Crunch Time - Getting Ready for Symposium

Mar 16, 2018 • Jacob Rampertab

With only a week left until the Mechatronics Engineering Symposium, our team is working at 100% efficiency to get ourselves demo ready! With that, there are a bunch of new features being finalized and stabilizations done to complete our next big iteration of our design. Here is just some of what we’ve pushed to complete over the last two weeks.

Try it yourself

Our solution can only truly be appreciated through experiencing it. As such, we’ve made a comprehensive setup to make it easy for anyone to pick up and fully test at symposium. One thing we’ve seen cause problems is having the user hold and aim the phone camera at the touch screen while they are using it. With a little bit of practice, it does get easy (we are all pros at it now from all the testing we’ve been doing) but we want to let as many people as possible give the system a try. We’ve designed a stand to support the phone and aim it accurately at the touch screen below.

Demo Setup

Demo Setup - Custom Stand

The stand was laser cut earlier this week. A very nice feature, the team logo and name is laser engraved into the side. It doesn’t cut all the way through, but leaves the acrylic textured and slightly cut into the side so the logo is easily seen and can be felt on the stand. Quite fitting! The demo will also use headphones so it is easy to hear the commands and readout from the application over the noise at symposium.

Suped-up wearable

We will also be showing off the wearable at the demo. Unfortunately, we won’t be letting people try it out themselves as its a bit easier to break than the ring wearable, but we can show how well it works on our hands. The glove feature set has been locked down for symposium to include the vision tracking as before, but also includes Bluetooth communication, haptic feedback to help with locating text, and a button for user input to the app.

Glove Demo

Glove demo

The wearable is getting one final touch up in our last week and will look and feel amazing once its complete! The one in the picture above is only the proof of concept. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect.

New Glove Sneak Peek

New Glove Sneak Peek

Sleek new app

The application also got a big upgrade. Since the last post, the app has added,

  1. Better screen tracking -> More reliable, consistent, and efficient (won’t kill your battery!)
  2. Bluetooth connectivity -> Connects to your wearable to create a better user experience
  3. Screen Tracker Locking -> Used when aiming the phone camera to make tracking easier
  4. Proximity Vibrate -> Vibrates the wearable based on how close or far your finger is from text, makes finding elements easier
  5. Better Narrator -> The app talks more explicitly, making requests and information more clear
  6. Screen Change Detection -> App can now detect when the screen has changed and acts accordingly
  7. Torch Light -> Can turn on camera light to help adjust to different lighting conditions

Overall, the app is much more intuitive, clear, and consistent in different reading conditions. We are demoing in the Davis Center which has glass ceilings. Our old app would have struggled moving from testing in our dark apartments to running under the sun, but with the latest set of updates, it performs very well.


I’ve mentioned it a lot here, so in case you aren’t familiar with UWaterloo, every year the fourth year engineering students hold a large event to display the fruits of a years worth of work. Over 2 weeks, different programs get a chance to show off their Capstone Design Projects on campus.

The symposium is open to the public. The Mechatronics students will be demoing this Friday March 23rd from 1pm to 5pm. If you have the time, we would love it if you came out to see what we have made and try it for yourself.

Velocity 5k Fund Finals

One more great piece of news, we recently pitched at the Velocity 5k Pitch Competition Qualifiers. This competition allows up to 40 student teams at UWaterloo to pitch their startup ideas for the chance to win $5000 towards development of their idea. We pitched this past Wednesday and were fortunate enough to be chosen to move on to the finals pitch along with 9 other strong teams.

If you would like to see the pitch, you are welcome to attend the public pitch event on Wednesday March 28th at 11am in the Student Life Center Great Hall. It’s a great chance to come see what the business side of our group looks like.