategist, NYSID) (2) 11:30 am- Goodwill Industries OPWDD Independent and Employment Services (Celina Cavalluzzi, Assistant Vice President, Goodwill NY/NJ). (3) 12:00 pm – A Customized Employment Observation App (Abby Cooper, Kennedy Douglas Consulting, and Celina Cavalluzzi, Director and AVP, Goodwill NY/NJ). (4) 12:30pm – Custodial Training for Workers with Disabilities Using VR (Edie Weber, AHRC NYC, and Ed O’Donnell, SVP, Goodwill NYNJ )
  • Week 3 (09/17). Zahn Competition and Related Projects – hybrid meeting [Recorded Video]. (1) 11:00 am- An entrepreneurial seminar  on entrepreneurship and Zahn Center competitions (Chris Bobko – Zahn Innovation Center). Here is a page with links to key events of the Zahn Center. (2) 11:45 am- Project topics from domain experts: (a) Gamification for Vision Training (Dr. Bill Seiple, Lighthouse Guild); (b) Digital Twins for Navigation and Safety (Arber Ruci/Fani Maksakuli/Jin Chen, Nearabl); (c) AR/VR for Simulation and Training (Professor Hao Tang, CCVCL, BMCC&GC/CUNY); Assignment 2. Team Forming and Project proposal development. Please do check online for literature and existing projects that have similar ideas of your projects. Please send me a tentative team name, a short description (3-5 sentences) and names of team members to (one submission per team please). Due on 09/22 (Sunday).
  • Week 4 (09/24). Site Visits to Users and Community Partners – in-person meeting. We will arrange in-person visit to Goodwill site of the Possibilities & Advance Programs at 413 East 120th Street, 5th floor, Harlem NY 10035, so we will not have a regular class meet. Besides their ASD programs Goodwill is also running programs for people with intellectual disabilities (ID/DD)and serve a few people with physical disabilities, visual impairments, and hearing loss in these programsAssignment 3. Team Google Drive Page creating after you decide your team and title of the project, proposal quad chart (template) and team entrepreneurial (E)-enhanced proposal writing. (1) Please consider the Zahn Center competition instruction as well as the CREATE instruction in writing your E-enhanced proposal ( 3 – 5 pages). Detailed Instructions for the CREATE Proposal can be found here(the proposal part, without the ABT formula for Week 5). (2) Please submit your quad chart to (one submission per team please) and write the E-enhanced proposal (a quick draft would be okay) as a separate page link to your Team Google Drive Page. Due on 09/29 (Sunday). 
  • Week 5 (10/01). Branding and Entrepreneurship Seminars – in-person meeting (1)  Entrepreneurial seminars  on Customer Discovery (Incubator Application and Intro to Customer Discovery by Chris Bobko–  Zahn Innovation Center ) (2) A BIC seminar on Branding and Storytelling (12:30 pm Gerardo Blumenkrantz). Assignment 4. (1) Team BIC-enhanced proposal (by revising your E-enhanced proposal with an abstract in the ABT formula of And..But…Therfore) in your wiki page, (2) your revised quad chart [ considering ABT – see the slides and the video for branding, a theme picture – such as a diagram of your system, a conceptual design of your app, or an illustration of your solution, formats (fonts, colors) – in all slides, and a tentative logo – please out them up with the project name in the quad chart] , (3) your presentation slides for 10/22 [including a title slide, “A” slides, “B” slides, “T” slides, summary slides including the quad chart and a work plan]. (4) While you are working on them, please also fill the BIC Logo Design Brief. Here are two samples [1], [2] for your reference. Please also send (2) and (4) to Prof. Zhu via email at Due 10/13 (Sunday).
  • Week 6 (10/08). “Hakathon” and Proposal Brainstorming – in-person meeting. Teams revise their proposals by coming to Zahn Center at NAC 1-102 for proposal brainstorming and refinement. We will have Zahn staff and community partners come over for round table discussion and pitch. We plan to stay after the class with a quick work lunch provided so the class will run from 11 am – 3pm or even later.  Each team shall have at least 15 customer interviews to form your proposal before the 10/22 meeting in Week 7.   Note the deadlines before Program Description for team proposal submissions to VentureWell/CREATE/Zahn that would gain bonus at the end. Please revise your presentation slides in Assignment 4 due 10/13 (Sunday).
  • Week 7 (10/22). First Round of Proposal Presentations – zoom meeting [10/14 College Closed, and 10/15 follows a Monday schedule]Invited community partners from Goodwill/Lighthouse Guild/Zahn/Nearabl etc as judges for customer discovery and Team Proposal First-Round Presentations (Zahn – recommended for all; CREATE – selective up to four teams). You will use your slides from Assignment 4, organized in a way you feel most comfortable. Here are my suggestions to align your proposal (& quad chart) with the ABT formula, with considerations of B.E.A.T. Each team has total of 15 minutes for presentation and Q&AEach team shall have at least 15 customer interviews to form your proposal ideas. We will use Zoom Breakout Rooms, so you are expected to present multiple times, and shall be prepared to be flexible in time since some evaluators won’t be able to stay the full period of the class. To be specific, please have a flexible plan to have your ideas presented from 3 minutes to 5 minutes to 7 minutes, and allow some time for questions. 
  • Week 8 (10/29). Proposal Development and Technical Seminar – in-person meeting. (1) Proposal further development and refinement .  (2) Technical seminarhuman and machine perception [download with Firefox or Safari] (Prof. Zhigang Zhu)
  • Week 9 (11/05). Individual SITE VISITs and User Interviews] – No Class Meet. Project development and revision with user feedback . (1) Please schedule individual times with me during the class time if needed, by sending email to my ccny account. Any individual meetings will be through my Office Hours Zoom Link. (2)  Zahn proposals  (optional – up to the team) (Deadline: TBA).  
  • Week 10 (11/12). Proposal Development and Technical Seminar – in-person meeting. Technical seminar: machine vision: feature extraction (Slides [download with Firefox or Safari]| Lecture Notes by Zhu). Assignment 5. Vision questions on feature extraction. Due on 11/17 (Sunday).
  • Week 11 (11/19). SITE VISIT and Final Presentation Preparation – No Class Meet; please visit your users in-person or online to make sure your designs meet their needs; please schedule individual times with me during my office hours (Dec 1, Thursday 2-4pm) if needed, by sending email to my ccny account. Any individual meetings will be through my Office Hours Zoom Link.  
  • Week 12 (11/26). Proposal Development and Technical Seminar– zoom meeting. Technical seminar: machine vision: stereo and motion (Slides [download with Firefox or Safari]| Lecture Notes on Stereo and Motion by Zhu) .  Assignment 6. Vision questions on stereo and motion. Due on 12/01 (Sunday). 
  • Week 13 (12/03). Team Presentation Dry Runs (in-person) for the final presentations (see blow for requirements). This is the time for team to get feedback for your proposal quality and in-person presentation skills from the instructor and some of the external evaluators (including Chris Bobko of Zahn Innovation Center). This will be GRADED as 50% of your Assignment 7 as Part I. Please share your slides with the instructor before your presentation. Assignment 7. Part I. Proposal Dry Run (12/03 – today). Part II: Final BEAT-proposal as shown on your Team Google Drive Page (details see below). Due on 12/08 (Sunday).
  • Week 14 (12/10). Team Evaluation Wrap-Up – zoom meeting.  Each team please prepare your deck of slides and present it to the evaluators (community partners). Tentative we will do oral presentations of all teams in the Main Room. Each team please prepare a presentation for less than 8 minutes so we have at least 10 minutes for questions.  We will evaluate the four categories: Branding (names, logos, designs etc), Entrepreneurship (customer discovery, market segment, business models, dissemination such as publications, etc.), Applications (social impact, significance of your research, economical impact, user feedback, etc), and Technologies (tools, systems, algorithms, etc).  Details please see the Final Proposal Evaluation FormFor a more uniform implementation of your final proposal, please upload two files before your presentation: the final proposal (in PDF) and the final proposal slides (in PDF or a link to a shared PPTX file etc) under Reports and Documents in your Team Google Drive Page, by the end of Sunday Dec 08. This will be counted toward Assignment 7 (part II). When you write your final proposal , please put some more details (like logos, images, diagrams, schedules) from your slides, as well as considering the feedback from the evaluators. Bonus: (1) An application to the Zahn program with invitation into the competition will get 3% bonus points for the semester. (2) Teams recommended and then selected for the CREATE projects will get 3% bonus points for the semester. (3) Teams create deliverables to your customers (e.g. funding agencies for funded research) will get 3% bonus points.

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