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A Multidisciplinary Curricular Effort Incorporating Wireless Sensors

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Course Innovation

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.69.1 - 12.69.7



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Paper Authors

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Jeff Frolik University of Vermont

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Frederic Sansoz University of Vermont

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Donna Rizzo University of Vermont

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Adel Sadek University of Vermont

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Multidisciplinary Curricular Effort Incorporating Wireless Sensors


In order to develop robust and reliable systems, engineers rely on accurate data often obtained using sensors. Recently, advances in sensor, embedded computing, and wireless technologies have enabled engineers to collect data using wireless sensors on phenomenon and in environments that had previously been impossible to monitor. Example applications include measurement of localized strain on civil structures to characterization of microclimates in forest canopies. From these examples, we see the design and utilization of such sensor systems to be truly a multidisciplinary effort. In addition to being a timely topic, the effort discussed herein demonstrates that wireless sensors lend themselves to hands-on educational activities precisely due to the wide variety of applications for which they can be deployed. In this paper, we detail ongoing efforts at the University of Vermont (UVM) to develop new and enhance existing courses by incorporating wireless sensors. The efforts to date have impacted students from our four engineering disciplines (civil, electrical, environmental and mechanical) and computer science.

Curricular Enhancements

Our efforts to utilize wireless sensors for hands-on activities began in 2004 with our first- year, engineering design course. More recently, upper level courses have been developed and revised to incorporate this technology. In addition, new courses are in development that will utilize wireless sensor hardware. Table 1 summarizes these courses which are detailed in the remainder of this paper.

Table 1. UVM courses impacted by wireless sensor use Year Course Status Students Sensor Implementation Discipline per year First-year First-year Design Offered since ~80 Utilizes CricketSat wireless sensor EE & ME Experience Spring 2004 as project platform Senior/Grad Wireless Sensor New offering ~15 Utilizes commercial wireless All Networks for Fall 2006 sensors to develop networks for Engineering custom applications & CS Junior Mechanical Revised for ~40 Integration of commercial wireless ME Engineering Lab Spring 2007 sensors for beam mechanics and III vibration monitoring Junior Modeling In development ~40 Acquisition and analysis of CE & EnvE Environmental/ for Spring 2008 environmental and traffic data Transportation obtained using commercial wireless Systems sensors Sophomore Sensors & Circuits In development ~200 Development of a USB-based All for Fall 2008 sensor platform is proposed Engineering

Frolik, J., & Sansoz, F., & Rizzo, D., & Sadek, A. (2007, June), A Multidisciplinary Curricular Effort Incorporating Wireless Sensors Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1632

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