CRATEL is available in an advisory role for seniors at WSU's College of Engineering who are interested in exploring unique or artistic ideas as part of the year-long senior engineering projects.
Seniors typically work in teams of 3 or 4, building projects using computers, microcontrollers, and/or sensors. CRATEL director John Harrison and volunteer Tom McGuire offer technical know-how but, more importantly, challenge the students to consider unique and innovative opportunities while developing and implementing their ideas.
For academic year 2007-2008, CRATEL is overseeing two engineering projects: 1) a smart environment to control the windows and climate control of a car and 2) digital circuitry to clone specific audio tubes.
The smart environment is activated when the car is parked. It senses environmental conditions (rain, heat, etc.) both inside and outside of the car to determine if the windows should be rolled down or up, or the blower fan should be activated.
The digital tube inquiry is based on the premise that tube amplifiers used in high-end audio equipment reproduce sound that is unmatched by transistor based amplifiers. Moreover, conventional tubes each have their own unique sound which current technology cannot completely duplicate. The digital tube senior design team's goal is to make a digital equivalent to the vacuum tube. As an initial exploration, they are analyzing and labeling input and output data from the 12AU7A-type tube. The data will be input into neural network.
The digital tube senior design team hopes to eventually have a tube replicator to be used in conjunction with a programmable digital tube replacement. Users can plug in both their favorite conventional tube and the programmable digital tube replacement into the tube replicator. After programming is done, the digital tube replacement can be used as a drop-in replacement to the analog tube into any conventional tube amplifier.
Digital tube design team wiki
Digital tube design team blog