If you are interested in a wireless project consider using an “electric imp” as the hardware interface. http://electricimp.com/
Develop a display that can be controlled wirelessly (or wired) through an app or web interface.
Convert a text message to Morse code with Verilog. Can you read a Morse code message into text (it shouldn’t be too difficult).
Altera supplies support for an embedded processor (called NIOS II) for its FPGA’s. Use the processor to demonstrate a simple calculation/task.
Implement a multiplication ALU in Verilog (without using the built-in multiplication operator). Perhaps try using either a Wallace Tree or a Dadda Tree (two faster algorithms than “traditional” shift-and-add multiplication)
Build a simple PWM controller in Verilog to control the brightness of an LED.
Implement a serial port in Verilog and connect to a computer or to one of the peripherals on the DE2 board.
Implement a simple correlator in Verilog, an application is DNA sequence comparison.
Implement a very simple (4 bit) processor in Verilog
Implement a digital (FIR) filter using FPGA hardware. You can either do this from scratch, or figure out how to use the IP supplied by Altera (called DSPBuilder). This is a increasingly common application for FPGA’s and would impress many potential summer (or even post-graduation) employers. Talk to me (or do a quick search) to learn more.
Implement a reaction timer. The DE2 board lights an LED at a “random” time, and counts how long it takes the user to react by pushing a button.
Some MSP430’s have a very low power mode that lets you implement a finite state machine to do some simple processing without waking the processor up. See “SCAN IF” in MSP430FG4618 family data sheet (http://www.ti.com/lit/ug/slau056l/slau056l.pdf). We have some of these processors, so you could try it out.
Read about some of the heuristic logic minimization techniques (e.g., Espresso), and implement all (or part) of it.
Implement a floating point package (at least multiplication) for the MSP430. As an addition, compare the time for your implementation vs the implementation in the C compiler.
Implement the Quine-McCluskey algorithm. As an addition, time it for various truth tables and plot time vs number of inputs.
Design and build a wireless timer for students giving talks. The student tlaking would have an LCD display that counts down the time left in the talk. A green LED could come on at some time as a warning, followed by a red one (and a buzzer?) closer to the end.
The person moderating the talk would have access to the timer through a web page.
The project is not incredibly difficult, but there is a wide variety of tasks (hardware/software/networks…) and the system must be robust and low power.
Build a shaker table (a building on a table that undergoes forced vibrations) for E12 labs that demonstrates modes of vibration. This is a nice project if you want a mix of electronics, hardware and software.
For control theory (or as E90) implement an active damping system for building.