Project Examples

Deployment and Monitoring of Real-Time Sensors for UMass Lowell

Course: 16.671 - Advanced Computer Architecture
Semester: Spring 2006
Instructor: Yan Luo
Partner: UMass Lowell Campus Facility Management Team

Brief Description:

Students from the Advanced Computer Architecture class had a wonderful and a beneficial opportunity to integrate service learning into their class. Working in collaboration with Mark Lukitsch, the Energy and Utilities Manager of UML campus Facilities, Assistant Professor Yan Luo designed a project for his class to assist the university in its efforts to reduce energy consumption.

Full Description:

Students from the Advanced Computer Architecture class had a wonderful and a beneficial opportunity to integrate service learning into their class. Working in collaboration with Mark Lukitsch, the Energy and Utilities Manager of UML campus Facilities, Assistant Professor Yan Luo designed a project for his class to assist the university in its efforts to reduce energy consumption. By utilizing wireless sensor nodes and by collecting and analyzing data, the students provided very valuable information regarding energy consumption issues for one of the university’s hall areas on north campus. Mark and the SLICE Coordinator attended the students’ final demonstration.

The class set up a wireless sensor network and programmed the sensor nodes to monitor the hallway lighting. At the end of the semester, the students set up a communication network test, performed a real-time data collection demo, and transmitted the data to the base computer station. The final statistical results were then submitted to Mark to propose an initial step towards the power saving project in campus.

Course objectives met by S-L project:

  • Designing program to instruct the sensor nodes
  • Performing an evaluation based on computer system
  • Setting up a wireless sensor communication network

Community objectives met by S-L project:

  • Documenting the misuse of hallway lighting University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Designating a more affordable energy level observation system
  • Initiating a power saving effort within community

Faculty and students reported some difficulties on completing this project:

  1. Understanding time consuming technical procedure documents
  2. Sensor application targeting
  3. Sensor nodes programming modification
  4. Tremendous data collecting and processing
  5. Limited operation time due to battery-powered sensors

Despite challenges, students accomplished a wireless sensor communication network with capacity to monitor the hallway lighting status 24/7 that was facilitated through positive toned participation and effective collaboration. The initial, first-hand data was transmitted and collected for plotting results through visual graphic displays. Collective student S-L project experiences in this course moved beyond enhancement of students’ knowledge, it also served to increase students’ interest in this course, which motivated them to work on several additional research proposals.