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Implement Smart Sensors with Wireless Communication Protocols and Embedded Microcontrollers in a Capstone Project Design

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Capstone and Design Projects

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.723.1 - 25.723.10



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Paper Authors


Steve C. Hsiung Old Dominion University

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Steve Hsiung is an Associate Professor of electrical engineering technology at Old Dominion University. Prior to his current position, Hsiung had worked for Maxim Integrated Products, Inc., Seagate Technology, Inc., and Lam Research Corp., all in Silicon Valley, Calif. Hsiung also taught at Utah State University and California University of Pennsylvania. He earned his B.S. degree from National Kauhsiung Normal University in 1980, M.S. degrees from University of North Dakota in 1986 and Kansas State University in 1988, and Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University in 1992. Hsiung can be reached at

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Cory Terell Gleason Old Dominion University

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Cory Terell Gleason graduated from ODU in 2012 and was in the U.S. Navy from 2003 until 2007.

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Lacides Agustin Osorio Norfolk Ship Support Activity Regional Maintenance Center

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Born in Colombia, South America and raised in Queens, New York. he graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1983, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. In 2009, he retired from the Navy after 25+ years of dedicated service, and also graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor's of science degree in electrical engineering technology. He currently works as an Electrical Engineering Technician at Norfolk Ship Support Activity Regional Maintenance Center, and continues to be a part of the Electrical Engineering Technology Department at Old Dominion University.

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Charles H. McGinn Old Dominion University

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Implement Smart Sensors with Wireless Communication Protocols and Embedded MicrocontrollersAbstract Wireless communication becomes popular and widely used almost everywhere in ourdaily life. Their applications are in existence of: Cellular Wireless for telephone system, datacollection, voice communication, and other mobile or extremely remote devices, Bluetooth forlow-power applications in short range and moderate date bandwidth, Proprietary ISM (industrial,scientific, medical) protocols used in open frequency bands from 260 to 470 MHz, 902 to 928MHz, and 2.4GHz, 802.11/WiFi in wireless data communications, 802.15/ZigBee for meshnetworks of sensors and controllers, and Z-Wave for low speed wireless protocol of homeelectronics devices to intercommunicate using reliable protocol that easily travels through walls,floors, and cabinets. Sensors with embedded intelligence and integrated with cost effective wireless protocolshave been recognized as smart sensors in many applications such as smart home appliances,home automation, green technology in energy conservation and harvesting, and remote datalogging etc. This proposed presentation is implemented in the classification between ProprietaryISM, ZigBee and Z-Wave wireless applications. It is built based on the MRF24J40MA (2.4GHzRF modules) that follows the IEEE 802.15.4TM-2003 rules, standards, and software protocolsdesigns with SPI interfacing to the PIC16F877A microcontroller. The project uses three 2.4 GHzRF modules (MRF24J40MA), and three PIC16F877A hosted in three previously developed lowcost PIC microcontroller training systems. The sensors are designed as Slaves and responsiblefor conditioning and reporting temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. The controlunit is categorized as a Master and responsible for interacting with user/host to decide when,where, and how to report the data to the inquiries. In addition to the sensor on the Slaves, thereare assistances from real time clock and external EEPROM devices to provide time stamped realtime data for future inquiry from the Master. All the communications between the Master andmultiple Slaves are wireless RF signals with customized software protocols design. Engineering technology focuses on both “hands-on and mind-on” design work and thepractice is to integrate existing technology products into real world applications. Through theimplementation of this project, students have been provided the opportunities to learn aboutcurrent technological concepts and to prepare and qualify for high-tech jobs for today and in thefuture. Highlights of the presentation will address the following:  Comparison of various wireless applications.  Introduction of IEEE 802.15.4TM-2003 rules and standards.  Hardware and software designs of the wireless project.  RF communication protocols with SPI interfacing.  Cost effectiveness analysis of using a 2.4 GHz MRF24J40MA RF transceiver.  Potential uses of this project design in other applications Topic Areas: 1. Capstone Projects in Electrical ET 2. Embedded System Designs in ET 3. Wireless Communication Applications

Hsiung, S. C., & Gleason, C. T., & Osorio, L. A., & McGinn, C. H. (2012, June), Implement Smart Sensors with Wireless Communication Protocols and Embedded Microcontrollers in a Capstone Project Design Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21480

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