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Simple, Low-cost IoT/UHF RFID-based Lab Equipment Identification and Tracking System

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

ET Projects

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Ghassan T Ibrahim Bloomsburg University

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Professor; Department of Physics & Engineering
Teaching courses in communication systems and Radio Rrequncy Effects & Measurements. Research interest : RFID Systems and Applications, and Digtal Signal Processing.

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Simple Low Cost IoT/UHF RFID Based Lab Equipment Identification and Tracking System

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is considered as the main tool to track and monitor objects tagged with an RFID tags in real time within local environment and even globally. The tracking and monitoring of objects with unique identifiers and transferring the acquired data over a network without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction is called the Internet of Things “IoT”. This subject matter was chosen as a senior design project topic to familiarize graduating Electronic Engineering Technology students with state of the art technologies. The purpose of the project was to develop a simple smart IoT (Internet of Things) RFID lab equipment identification and tracking system.

Prior to completing their degree in Electronics Engineering Technology the senior graduating students are required to design, build, test, document, and demonstrate a working prototype of an industrial like project. One project proposed by the advisor is the development of a low cost smart system capable of identifying, tracking and monitoring the location and movement of laboratory equipment using Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID. The system was designed and built by integrating low cost state of the art devices which included a Raspberry Pi single board computer, Arduino microcontroller, low cost passive UHF RFID readers together with passive EPC Gen2 tags, and a wireless local area network. The final integrated prototype system was tested to identify and track tagged lab equipment when entered into or left a laboratory. The information collected was stored in a database and made presentable to the user via a web based graphical user interface. The test results of the prototype system indicated the successful identification and tracking of equipment movement in simulated scenarios without human intervention. In addition, several tests were conducted to determine the system’s reliability, efficiency, and accuracy. These tests identified the overall performance limitations which are mainly attributed to the low cost hardware, limited resources, and time constraint. However, with the developed skills and experience the system can be further developed and implemented on a larger scale utilizing higher quality hardware and devices.

The paper presents the project findings, their analysis, and the educational outcomes of developing a low cost challenging state of the art system by undergraduate level EET students with limited practical experience. The involvement of students in such projects is utmost importance. It provides an excellent venue for the student to integrate the theoretical and practical knowledge gained during their educational period to analyze and solve real world problems.

References Xiaolin Jia1, Quanyuan Feng, Taihua Fan, Quanshui Lei1, RFID Technology and Its Applications in Internet of Things (IOT), 2012 2nd International Conference on Consumer Electronics, Communications and Networks (CECNet).

Ibrahim, G. T. (2018, June), Simple, Low-cost IoT/UHF RFID-based Lab Equipment Identification and Tracking System Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30963

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