Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering


Dr. Navinda Kottege from CSIRO, Australia Visits University of Moratuwa

Written by Thilina Ambagahawatta.

Dr. Navinda Kottege, Senior Research Scientist and Research Team Leader with the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Brisbane, Australia visited the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering (ENTC), the University of Moratuwa on 6th January 2020. Dr. Navinda has been instrumental in hosting ENTC undergraduates as research interns at CSIRO as well as supervising final year projects as an external supervisor and providing robot hardware for the projects. A discussion on the progress of the final year projects was held at the department conference room with the participation of Dr. Peshala Jayasekara (ENTC), Dr. Thilina Lalitharatne (Mechanical Engineering) and Dr. Sulochana Sooriyaarachchi (Computer Science and Engineering), which was followed by a demonstration of the projects by the undergraduate students. Dr. Navinda also conducted a guest lecture on “Field Robotics” at the New Auditorium of the University of Moratuwa. In this talk, he gave an overview of the diverse research conducted at CSIRO’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group and explained about some specific technologies developed including SLAM and Legged robot locomotion.

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Industrial IoT Initiative of the Year Award for Dialog-UoM products at GLOTEL Awards 2019

Written by Thilina Ambagahawatta.

A range of IoT products developed at the Dialog-University of Moratuwa mobile communications lab won the coveted ‘Industrial IoT Initiative of the Year’ award at the 7th annual Global Telecoms Awards (GLOTEL Awards) held in London in November 2019.

 The winning entry is a result of a 4-way partnership between Dialog, the University of Moratuwa, Axiata Digital Labs (ADL) and Lanka Electricity Company (LECO). As the award signifies, the partnership has demonstrated that home-grown technology can make a global impact.

The end-to-end IoT systems experience gained throughout this development process has also enabled the Department of Electronic & Telecommunication Engineering to introduce two new course modules for its undergraduates, as well as the Dialog-UoM lab to support several final year projects.

Honorary Mentions at the IEEE ComSoc Student Competition 2019

Written by Thilina Ambagahawatta.

The IEEE Communications Society holds an annual student competition, encouraging communications engineering students to expand their knowledge, test and showcase new skills, and inspire innovation. IEEE ComSoc Student Competition 2019 was held with theme ‘Communications Technology Changing the World Student Competition’. Two teams; AKMA Bionics and RcubeH from the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering were able to secure Honorary Mentions (being ranked among the top 15 in the world) at the IEEE ComSoc Student Competition 2019.

Team ‘AKMA Bionics’ comprised of 4 final year undergraduates, Ashwin De Silva, Malsha Perera, Kithmin Wickramasinghe and Asma Naim. Their project was titled ‘Wearable Cost Effective Wireless Dry Contact sEMG Sensor System for Controlling Digital Technologies’. Surface electromyograms (sEMG) is a biopotential recording technique by which we record a muscles’ electrical activity from the surface of the skin; which reflects the generation and propagation of Motor Unit Action Potentials. This project focuses on designing a dry contact electrode for acquiring sEMG signals from forearm, including the design and development of the interfacing systems and circuits for the muscle-computer interface (MCI), under a reasonable cost with the intention of creating a novel finger gesture based wireless interaction device using modern communication technologies. The sEMG signals acquired from the dry contact electrode system is used for real-time hand motion recognition. These recognised hand motions will be used to control different digital technologies such as a smart switch, a smart light bulb, a computer, a smartphone and most importantly a bionic arm. Current available devices for acquisition of sEMG have shortcomings in terms of design, speed, reusability and reconfigurability. The dry contact, stainless steel based electrode system presented by this team is designed in order overcome the shortcomings of the currently available sEMG acquisition systems.

AKMA Bionics

Team ‘RcubeH’ comprised of 4 final year undergraduates, Ranjula Hettiarachchi , Rashinda Wijethunga, Ravindu Rashmin, Hashini De Silva. Their project was titled ‘Indoor Navigation for Visually Impaired’. At present there are over 30 million people around the world who are completely blind. Navigation at an unknown location has been one of their biggest challenges. Even though many outdoor navigation technologies have been invented to aid them in outdoor navigation, no widely adapted method has been launched to support the indoor navigation. Team RcubeH presents the idea of developing a method which uses only the proximity to a Bluetooth beacon and combines that information with mobile phone sensor data to navigate the visually impaired person along a certain route, so a major advantage of this method is number of beacons needed for a building can be reduced from a significant number. The team has developed filtering mechanisms and machine learning algorithms to obtain accurate distance estimation with high accuracy and robustness. Another advantage of the proposed method is the customizability, when the system is designed it will be adaptable to various buildings and various common features of a certain building without needing extra training/modification of algorithms. The beacons are placed strategically around limited points of interest around the building and use the mobile phones’ built-in sensors to navigate through these points of interest. The beacons are only used for marking a certain landmark and only the proximity (distance to a certain beacon) is used to for the navigation process. The main advantage of this approach is using a limited number of BLE beacons which reduces the cost by a large portion. Even though similar BLE proximity-based approaches have been taken by some researchers, the measures they have taken to increase the system’s accuracy and customizability is rather low. The team is intending to optimize the distance estimation process by implementing machine learning and filtering techniques and make the system customizable to different building environments. Once the system is developed it can be implemented in any building with a simple architectural design and a visually impaired person will be able to navigate to a certain destination inside the building. This system can be further improved to be used by the general public.


InnovateFPGA 2019 – Regional Final – Asia Pacific and Japan Region – Iron Award

Written by Thilina Ambagahawatta.

iron award

Humans are social beings, therefore communication with another happens everywhere in the world in various languages and through various devices. What about the mute community? They don’t have the opportunity to present their ideas to other people who can speak, without the help of another person who knows the sign language for interpretation or without the use of some device to do the translation. From the world’s population reportedly, there are a considerable amount of people suffering from speech disorders such as muteness, Apraxia (childhood/acquired) and Aphasia. These may occur due to brain damage, stroke, tumor or any other illness that affects the brain/ vocal cords/ mouth/ tongue etc. Since most of us do not understand sign language, for them to conduct a normal conversation with people like us they definitely need a source of translation. Our team came up with a design idea for a device to offer real-time sign language translation, to support efficient communication for the mute with the rest of the community who doesn’t understand sign language. We participated in InnovateFPGA 2019 to bring this idea to life and to make it our first steps to introduce our idea and findings to the world. The InnovateFPGA is a global FPGA design contest where teams from around the world compete as they invent the future of Artificial Intelligence with Terasic and Intel. This is a competition open to everyone including students, professors, makers and industry. We were able to feature engineer Electromyography (EMG) signals and signals from an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) obtained from a MYO armband (a wearable armband that consists of EMG pods and an IMU) and train a Neural Network to classify 5 sign language gestures. Once a model was built, we implemented this neural network on a De10-Nano Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) board, sent to us from Terasic to complete our project for the competition. We were able to interface the FPGA board via a Bluetooth connection with an Arduino since our final translation output was to be given as speech through a speaker. As second year undergraduates this was rather challenging, but we were able to secure the Iron Award at the Asia Pacific and Japan regional final round of the InnovateFPGA competition out of 30 teams. It was a great experience to have represented our country and bring glory to our university and nation. We are extremely thankful for the academic and non- academic staff of our department for their advices and immense support given to us. We wouldn’t have come this far in this competition if it weren’t for them. After this successful phase we are hoping to further improve our recognition algorithm and output full sentences using Natural Language Processing. We believe our findings will benefit this community largely in the future.

innovatefpga teamB

Project Members: Ramith Hettiarachchi (ENTC), Kithmini Herath (ENTC), Hasindu Kariyawasam (ENTC)

Sri Lankan Robotics Challenge 2019

Written by Thilina Ambagahawatta.

Sri Lankan Robotics Challenge (SLRC) is one of the most glorious and iconic events organized by the Electronic Club of Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Moratuwa. The 8th edition of SLRC commenced on 19th of October 2019 with the unwavering guidance of the head of the department Dr. Nuwan Dayananda, patron of Electronic Club Eng. Kithsiri Samarasinghe, senior treasurer and staff advisor of Electronic Club Dr. Ranga Rodrigo, senior lecturer Dr. Peshala Jayasekara and the president of Electronic Club Mr. Matheesha Abeysekera. This year’s event was chaired by the assistant secretary of Electronic Club Mr. Kavish Ranwella and the committee member Mr. Thushara Sampath. The event was planned to create the greatest platform for the competitors to showcase their talents.

SLRC 2019 inaugurated its golden days with the university category preliminary round. 16 teams representing universities from all over the country actively participated in this round, from which 6 teams were selected for the final round after the careful and excellent judgement made by the judges of the day, senior lecturer at KDU Eng. Udaya Dampage, Electronic engineer at Zone 24x7 Mr. Kanishka Wijayasekara and lecturer of University of Moratuwa Mr. Thilina Ambagahawaththa. A new award was introduced in this year’s challenge with the sole purpose of encouraging the competitors even more. Namely, ‘The Best Robot Design’ award was secured by the team Circuit Breakers from University of Moratuwa.

best design

The next day, 20th of October, 2019 was dedicated for the final round of the university category where 6 marvelous teams performed head to head with each other for the championship. With the honorable presence of the judges of the day, director and head of Electronics High Tech Lanka International Mr. Salinda Tennakoon, senior lecturer of University of Moratuwa Dr. Peshala Jayasekara and senior lecturer of University of Moratuwa Dr. Tharaka Samarasinghe winning teams were selected. Team Neo-RX from ICBT Campus, Kandy secured the winning title achieving the best overall scores and the most outstanding performance of the day. Winner was awarded with a cash prize of Rs.100,000. Team Circuit Breakers from University of Moratuwa won second place securing a cash prize of Rs.60,000. Team White Walkers representing University of Ruhuna became 2nd runners up winning a cash prize of Rs.30,000. University category was a huge success exhibiting all the hard work put in by the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering to build a broad platform for the talented youth of the country. SLRC provides these youthful and fresh minds a golden opportunity to interact with peers who bear the same interests as well as industry professionals and other resource persons.

winners uni

21st of October 2019 was the last day of the challenge. School category first round started off with a huge rate of participation from 52 teams representing schools around the country. Team Aloyz from St. Aloysius College emerged as the winners of the title 'The Best Robot Design'. Final round was held in the evening with the judges of the day, lecturer of University of Moratuwa Mr. Kavisha Vidanapathirana, lecturer of University of Moratuwa Mr. Asanka Rathnayaka and lecturer of University of Moratuwa Mr.Heshan Fernando. Their substantial commitment made SLRC 2019 a triumph. Team Infinity from Maliyadeva College won the first place with a cash prize of Rs.50,000. Team Galaxy from Wycherley International School and team Neo-revolt from Maliyadeva Model School secured second and third places with cash prizes of Rs.30,000 and Rs.15,000 respectively.

winners school

SLRC 2019 concluded on a high note creating a room for wisdom to shine. It gathered wisdom from all over the country, shared knowledge and vision, encouraged the purposeful hearts and finally ended continuing the legacy of the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Moratuwa.