Asee peer logo

Cellular Phone Control Application as an Undergraduate Research Project

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Interdisciplinary and Undergraduate Research in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.278.1 - 23.278.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Robert Weissbach P.E. Pennsylvania State University, Erie Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Robert Weissbach is currently an associate professor of engineering at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. From October 2007 through June 2008, he was a visiting researcher at Aalborg University in Aalborg, Denmark. His research interests are in renewable energy, energy storage, power electronics and power systems.

visit author page


Garrett LoVerde

visit author page

Garrett LoVerde is a senior undergraduate student studying engineering technology at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. He will be graduating in May 2013 with a degree in electrical & computer engineering technology, and a minor in psychology. His interests are too numerous to list but include human computer interaction, learning, and electronics.

visit author page


James Bimber

visit author page

James Bimber is currently an undergraduate student studying engineering at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. He has been a member of the Air Force since 1998 working as an integrated avionics technician and currently serves in the Air Force Reserves. He also works in research and development at Blackstone-Ney Ultrasonics. His research interests include circuit design, power generation, and integrating instrumentation and control systems with current technology.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Cellular Phone Control Application as an Undergraduate Research ProjectAs technology advances, items like the cell phone have become an integral part of people’severyday lives. Finding new innovative ways to incorporate devices like cellphones into our livescan help improve both productivity and efficiency, and can help reduce the cost associated withthe purchase of other, more expensive technologies. Creating a smart phone application that canremotely control motor speed is a demonstration of the capabilities of wireless technology thatcould lead to many other similar applications of this technology. This undergraduate researchproject uses smart phone technology as a control device by demonstrating that it can be used tocontrol the rotational speed of a DC motor. Specifically, this project will involve thedevelopment of a fast and real time method to control a device that is readily available to thepublic and relatively easy and inexpensive to implement in industry.A smart phone application will be created using a graphical user interface (GUI) that representsthe controls of a motor and a display of the requested motor speed. The brand of smart phonemust accept custom programmed applications. The smart phone will be programmed to interpretGUI inputs and create wireless signals. The hardware used to create and transmit the wirelesssignals will be pre-existing in the phone and common to most phones available in the market.An embedded control system will receive the wireless signals from the smart phone and interpretthose signals as a desired motor output speed. Separate intelligent hardware devices will likelybe needed, one for receiving and translating the wireless signal into a commonly usednetworking language, and a second device used to interpret the control signals and drive themotor. The motor speed will be varied by a pulse width modulated signal generated in the seconddevice that will likely require a transistor to switch the high currents required to spin the motor.Creating a control system that interacts with signals generated with common devices can haveseveral uses throughout industry. This work can extend to all areas of automated measurement,instrumentation, and controls. One potential outcome is the elimination of the need forexpensive human-machine interfaces (HMIs) at the monitored equipment, thereby significantlyreducing overall equipment costs.The benefits and limitations of incorporating this effort into an undergraduate engineering orengineering technology curriculum will then be explored. Among the issues to be addressed arethe technical (hardware and software) capabilities required of both the students and faculty toenable cell phone technology to be employed in control and communication systems courses.

Weissbach, R., & LoVerde, G., & Bimber, J. (2013, June), Cellular Phone Control Application as an Undergraduate Research Project Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19292

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2013 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015