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Well it has come to that point for me when I have to do a masters thesis. My major is electronics and computer technology. The hardest part I think is coming up with the thesis statement. I am trying to come up with something to do with home automation but I can not figure out how to turn this into a thesis with quantifiable data that I can collect. If anybody has any ideas that would be greatly appreciated.

Greg
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I hear a lot about the smart grid today.  Between power usage information gathering, appliance scheduling to lower peak demand, and the reaction of the consumer to these things there would certainly be plenty to work with there. 

I have also been considering trying to make a phased array microphone as a Senior project next year, but there is certainly enough there for a Masters Thesis as well.  There was a demo of a phased array microphone that was placed at the top of a basketball arena and allowed the user to pinpoint where in the arena they wanted to listen to.  This not only brings up a lot of technical topics but privacy ones as well.
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I hear a lot about the smart grid today.  Between power usage information gathering, appliance scheduling to lower peak demand, and the reaction of the consumer to these things there would certainly be plenty to work with there. 

I have also been considering trying to make a phased array microphone as a Senior project next year, but there is certainly enough there for a Masters Thesis as well.  There was a demo of a phased array microphone that was placed at the top of a basketball arena and allowed the user to pinpoint where in the arena they wanted to listen to.  This not only brings up a lot of technical topics but privacy ones as well.

I know that the city of Richmond, California has installed some phased array microphone sensors around certain areas of the city tuned to detect gun fire and the direction from the sensor to help police respond to such events. So there are certainly commercial products using that tech.


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Two things about a Master's thesis:

1. PROCESS of picking the thesis subject.. 
2. The actual research, experimentation, collection of results, data handling and synthesis, and writing the 'paper'.

In my opinion, you should not hurry part 1. If you find a subject that approaches the state of the art, presents some important question, takes more than reading to research, and results in some fairly unique insight or application, you will find all that stuff in part 2 will fall together, point you in the directions you need to go, and actually be enjoyable. 

Also, be aware that a Master's Thesis is (supposedly) practice for the PHD Thesis. I don't agree with that, but you should make sure you understand your school's perspective on that.  Legend has it that at overachiever schools like MIT, the Masters Theses are better than the PHD theses. I don't know.

Personally, I would want to make sure that the time spent on this resulted in my learning something that I thought was really worthwhile. Not just RequiredBS.

I am not a good example of any of this. I have a very "Mongrel" academic background. At IBM I was was asked to do "Career Day" programs for High School students. I had fun doing that, showing cool stuff to do and learn, but I had to warn the organizers, "Don't ask about my Academic Background!". 

Maybe look at:  http://www.gradshare.com/advice.html?id=608

Let us know how all this works out.
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My only reason for commenting on this topic is to point out that there is a reason the topic is not assigned. If YOU pick a topic that appeals to YOU, YOU will do a much better job than if the topic doesn't appeal to YOU.

Now, if we had any idea what appealed to YOU, we might be able to make some specific suggestions about how to create a topic that would be acceptable as a theses.
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Sounds to me like you have made it a long way without really having any idea what you want to do with all this education. What experience do you have outside of the classroom?

From a working cynic with a bachelors degree...
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40 years ago, my prof said "here's a thesis project I'd like you to work on"  Choice wasn't really an option but I was, and still am, of the opinion that engineering as all about rising to the challenge.

Look around your world - you WILL see things that stimulate your imagination.  If you cannot see any, then ask yourself why are you studying engineering, since an open mind-set is a critical requirement.   If all else fails, get some mates together, buy a few beers and have a brain storming session.   From the minds of "children" come some very good ideas.
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I have just graduated a few months ago with a BEng and my project if you ask me was the best project in the world!!! (Still an active project!)

I did a motor drive with three Arduinos and like pointed out my natural interest really helped me and I did extremely well the high point for me was getting nominated for the IET competition and I got 2nd place which was a great accomplishment considering I was up against solely MEng students, i am still chuffed with that

Motor drives have a lot to offer for Uni projects at any level, I am trying to land a Phd in the field at the minute and there is lots of options for research, I have read some amazing masters thesis comparing different topologies efficiencies performance etc etc bla bla bla and you also have all the Matlab stuff ready for the taking!

If it were my project I would look into direct torque control or/and (even better) field oriented control but thats me your thesis topic has to appeal to you!, with electronics and computers behind you then power electronics could be a smart move, you have the skills and power electronics relies on lots of different topics (most!) it keeps you sharp

Best wishes whatever you choose
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Thanks guys for your thoughts and suggestions. Academics is not my strong point. Give me something hands on over anything academic any day. My biggest interests are in mobile robotics which is where my assitantship is in currently. The big issue I have with this area is my programming ability is pretty basic but I am willing to to learn. My professor suggests doing alot of reading to help narrow down a topic. Any suggestion on journals that I should look through?
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My biggest interests are in mobile robotics which is where my assitantship is in currently. The big issue I have with this area is my programming ability is pretty basic but I am willing to to learn. My professor suggests doing alot of reading to help narrow down a topic. Any suggestion on journals that I should look through?
I'd suggest otherwise.

I'd look at the aspects of mobile robotics that you find interesting. Then, look at who makes commercial projects that are in at least loosely related areas. Talk to those manufacturers. Find out what they see lacking in their products. As in "Well, it would be really neat if we could..." or "What would really set us apart from the competition would be...". Find out who's buying the products. Talk to them. Find out what they think of the product, and what they think could be improved/added to make it a better product.

Journals are fine, but they tend to be pointed towards "Here's what we've done", rather than "Here's what (still) needs to be done". Since you're looking for something to do, knowing what has been done is less important that knowing what needs to be done.
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I would like to thank everyone for there thoughts and suggestions. After talking with my professor he suggested that I do a major project instead. It seems that many professors think a major project can be more beneficial than a thesis. My project is going to be revamping a broken piece of robotics so that it can be used in the current automation lab. Mostly I will be using plc to get the job done that way it can be integrated into what is already there. Again thank you again
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Academics is not my strong point. Give me something hands on over anything academic any day.
Then why the heck are you considering a masters?

I had a good career as an EE and SE and never even finished school. Get stuck in and do a real project.

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my professor he suggested that I do a major project instead.
Good advice smiley

______
Rob
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Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

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