Asee peer logo

STEM Project Experiences with Wireless Sensor Networks

Download Paper |


2022 ASEE - North Central Section Conference


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

March 18, 2022

Start Date

March 18, 2022

End Date

April 4, 2022

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Ramakrishnan Sundaram Gannon University

visit author page

Dr. Sundaram is a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Gannon University. His areas of research include computational architectures for signal and image processing as well as novel methods to improve/enhance engineering education pedagogy.

visit author page

author page

Tyler John Seelnacht

author page

Zachary Owen Dickinson

Download Paper |


This paper discusses the use of hands-on STEM laboratory and project activities to engage STEM students in middle and high schools through the assembly and testing of wireless sensor networks for radio frequency imaging of space. Radio frequency signals can be used to perform non-invasive and device-free target localization of objects or entities in space. Radio tomographic imaging uses wireless sensor networks to form images from the attenuation of the radio frequency signals. Radio tomographic imaging is useful to locate security breaches, to perform rescue operations, and to design “smart” buildings. The radio tomographic imaging system is comprised of three subsystems the wireless sensor network, the command and data collection platform, and the user interface.

Broadly speaking, the STEM activities for the students comprise • Assembly of each node of the wireless sensor network using the ESP32 Wi-Fi modules and accessories. • Execution of software and hardware tests on the functionality of each node. • configuration of the wireless sensor network grid using an organized collection of nodes. • Set up of the communication with the command and data collection platform to collect the received signal strength data from each transmitting node in the network. • Identification and display of objects within the space enclosed by the wireless sensor network.

The distinction between the two groups of students – middle school and high school – is made through the complexity of the processes outlined above. While the hardware assembly and testing procedure is easy to comprehend by both groups, the software aspects of the operation of the network will be the basis for deeper STEM engagement by the high school students. Specifically, the high school students will investigate methods to improve the capture and display of the information at the command and data collection platform.

In addition to creating and piloting STEM laboratory and project experiences with wireless sensor networks, the integrated radio tomographic imaging system will engage undergraduate and graduate students in research on imaging with radio frequency signals, as well as the faculty in course and curriculum development.

Sundaram, R., & Seelnacht, T. J., & Dickinson, Z. O. (2022, March), STEM Project Experiences with Wireless Sensor Networks Paper presented at 2022 ASEE - North Central Section Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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: © 2022 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