CSc 59866/7 Capstone I/II Fall 2020 -Spring 2021

BEAT: Branding and Entrepreneurship of Assistive Technology for Social Good


Technical Instructors:

Branding and Entrepreneurial Instructors:

Community Partners:

Program Description

The CS/CpE/EE joint senior design program builds on our existing the six-credit capstone/senior design course structure in CS, CpE and EE, but with a new concentration on assistive technologies for people in need. In the past nine years, over 200 students have graduated from our joint program. In Fall 2019- Spring 2020, supported by the course innovation grant from Moxie Foundation, we at the Grove School of Engineering worked with the Branding + Integrated Communications (BIC) Creative Track in the Media and Communication Department and Zahn Innovation Center to push our Assistive Technology program to a new level. We will continue the collaboration this year across school board, and the common theme for the three parties – GSOE, BIC and Zahn will remain to be the promotion of social good.

Capstone I Tentative Course Syllabus Fall 2020

(Fall 2020 academic calendar)
Capstone I Class Meet Time & Location: Monday 11:00AM – 01:30PM Room: Capstone Zoom Link
Office Hours: Every Thursday  10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Room: Office Zoom Link

  • Week 1 (08/31). (1) Introduction (Zhu). (2) Past project showcases and project design brainstorming (slides). Assignment 1. Please submit a 1-page resume with your intention for a project topic and teaming. Email to Professor Zhigang Zhu at Due on 09/08(Tuesday).
  • Week 2 (09/14). (1) A entrepreneurial seminar (Katherine Olives and Kesia Hudson – Zahn Innovation Center) on entrepreneurship and Zahn Center competitions. (2) Team forming discussions. An important announcement for Zahn: This year, Final Pitch will take place virtually on Thursday, September 24th from 5:30pm-7:45pm. You will still hear the top teams in each of our four tracks (Kaylie Hardware, Standard Chartered Women+Tech4NYC, and Zahn Technology & Social Impact) pitch live, judges will still ask them pressing questions, and our sponsors will announce the winners of our top prizes totaling $150,000. Register here, hold it on your calendar, and you’ll receive the Zoom link a day before the event. **Please note that you will not receive the Zoom link unless you register. We do not share the Zoom link prior to a day before the event for security reasons.** 
  • Week 3 (09/21). (1) Project proposal development Please do check online for literature and existing projects that have similar ideas of your projects. Assignment 2 (part 1). Proposal quad chart (template) first version presented in class today, and then submit it to (due 09/27) for me to make revision and to create a wiki page for you.  (2) Technical seminarhuman and machine perception (Prof. Zhigang Zhu)
  • Week 4 (09/29 – Tuesday). Assistive Technology Applications for Social Good (Celina Cavalluzzi – Goodwill NY/NJ, Bill Seiple – Lighthouse Guild, Cecilia Feeley – CAIT @ Rutgers). Assignment 2 (part 2). Team Wiki page creating, proposal quad chart revision (template) and team entrepreneurial (E)-enhanced proposal writing. (1) For access the wiki page, please create an account using your ccny email. Details have been sent via CUNYFirst. (2) Please consider the Zahn Center competition instruction as well as expanding your quad chart in 3-5 page writing. (3) Please submit your quad chart to and write the E-enhanced proposal inside your wiki page by clicking the title of your team project. Due on 10/06.
  • Week 5 (10/05). A BIC seminar on branding and storytelling (Blumenkrantz). Assignment 3. (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 10/19 [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 10/14.
  • Week 6 (10/14 – Wednesday). Teams of the CS/CpE/EE students develop your Logo Design Briefs for their proposed projects and branding – targeting to Zahn Competitions. Grading So Far .
  • Week 7 (10/19). Invited community partners from Goodwill/Lighthouse Guild/Zahn/Rutgers etc as judges for customer discovery and team proposal presentations (Zahn – recommended for all; CREATE – on-hold this year so no submissions; VentureWell – recommendation). You will use your slides from Assignment 3, 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 7- 10 minutes for presentation and 3-5 minutes for Q&A. We will use Breakout Rooms with Zoom. Grading for the proposal presentations are posted on the course website. Each team please check your wiki page for specific comments of your project, and I would like to hear your responses to them on 10/26 in class so that you can refine your proposal to the Zahn applications.
  • Week 8 (10/26). Teams revise their proposals for submitting to Zahn competitions . Assignment 4. Team proposal submissions to Zahn (Early Application Deadline November 1 Sunday). Then send Professor Zhu the application contents and the proof in a PDF via email to by the end of the same day. Grading so far.
  • Week 9 (11/02). Technical seminar: machine vision: feature extraction (Slides | Lecture Notes by Zhu). Assignment 5. Vision questions on feature extraction. Due on 11/15
  • Week 10 (11/09). Proposal further development and refinement (No Class Meet; 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). Zahn Competition Regular Deadline  November 15th. Then send Professor Zhu the application contents and the proof in a PDF via email to by the end of the same day. This is part of Assignment 4 if you haven’t made the early deadline.
  • Week 11 (11/16). Technical seminar: machine vision: stereo and motion (Slides | Lecture Notes on Stereo and Motion by Zhu) . Assignment 6. Vision questions on stereo and motion Due on 11/22.
  • Week 12 (11/23). Project development and revision and final presentation preparation (No Class Meet; 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). Grading so far.
  • Week 13 (11/30). Team presentation dry runs on project designs and branding. Assignment 7. Final BEAT-proposals on your wiki pages. Due on 12/06 (Sunday). 
  • Week 14 (12/07). Team evaluation wrap-up.  (1) An application to the Zahn program with invitation into the competition will get 5% bonus points of the final for the semester.  (2) Each team please prepare your digital poster or deck of slides and present it to class. We will evaluate the four categories: Branding (names, logos, designs etc), Entrepreneurship (customer discovery, market segment, business models etc), Assistive (social impact, user feedback, etc), and Technology (tools, systems, algorithms, etc). Grading so far with the final proposal presentation grading and the bonus from Zahn.
  • [ Many of you asked me for the final proposal writing. For a more uniform implementation, please upload two files: 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 wiki page, by the end of Sunday Dec 13. This will be counted toward Assignment #7. 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.]
  • Final Grading will be submitted on Monday, December 21, 2020. Happy Holidays!

Capstone II Course Syllabus Spring 2021

(Spring 2021 academic calendar)
Capstone II Class Meet Time & Location: Monday 10:45AM – 01:15PM Room: Capstone Zoom Link
Office Hours: Wednesday 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm (
Online meeting Zoom Link or by appointments )

  • 02/01/2021. First Class of Spring 2021. Kick-off meeting: Class Schedule, Grading Rubrics, and Team Quick Updates. Spring class schedule is mostly aligned with the Zahn Innovation schedule [Zahn: XXX] for the teams who are invited to Zahn Competitions, which shall mostly follow the Zahn schedule for your progress and reports to the class. For the rest of the teams, we will use the following more general schedule for the development of the B.E.A.T. components. Each team please fill all your 12 weekly wiki logs (except the first Monday [today] and the last Monday). We will only have 8 biweekly class meets: including a kick-ff meeting (today), a mid-term review meeting, and a final review meeting (the last Monday). Overall Grading Rubrics: 12 Wiki logs (12*2%) + 4 B.E.A.T. Updates (4*3%), Midterm Evaluation (20%), Final Evaluation (20%), Final Report (20%), End-of-Class Survey (4%), Bonus (e.g. publications, Zahn Awards, up to 5% [Teams]; Attending Access Futures Club Tech Showcase in April, up to 2% [Individuals]).
  • Weeks 1 – 3. Technology and System Development. Teams will have three weeks (since Monday 01/15 is a holiday) to develop your systems, especially your technological solutions. [Zahn: Value trend identifications (what they want): 10-50 interviews over the course of three weeks to identify trends of values their customer wants to solve their problem.] Class Meet on 02/22/2021 for Technology Solutions updates [T. Updates, 3% of your final grade]. Grading Rubrics: (1) Technology solutions (soundness, novelty, relevance and your understanding ) – 10/10 pts; (2) System functions (by showing a demo of what you have done – a partial implementation or a mock-up) – 10/10 pts; (3) Trends of values (please do a survey e.g. using Google Form to users and your fellow classmates for how they like the proposed functions: hard data needed!) – 10/10 pts.
  • Weeks 4-5. Branding and Interface Development. Teams will focus on your user interface designs, including logos, GUIs and presentations to users. [Zahn: (1) Feature trend identification (how they want them): 10-50 interviews over the course of two weeks to identify trends in features needed to deliver this value to the customer. (2) Use cased defined: at the end of week 4 a use case presentation to the class explaining how their customer would use what they are designing and a looks like prototype demonstration.] Class Meet on 03/08/2021 for Branding and Interface Component updates [B. Updates, 3% of your final grade]. Grading Rubrics: (1) The interface design details of your systems or apps (logos, GUIs, and features) – 10/10 pts; (2) Demo of features of your systems ( e.g. a use case presentation) – 10/10 pts; (3) Users’ feedback on your branding, features and user interfaces (via a survey: hard data needed!) – 10/10 pts.
  • Weeks 6-7. Midterm Evaluation. Each team will showcase your first prototype mostly on internal technological solutions and external features, with the user feedback from the last two rounds (T and B rounds). [Zahn: Looks like prototype (What you may deliver): 10-50 interviews over the course of two weeks to identify customers input trends on their “looks like” prototype.] Class Meet on 03/22/2021 for Midterm Evaluation [20% of your final grade] for presentations to judges and class for feedback (ORAL PRESENTATIONS). Grading Rubrics: (1) Problem definition (users and needs) – 4 pts; (2) Functions and technology solutions – 8 pts; (3) Features and interface designs – 4 pts; (4) Branding and presentation – 4 pts
  • Weeks 8-10. Entrepreneurial Components: Customer Discovery. Teams please refine your customer segments, considering your value proposition, users’ need, cost and revenue within the three weeks (including a week for spring break). [Zahn: Acts like prototype (How they like it) – 10-50 interviews over the course of three weeks to identify customer input trends on their “acts like” prototype.] Class Meet on 04/12/2020 for Entrepreneurial Component updates [E. Updates, 3% of your final grade]. Grading Rubrics: (1) Technology (value proposition) refinement based on user feedback – 10/10 pts; (2) Branding and interface (selling points and features) refinement based on user feedback – 10/10 pts; (3) Market and customer segments and cost & revenue analysis – 10/10 pts.
  • Weeks 11-12. Assistive Application Evaluation. Evaluation of your system with real users. [Zahn: Agile development sprint (Real work begins)- two agile development sprints with 10 interviews per sprint.] Class Meet on 04/26/2020 for Assistive Application’s User Evaluation Component updates [A. Updates, 3% of your final grade]. Grading Rubrics: (1) The needs of users addressed – 10/10 pts; (2) Differences from similar existing technologies in terms of functions and user friendliness – 10/10 pts; (3) User feedback in terms of functions, interfaces, acceptance, and suggestions for improvement – 10/10 pts.
  • Week 13-14. Warping Up All! (pretty much what you have) – Class Meet 05/10/2021: A Dry Run for all the teams on your final presentations – Please have your Slides and Videos ready (see below)!
  • 05/17/2021. Reporting and Final Project Review (1) Virtual “Poster” PRESENTATIONS [20% of your final grade]: we will ask evaluators to “go” to your Breakout Rooms for virtual poster sessions. Each team shall expect multiple visits to your room). (2) Final Project Report [20% of your final grade]. Requirements for (1) and (2) can be found here . Note you have to emphasize all the four aspects (B.E.A.T.) in both your presentation and report/video. Please upload your report and and slides, and provide the link to your video on your wiki page by the end of Sunday May 23, 2021. (3) Course Survey (counting for 4% to the final if you submit regardless what are your answers)

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