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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Year End Project Puts Sights and Sounds into Perspective Caroline Storm Westenhover

My telecoms class had an end of the year project. You know it is interesting how you do not really think about all you have learned and how fascinating and wonderful it is until the end of the semester.

This telecoms project is a great example of making students think about what we learned. It involved suppressing photos and video. We had talked about bandwidth suppression all semester. It made sense. A smaller channel transmitting the same amount of information is always desirable. It was interesting to learn that since our ears, unlike our eyes, are insensitive to phase distortion it is possible to design cheaper filters that allow phase distortion to slip through.

However seeing my high loss quantizers and resource limited linear predictors it quickly became clear to me why video and picture suppression worked so well.


White noise picture original and after quantization and prediction without correction


White noise picture original and after quantization and prediction without correction

The scattered loss in the white noise picture and the clumps of loss in the water picture showed me why lossless data compression can work on the average picture.

It is like the first time you dissect something in biology. It is not that biology was not making sense before. Sure the lungs fill with air and the oxygenated blood circulates around the body, etc. It all makes sense theoretically, but with dissection it becomes clear that the system as a whole working together makes up a living being. What was abstract knowledge becomes concrete intuition.

After I dissected a frog I began to understand humans partially as bodies that had all these mechanisms going on under the surface of their skin. It added a new dimension to my understanding of people. In the same way applying a mixture of Matlab algorithms from the book and my own to a varied set of pictures made me look at pictures, streamed video and mp3 sourced audio in a different light. I could understand that an algorithm, much more complicated than my own, was going on beneath the skin. Suddenly it is not just an entertaining video or a good song. It is that, as well as the engineering that goes behind it getting it to me. I have to give high praise to my professor, Dr. Devarajan, for coming up with such a good end of the year project. It took a good chunk of what we learned and made it practical.

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My name is Caroline Storm Westenhover. I am a Senior Electrical Engineering student at the University of Texas at Arlington. I am the third of seven children. I enjoy collecting ideas and theories and most enjoy when they come together to present a bigger picture as a whole. Perhaps that is why I like physics and engineering.  My biggest dream is to become an astronaut.

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