Events & Microscope


The EPICS team will attend a poster presentation event on Monday, February 18, 2019. The poster presentation will be a chance to network with casual attendees as well as technically knowledgeable individuals with a background in engineering. This is also a chance to improve presentation skills and get people excited about the project.

IBM Microscope

The Raspberry Pi running a lensless microscope provided to the team by IBM has been tested and confirmed to be fully functional. An account has been created on IBM’s Watson cloud. Current testing is being done to ensure that communication from the Raspberry Pi to the cloud is working properly. A minor setback in this part of the project is that Wi-Fi must be used and water naturally absorbs the radio frequency at which Wi-Fi operates. There are several solutions to this being developed and the team is confident this problem can be overcome without too much difficulty.

New Life after the Rains and the Jetson

The team’s brand new semester starts off by executing the ideas that were discussed to make this project successful. With our deadline set to have deliverable results by the end of March this team is focused on bringing these concepts to life in the time we have left.

A New Year for the Fish


Image 1: A couple of Chinook spotted in December

We have our thanks to Dr. Allee form South Bay Clean Creek Coalition (SBCCC) for consulting us of the current status concerning the spawning of the Salmon. For a female Salmon, it’s important for them to select the right location where there is a good flow of water that can provide enough oxygen to their eggs, they will then die after completing their parental duty of securing the egg nest. The SBCCC organization counts these carcasses for record keeping and also formulates an estimation of Salmon in the river. The organization believes that around 100 fish returned to spawn this year; however, that number is in the best case scenario.

It’s extremely difficult to observe any of the hatchlings at this time of year because of the recent rains that we had in the Bay area. This causes sediment deposits to alter the properties river by decreasing visibility, finding fish at this moment is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Conditions will return to normal towards the beginning of next month for testing the device.

The Brains of the System

We have acquired the Jetson TX2 and using it to analyze the images and videos collected from the river. This was made for AI application so it should have no problem doing the work we want it to do. The team intends to mount this device on the final product equipped along with a webcam to perform real-time analysis, so we have to be sure that it’s container is air and water tight. Future iteration of the project can take advantage of this device’s features and processing power. It currently has Jetpack and Ubuntu installed to equip it with software tools.


Imge 2: The Jetson TX2 by NVIDIA


River Trip 11/9/18

On November 9, 2018, four group members visited the Guadalupe River at a location right along the SAP center. The team collected water samples, tested our camera visibility in the river, and collected video data with some fish in the images.

The team collected a small jar as a sample of the water quality and also collected a large tub for further testing of water visibility in the lab. The team collected more samples than necessary because it wanted to do as much testing between now and the next visit to the river. To test the water visibility, the team dropped a toy car in the river at different water qualities. The depth was measured and the camera was dropped in to ensure it would clearly see the object. During the visit, there were also some fish that were recorded. An issue discovered from the trip to the Guadalupe river is that the fish are very good at blending into the background. It will be interesting coming up with a solution to this problem.

Image showing fish blending in with background

Design Review and Feedback

On October 24th, 2018 the ROV team had its first design. During the review, the team gave a 10-minute presentation of the current design ideas and future goals. The team also answered questions from community members and industry leaders.

During the presentation, we received extremely helpful advice as well as new ideas to try out that the team had never considered before.

Stay posted for more updates that the team is working on, based on the review feedback, to improve our design and give the team a better shot at success.

Redesign of Rover

We are currently in the process of coming up with new designs for our rover. This rover will float on top of the Guadalupe River and look down in order to locate large populations of fish. The new design needs to be able to withstand highly turbulent water conditions, and move in 4 directions (forward, backward, left, right) while maintaining rotational stability. Below you can see 2 preliminary designs that have been taken into consideration and have been modeled on Solidwork’s CAD software.  Many other hand-drawn sketches have been created that may be finalized later.   The biggest obstacle has been fitting the large battery in the rover alongside other potential hardware that will be implemented by our computer engineering team.  The mechanical team plans to finalize which designs are the best fit for our problem by the end of this week and hope to start creating the first iteration of our prototype by the end of October so that we can work out different issues that we may face along the way.



Preliminary Designs that have been modeled in Solidworks.

Below the preliminary designs, you will see the parts we have to work with (from previous rovers) in order to build the rover.  The team is also currently working on controlling T100 Thrusters with an Electronic Speed Control Module (ESC) using an Arduino Microcontroller.  Alongside, we plan to use adopted toolboxes that are installed within MatLab that can help us to interface with the Arduino and create various control systems. Alongside learning about the thrusters and how they work, the mechanical team has been working on updating themselves with Arduino, Matlab, Solidworks, and other potential software that can help benefit us in providing analysis on various designs for the rover.