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MSU ECE 4532 - Paranormal Activity Recording and Detection System

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design document for PARDS: Paranormal Activity Recording and Detection System submitted to: Professor Joseph Picone ECE 4512 (or 4522, etc.): Senior Design I (or II) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering 413 Hardy Road, Box 9571 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762 March 22, 2004 prepared by: J. Carter, B. Nagel, B. Sigh, and S. Wadhwani Faculty Advisor: Professor Robert Reese Industrial Advisor: James Smith, Corona Corporation Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Mississippi State University 413 Hardy Road, Box 9571 Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762 Tel: 555-555-5555, Fax: 555-555-5556 email: {jnc4, ban1, bas8, smw1}@ece.msstate.edu DEPARTMENT OF ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERINGPARDS: Paranormal Activity Recording and Detection System Page 2 of 35 ECE 4532: CPE Design I March 22, 2004 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The investigation of paranormal activity has traditionally included both personal accounts of experiences and scientific records of events. The challenge for traditional paranormal investigators has been the collection of data that will pass the rigorous scrutiny of a doubtful audience. Strange variations in temperature level and electromagnetic field (EMF) are associated with the appearance and activity of ghosts; however, no currently marketed instrument combines these sensors into a recording system with a camera or microphone. Many users that have the professional or personal interest in validating (or invalidating) claims of ghost hauntings do not have the technical skill to combine temperature sensors, EMF sensors, motion sensors, cameras, and microphones to produce a synchronized output of data. Such an integrated device is necessary for monitoring an area such as a haunted house due to the unpredictable nature of the phenomenon and the fallibility of human observation. The Paranormal Activity Recording and Detection System (PARDS) will offer a solution for detecting, recording, and organizing data from potential paranormal occurrences. The PARDS will consist of two main parts: a sensor module and the recording device. The sensor module will connect up to two passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors, three IC temperature sensors, and an EMF sensor to a PIC. The firmware on the PIC collects measurements from the sensors and outputs the current sensors levels to the recording device through a RS-232 connection. The data will be recorded on the second part of the PARDS, which will basically be a small, quiet computer. A motherboard with a fanless processor will be used to maintain a noise level below 20dB, and a hard drive will be used to store a minimum of one hour of data. The recording device will have three inputs: the sensor module, an IEEE-1394 IIDC-compatible camera, and a microphone. The device will begin recording when sudden changes in sensor levels occur or motion occurs. The recording device will include a 10/100 Base-T Ethernet connection. After data is recorded, the device can be connected to a network and Windows software will download the recordings, arrange the files, and allow a user to view the video in MPEG-1 encoding. The initial design has been implemented with a few key changes. The processor used in the recording device meets the noise constraint with a sound level of 18 dB at a distance of 3 meters from the unit, but the processing capability is inadequate and cannot produce real-time MPEG recordings. Consequently, the device can only record 4 hours of continuous video. Reliability issues with the device firmware currently prevent lengthy continuous operation. The longest system run time without needing to reboot is currently 10 hours, but the average time in tests is around 3 hours. Further development is necessary to ensure that the firmware adequately addresses recovery from system errors and prevents errors when possible. The Windows software currently connects to the recording device through Windows file sharing, but the API used for this connection is not available on Win98 systems. The sensor module has been completely implemented, and the design of this portion of the system has remained unchanged from the initial ideas. The system currently provided is sufficient for monitoring areas for paranormal activity. The firmware for the device should be improved to ensure that the device can record for extended periods of time and to minimize the time necessary for compression of the video. A major concern about the current state of the project is a reliance on several expensive parts. The current EMF sensor may be more accurate than is necessary, and research may be done to find alternatives to this part. The recording device, which is essentially a small computer, is also relatively expensive. Streamlining the software will allow for less memory and a smaller hard drive, but alternatives to the current system will still be sought. However, the current system performs the required operation and can serve as a useful platform for monitoring an area.PARDS: Paranormal Activity Recording and Detection System Page 3 of 35 ECE 4532: CPE Design I March 22, 2004 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. PROBLEM ..........................................................................................................................1 2. DESIGN REQUIREMENTS ...............................................................................................1 2.1. Technical Design Constraints .....................................................................................1 2.2. Practical Design Constraints.......................................................................................1 3. APPROACH........................................................................................................................1 4. EVALUATION....................................................................................................................1 4.1. Test Specification ......................................................................................................1 4.2. Test Certification – Simulation ...................................................................................1 4.3. Test Certification – Hardware.....................................................................................1 4.4. Test Certification – Software......................................................................................1 5. SUMMARY AND FUTURE WORK


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