CSc 59866/7 Capstone I/II Fall 2023 -Spring 2024

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

Sample Projects for the Past Cohorts


Technical Instructors:

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

Branding and Entrepreneurial Instructors:

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 on Sunday, November 12th, 2023 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 10/30 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 06 to Professor Zhu (who will collect all proposals to send to CREATE by Friday November 10, 2023). 

(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 three 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.

Senior Design Wiki Pages (Internal Use Only)

Capstone II Course Syllabus Spring 2024

(Spring 2024 academic calendar)
Capstone II Class Meet Time & Location: Monday 09:30AM – 12:00PM Room: Shepard S-276 (In-person class meets for the kick-off meeting, the final poster presentations, and 3 updates. For the in-person updates, each team please share your slides on your page at Capstone Google Drive in Spring 2024 editable by so I can play your slides on the projection for you . ) Capstone Zoom Link for one update meeting with Prof. Zhu and one midterm review meeting with external evaluators]
Office Hours: Thursday 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (
Online meeting Zoom Link or by appointments )

  • 01/29/2024First Class of Spring 2024Kick-off meeting (in person)Class Schedule, Grading Rubrics, and Team Quick Updates. (1) Spring class schedule is mostly aligned with the Zahn Startup Incubator Program Schedule considering the CREATE timeline.  For the teams who are invited to Zahn Competitions, please follow the Zahn schedule for your progress but tailor your reports to the class based on the following class requirements for all teams, for the development of the B.E.A.T. components. We will only have 7 class meets: including a kick-ff meeting (today), 4 B.E.A.T updates, a mid-term review meeting, and a final review meeting (the last Monday). Each team please fill all your 5 BEAT LOGs listed below for the five periods (due at midnight of usually the “Wednesday” before each of our class meets, except the kick-off meeting).  (2) Overall Grading Rubrics: 5 BEAT LOGs (5*4%= 20%); 4 B.E.A.T. Updates (4*5% = 20%); Midterm Evaluation (20%); Final Evaluation (20%); Final Report (20%), Bonus (including: Zahn Awards, CREATE Awards, Publications, e.g., in IEEE URTC 2024 ; up to 5% [Teams]; Attending IC CAE Workshop on IC Fundamentals on 02/14/2024, 1% [Individuals]); Attending Access Futures Club Tech Showcase in April, 2024, 1% [Individuals]; Attending GSOE Engineering Day in End of May, 2024, 1% [Individuals]). (3) Team Quick Updates. (a) Please visit your Team Page through the Capstone Google Drive in Spring 2024 and copy the LOG and Update Template to your page. (b) Every team please say a few words about your plan using one slide; please post a link on your Team Page before the class. (c) CREATE teams: please come with me to my office after class to pick up your CREATE Fund Cards.
  • Weeks 1 – 3 . Technology and System Development. Teams will have about three weeks to develop your systems, especially your technological solutions. [Zahn: Customer Discovery – Interview Insights and User Personae; Refining the Problem & Identifying Value Proposition;  Branding / Marketing Workshop on Thursday 2/22 (Monday class schedule day) at 5:00 pm] BEAT LOG 1 Due by the midnight of Sunday 02/18/2024.  Class Meet on 02/22/2024 (in-person and it is a Thursday since Monday 02/19 is a holiday) for Technology Solutions updates [T. Updates, 5% of your final grade].  Grading Rubrics: (a) Technology solutions (soundness, novelty, relevance and your understanding ) – 10/10 pts; (b) System functions (by showing a demo of what you have done – a partial implementation or a mock-up) – 10/10 pts; (c) 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 4-5Branding and Interface Development. Teams will have two weeks on your user interface designs, including logos, GUIs and presentations to users. [Zahn: Intro to MVP Development; Team Dynamics] BEAT LOG 2 Due by the midnight of Wednesday 02/28/2024. Class Meet on 03/04/2022 (in-person) for Branding and Interface Component updates [B. Updates, 5% of your final grade]. Grading Rubrics: (a) The interface design details of your systems or apps (logos, GUIs, and features) – 10/10 pts; (b) Demo of features of your systems ( e.g. a use case presentation) – 10/10 pts; (c) Users’ feedback on your branding, features and user interfaces (via a survey: hard data needed!) – 10/10 pts.  
  • Weeks 6-8Midterm Evaluation. Each team will showcase your first prototype mostly on internal technological solutions and external features, developed over three weeks, with the user feedback from the last two rounds (T and B rounds). [Zahn: Customer Journey; Understanding the Cost of Doing Business, Defining Your Market and Understanding Your CompetitorsBEAT LOG 3 Due by the midnight of Wednesday 03/20/2024. Class Meet on 03/25/2024 (over Zoom with sequential presentations for all Teams) for Midterm Evaluation [20% of your final grade] for presentations to judges and class for feedback (ORAL PRESENTATIONS). Grading Rubrics: (a) Problem definition (users and needs) – 4 pts; (b) Functions and technology solutions – 8 pts; (c) Features and interface designs – 4 pts; (d) Branding and presentation – 4 pts [Midterm Evaluation Form]
  • Weeks 9-11Entrepreneurial Components: Customer Discovery. Teams please refine your customer segments, considering your value proposition, users’ need, cost and revenue within the three weeks. [Zahn:  Pitch Practice; Customer Acquisition and Scaling; Future Development Plans(1) For the 5 CREATE Teams: NYSID/CREATE Symposium (Monday April 08, 2024- Confirmed) in Albany, NY. NYSID will fund reasonable travel and hotel expenses for two representatives from each CREATE team, their professor and a representative of the participating NYSID Member Agency. Students will display their inventions to the public or, if that is impractical, will display videos of their inventions. Please note that while final papers are due at the conclusion of the spring semester, videos must be submitted prior to the symposium in order for the judging panel to become familiar with each project in advance. So please share with me a link of your YouTube video by the end of Monday, March 25, 2024 (right after the Midterm Evaluation) so I can give you feedback. Don’t forget to put names of members, mentors and affiliations on the cover page of both the report and the video.  It is very important that this deadline is met as I will be sending the links to your videos to the judging panel by Friday March 29, 2024. (2) BEAT LOG 4 Due by the midnight of Wednesday 04/10/2024. Class Meet on 04/15/2024 (in-person) for Entrepreneurial Component updates [E. Updates, 5% of your final grade]. Grading Rubrics: (a) Technology (value proposition) refinement based on user feedback – 10/10 pts; (b) Branding and interface (selling points and features) refinement based on user feedback – 10/10 pts; (c) Market and customer segments and cost & revenue analysis – 10/10 pts. 
  • Weeks 12-13Assistive Application Evaluation. Evaluation of your system with real users over two weeks (excluding a week for spring break 04/22 – 04/30). [Zahn: Pitch Practice and Demo Day Tabling] BEAT LOG 5 Due by the midnight of Wednesday 05/01/2024.  Class Meet on 05/06/2024 (over Zoom)  for Assistive Application’s User Evaluation Component updates [A. Updates, 5% of your final grade]. Grading Rubrics: (a) The needs of users addressed – 10/10 pts; (b) Differences from similar existing technologies in terms of functions and user friendliness – 10/10 pts; (c) User feedback in terms of functions, interfaces, acceptance, and suggestions for improvement – 10/10 pts. 
  • Week 14-15Warping Up All! (pretty much what you have): Please have your Slides and Videos ready (see below)! [Zahn:  Final Pitch Night on 05/09 ] (1) Class Meet on 05/13/2024 ( in-person in NAC Zahn Center Space NAC/1-102 with a work lunch provided).  FINAL PRESENTATIONS [20% of your final grade]: Class Meet on 05/13/2024 (over Zoom with sequential presentations for all Teams) for Final Presentation Evaluation [20% of your final grade]  (ORAL PRESENTATIONS). Each team will have 15 minutes: please prepare your presentation with slides and video demo, and keep the total presentation time into 8 minutes so we will have 7 minutes for Q&A. Tentatively, we will do poster presentations. A three-fold poster board with your US letter size pages printed from your PPTX presentation and pasted on the board is recommended as the simplest solution, but if you want to present a real poster please make sure you have a poster board to put it up. Check the [Final Evaluation Form] for what you will be graded. You will have to be there the whole time (2.5 hours) and probably need to go through your poster multiple times for the evaluators. Free free to show demos via videos, pptx slides or even running programs if you like. (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 specify contributions of each individual member in your report, since your report will be graded differently for each of the team members. Please share your report and slides editable by, and your YouTube Video by providing links of them on your Team Page through the Capstone Google Drive in Spring 2024, by the end of Monday May 13, 2024.   

Capstone I Course Syllabus Fall 2023

(Fall 2023 academic calendar)
Capstone I Class Meet Time & Location: Monday 11:00AM – 1:30PM In-Person [Room NAC 6/329] 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 (08/28). (1) 11:00 am – Introduction (Zhu). (2) 12:00 pm –  Upcoming innovation and entrepreneurship through CUNY I-Corps (Ariella Trotsenko and Jin Chen) (3) 12:30 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 09/05 (Tuesday midnight)  [09/04 Labor Day College Closed]Grading So Far.
  • Week 2 (09/11)- 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 (09/18)- zoom 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 and Max SEHAUMPAI/CCNY); (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); (3) Team Forming and Project proposal development  [09/25 No Class Scheduled] . Please do check online for literature and existing projects that have similar ideas of your projects.
  • Week 4 (10/02) .  [SITE VISIT] 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 programs. Assignment 2. Team Wiki page creating after you decide your team and title of the project, proposal quad chart (template) and team entrepreneurial (E)-enhanced proposal writing. (1) For access the wiki page, please create an account using your ccny email (See  Introduction for some basic instructions).  (2) 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). (3) 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 wiki page. Due on 10/08 (Sunday). Grading So Far.
  • Week 5 (10/10) – zoom meeting. [10/09 College Closed, but 10/10 follows a Monday schedule]. [Recorded Video]  (1)  Entrepreneurial seminars  on Customer Discovery (11:00 am Incubator Application and Intro to Customer Discovery by Chris Bobko/Kesia Hudson –  Zahn Innovation Center  and 11:45 am Introduction to the New York NSF I-Corps Hub by Arber Ruci – (2) A BIC seminar on Branding and Storytelling (12:30 pm Gerardo Blumenkrantz). (3) Startup Project on FiTKO: the Boxing Wrap by Okiremute Oyiborhoro, CEO of FitKO, Founded @ Zahn Innovation Center. Please reach out to him at This EMAIL if you are interested in working with him for a capstone project. 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 10/17 [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 10/16 (Monday). Grading So Far.
  • Week 6 (10/16) – [Individual SITE VISITs and User Interviews] no class meetTeams revise their proposals by visiting partner institutions including Goodwill, Lighthouse Guild and other contacts for submitting to CREATE, Zahn and VentureWell competitions. Each team shall have at least 15 customer interviews to form your proposal before the 10/23 meeting in Week 7. I will meet with individual teams for discussions online: please use my Office Hours Zoom Link.  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 on Sunday, November 12th, 2023 at 11:59PM to Zahn. (link). Send the application directly to Zahn by following the above link. (2) CREATE proposal (by invitation only) with a link of a shared Google Doc (with editing access)  by the end of Tuesday 10/31  to Prof. Zhu via email, and Professor Zhu and Ms Celina Cavalluzzi at Goodwill will give you feedback by commenting on the Google documents for you to revise your proposals, which will be  due by midnight of Tuesday November 07 to Professor Zhu (who will collect all proposals to send to CREATE by Friday November 10, 2023).  (3) VentureWell E-Team proposal (optional – up to the team) by October 4th to VentureWell (link).
  • Week 7 (10/23) – zoom meetingInvited 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 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 total of 15 minutes for presentation and Q&A. Each 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. Reminder: CREATE proposal (by invitation only) with a link of a shared Google Doc (with editing access)  by the end of Tuesday 10/31  to Prof. Zhu via email, and Professor Zhu and Ms Celina Cavalluzzi at Goodwill will give you feedback by commenting on the Google documents for you to revise your proposals, which will be  due by midnight of Tuesday November 07 to Professor Zhu (who will collect all proposals to send to CREATE by Friday November 10, 2023).   Grading So Far.
  • Week 8 (10/30). (1) Proposal further development and refinement .  (2) Technical seminarhuman and machine perception [download with Firefox or Safari] (Prof. Zhigang Zhu)
  • Week 9 (11/06) – [Individual SITE VISITs and User Interviews]] No Class MeetProject 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: Sunday, November 12th, 2023 at 11:59PM).  
  • Week 10 (11/13) – zoom meetingTechnical seminar: machine vision: feature extraction (Slides [download with Firefox or Safari]| Lecture Notes by Zhu). Assignment 4. Vision questions on feature extraction. Due on 11/20.
  • Week 11 (11/20). Technical seminar: machine vision: stereo and motion (Slides [download with Firefox or Safari]| Lecture Notes on Stereo and Motion by Zhu) .  Assignment 5. Vision questions on stereo and motion Due on 11/27. 
  • Week 12 (11/27). [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.   Grading So Far.
  • Week 13 (12/04). 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 6 as Part I. Please share your slides with the instructor before your presentation. Assignment 6. Part I. Proposal Dry Run (12/04). Part II: Final BEAT-proposal as shown on your wiki pages (details see below). Due on 12/10 (Sunday).
  • Week 14 (12/11) – zoom meetingTeam evaluation wrap-up.  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 wiki page, by the end of Sunday Dec 10. This will be counted toward Assignment 6 (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. Final Grading. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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