Date of Award

Spring 2010

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Science


Systems Engineering

School or College

Seaver College of Science and Engineering


This project is an attempt to build an automatic air-cleaning cat litter box using system engineering methodology and process. Multiple skill sets such as computer engineering and electrical engineering are used in order to create this system-of-systems. The entire process is divided into 3 major phases: planning phase, development phase, and the final phase.

In planning phase, the project will first identify the top level requirements. The top three requirements for this air-cleaning cat litter box are: It shall reduce the smell of excrement; It shall not frighten the cat; and it shall be capable of being placed anywhere in the house. These requirements (Mission Requirements) will then be broken down into smaller requirements (System Requirements) from which forms specifications of the air-cleaning litter box.

After requirements decomposition, it is time to define the system architecture. For this project, the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DODAF) was chosen to describe the architecture because of its ease of adaption. Only a few of the key views will be used, such as: the High-Level Operational Concept Graphic (OV-1) which shows the concept of operation in easy to understand graphics; the system interface description (SV-1) which shows the components or systems involved and how they interact with each other, along with other key views that pertain to the project. This provides a common foundation for all three elements for the development phase.

In development phase, there are three elements: software, circuit, and vent. Each element can be developed independently thanks to the architecture that was defined earlier. In software, development consists of software design and validation. In circuit, there are material acquisition, circuit design, circuit build-out, and finally circuit validation. Vent element consists of material acquisition and vent construction.

In the final phase, all three elements will be integrated into a single entity. A final validation will be performed to ensure that all requirements established are met, and the product is functioning properly.

Unfortunately things never happened exactly as planned. Along the way there were many problems encountered such as simulation inaccuracy and material failure. They have a big impact on the schedule, however they were overcome and the project was completed. On the bright side, these problems have been a great learning experience and will serve as lessons learned for many future projects.

LeoChan_Systems_Presentation.pdf (2026 kB)
Oral Presentation