Xavier Smith

MIT Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Steven Leeb
Undergraduate Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Website: LinkedIn
Research Poster
Lightning Talk


My name is Xavier Smith, and I am a rising junior attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where am majoring in Computer Engineering with a double track in Electronic Systems and Communications. I am a part of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program and the URISE Program at UMBC, where both programs help me focus my energies towards pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering. My research interests lie in neurology and brain computer interfaces, where I plan to extensively explore the bridge between microelectronics and the human brain. My pastime hobbies include personal STEM projects, listening to music, and hanging out with friends.

2021 Abstract

Refocusing Analog Electronic Pedagogy to Emphasize Practical Skill Development within a PSoC Environment

Xavier Smith1, Eric Ponce2, Dan Monagle2, Nicolas Hougardy2, Steven Leeb2
1Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering,
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
2Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Electrical circuits stand at the center of design for providing functionality to many modern products. In order for Electrical Engineers in training to be as innovative and creative as possible when designing an electronic solution to a problem, hands-on experience is a critical part of undergraduate and graduate education.  The complexity of modern products and components makes it harder to keep practical hardware examples in front of students. We seek to address these challenges by tailoring an analog electronics curriculum solely around efficient, practical implementations of electrical signal theory within the voltage, current, and other signal limiting constraints of a modern embedded system called the PSoC, or Programmable System On-Chip. The curriculum is a handbook full of concise, optimized hands-on labs with the goal of familiarizing students with a real-world environment in a microcontroller and helping them internalize effective electronics techniques. We have worked to isolate the overarching characteristics of specific signal processing / analog circuitry concepts and interfacing them with peripherals on-board a PCB was a pedagogically valuable delivery mechanism for helping students understand both the theoretical and practical. Our plan is to launch the finished product for students to use during their undergraduate career, not only invoking a problem-solving thought process within them, but giving them the tools they need to become mature, seasoned, Electrical Engineers with the ability to confidently approach electronic projects.