At the end of 2008, a group of our undergraduate students came up with an interesting proposal - what if we organize an experimental course where a group of sophomore and junior undergraduate students build a hardware/software security system? What if this course is offered during the winter break (i.e. month of January) so that the students have more time to focus on the project? What if we submit an abstract about the class project to a professional conference so that the students can experience public speaking?

That's how our winter term experimental design course got started. The students who participated in our course, listed as CPEG366/ELEG366 were:

  1. Lawrence Aiello, Sophomore, Computer Engineering Major (
  2. Stephen Janansky, Junior, Computer Engineering Major (
  3. Robert Hairslip, Junior, Electrical Engineering Major (
  4. Joshua Marks, Junior, Electrical Engineering Major (
  5. Michael Natrin, Sophomore, Electrical Engineering Major (
  6. Robert Rehrig, Junior, Electrical Engineering (
  7. Alexander Lindley, Junior, Electrical Engineering Major (
  8. Burke Cates, Junior, Computer Science Major (

The intent of our course was to introduce early undergraduate students good research and design practices. The month long course was not organized like a typical class (i.e. there were no regularly scheduled lectures, homeworks, or exams). Instead, the students worked together on the project in a laboratory that was dedicated to the project (for the month of January). The ECE department supplied equipment and parts that were needed to build the prototype. Nick Waite and Fouad Kiamilev had weekly meetings with the students to review progress. As part of learning "good engineering practice", the students documented their work on the WIKI and their notes can be viewed at And instead of taking a final, the students got to present their work at a conference. At the end of the class, the students completed a hardware prototype that combined off-the-shelf wireless router with custom-programmed micro-controller and various sensors (i.e. webcam, infrared sensor, sound sensor).

The class abstract was accepted for presentation at the SHMOOCON 2009 conference. ShmooCon is an annual East coast hacker convention for demonstrating technology exploitation, inventive software & hardware solutions, and open discussions of critical infosec issues. Here is the abstract of our talk:

Off the Shelf Security - Meeting Crime with an Open Source Mind (Nick Waite, Burke Cates, and Stephen Janansky) In the process of designing sensors to assist in the automated response to violent crimes, a robust multipurpose sensor platform using off-the-shelf hardware was developed. Although not at a final production state (as with most open source projects) the group hopes to open source it to the community at Shmoocon. This talk will detail the system (known fondly as "The System"), the design (hardware and software), the use of other open source projects (OpenWRT etc), and the properties that will make it beneficial to all. "The System" can be described as a sensor platform that integrates off the shelf hardware to provide 802.11, USB, and Zigbee capabilities among other things while also allowing for modular sensors to be added. Most importantly it has been designed to be low cost by using mostly off-the-shelf products. While the application we will be investigating is that of security, the system can be used in a variety of ways. Of course keeping with the spirit of the community, the more mischievous uses will be demoed also. The goal of this talk is to encourage the community to take a fresh look into hardware while releasing a very useful tool to help them springboard into it.

Shmoocon 5: Meeting Crime With an Open Mind from Ryan Hoover on Vimeo.

Presentation Slides


Dedicated laboratory space (during winter term) and funding to build the prototype was kindly provided by University of Delaware’s (UD) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Funds to support travel to Shmoocon conference for 8 undergraduate students, Nick Waite and Professor Kiamilev were kindly provided by CVORG Research Group, UD's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and UD’s College of Engineering.


CVORG is a research group located at the University of Delaware’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Newark, Delaware. We specialize in making electronic devices and in software-hardware integration. I am responsible for the content of this webpage.

Fouad Kiamilev
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Delaware