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Building Wireless Sensor Networks with Zigbee

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Instrumentation Technical Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.263.1 - 23.263.18

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Paper Authors

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Mohammad Rafiq Muqri DeVry University, Pomona

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Robert Alfaro

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Building Wireless Sensor Networks with ZigbeeThe microprocessor sequence courses are among the most important and challenging coursesthat students take in electronics, computer, and biomedical engineering curriculum, which alsolay the foundation for capstone senior projects. The practical, but abstract, programmingconcepts in embedded computing tend to be difficult for beginning freshman and sophomorestudents. This difficulty is reinforced by the use of cheap simulators, and not using hands-onmicroprocessor development tools. The faculty at DeVry University is developing new hands onapplication-oriented laboratory exercises which can actively engage students. These laboratoryexercises will also be helpful to students who will take capstone senior project coursework.The use of carefully crafted laboratory exercises is very important in exposing engineeringtechnology students to microprocessor projects. The previous assembly language laboratoryexercises were used in a two course microprocessor sequence taught over a fourteen weeksemester. The newer three course microprocessor sequence introduced in 2008 is being taught inan eight week session format, with two two-hour lectures, one one-hour diagnostic test, and onethree-hour laboratory session per week.The laboratory activities start off with simple programming examples, such as interfacing withpushbuttons, LEDs, and switches and then gradually progress to interfacing with stepper motors,keypad, and programmable timers. The liquid crystal display(LCD), asynchronous andsynchronous serial devices, analog to digital, and digital to analog conversion, are furtherexplored in this course sequence. This paper will also discuss an interesting real worldapplication - implementation of wireless sensor networks using Zigbee.In order to facilitate these laboratory exercises, the faculty at DeVry has chosen to use aFreescale, 68HC12 microcontroller board. Also, the faculty has developed a number ofinteresting practical lab exercises based on the assembly and C language programs which canalso be performed in traditional labs with commonly available equipment. This paper will alsodescribe in detail the new labs teaching module which is being developed to introduce thestudents to smart sensors, transducers, and building wireless sensor networks using IEEE 1451family of standards.Prior to implementing these exercises, the laboratory portion of the course was predominantlybased upon assembly language programming. Beginning in 2009, the curriculum was revised toreflect more use of C instead of assembly language.This paper thereby serves as an innovative way to expose technology students to real worldapplications like building wireless smart sensor network (WSN) with Zigbee standard andinterfacing with 68HC12 microcontroller, which will be incorporated in a revised teachingmodule.

Muqri, M. R., & Alfaro, R. (2013, June), Building Wireless Sensor Networks with Zigbee Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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