Prize for engineering student in poster competition

Wednesday 05 June 2019

Andreea-Maria Oncescu (photo: Alice Cicirello)Engineering undergraduate Andreea-Maria Oncescu (Lubbock Scholar) won the runner-up prize in a project poster competition held during the 45th Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture on 22 May 2019.

Each year at the lecture fourth-year Engineering Science undergraduates present their final-year projects to alumni and visitors. Prizes are awarded to winners in eight categories, and an overall winner is chosen by the Oxford Engineering Alumni group. Andreea was runner-up for the overall prize, with her poster on ‘Failure detection of low-cost wearable devices using recorded data and reports’.  

Andreea, who is working as a research student under the supervision of Dr Alice Cicirello (Career Development Fellow in Engineering) in the Dynamics, Vibration and Uncertainty Lab, describes her project as follows.

‘My project is about creating an approach to detecting failures of health monitoring systems. This means looking at the data coming from sensors connected to a printed circuit board and trying to detect if there was a component that failed, such as a resistor or a wire being broken. I designed a wearable device, such as a smartwatch, which is made from an Arduino board, a temperature sensor, a humidity sensor, a Galvanic Skin Response sensor and an accelerometer. I then induced failures in the device such as disconnecting wires or adding resistors to the board. Then I recorded the data from the sensors and wrote a failure report containing the information about that failure. The data received a label (e.g. ‘broken ground pin connecting to temperature sensor’) that was extracted using Natural Language Processing from the reports. The final step was learning the correlation between specific data behaviour and extracted labels. This can then be used when new data is input into the algorithm to predict the most probable cause of failure.

‘This project is useful because in industry, whenever there is a failure in a system that has a printed circuit board as its main component, engineers have to manually check each component to try to figure out what failed and why, and then write a report on it. This is time consuming and cannot detect failures while the device is in operation. By having an approach that monitors the data in real time and having all the previous data and reports to learn from, the algorithm created can detect if there is a problem with the recorded  data and make the best guess as to the reason for that failure.’

Andreea says that after presenting her poster to five Engineering Science alumni - the whole presentation lasting for two hours - she received feedback that has given her new ideas for her project. She enjoyed listening to colleagues presenting their posters, as well as attending two very interesting lectures before the awards ceremony.

The Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture has been held annually in the Department of Engineering Science almost without a break since 1964. Featuring many distinguished speakers, the lectures have covered a wide range of topical issues in engineering and, since 1980, in management. The lectures are supported by the Maurice Lubbock Memorial Fund (MLMF), which the late Eric Lubbock, 4th Baron Avebury (Balliol 1945 and Honorary Fellow 2004-2016), set up in memory of his father, the Hon. Maurice Lubbock (Balliol 1919). Amongst other things, the MLMF supports the Lubbock Fellowship at Balliol, and the Lubbock Scholarships and Exhibitions are named for him. Andreea is one of the current Lubbock Scholarship holders.