Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

2012 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings


1-10 (25.723)

Conference Name

2012 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition


Wireless communication has become popular and widely used in our daily lives. Their applications are: Cellular Wireless for telephone systems, data collection, voice communication, and other mobile or extremely remote devices, Bluetooth for low-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 928 MHz, and 2.4GHz, 802.11/WiFi in wireless data communications, 802.15/ZigBee for mesh networks of sensors and controllers, and Z-Wave for low speed wireless protocol of home electronics devices to intercommunicate using reliable protocol that easily travels through walls, floors, and cabinets1.

Sensors with embedded intelligence and integrated with cost effective wireless protocols have been recognized as smart sensors in many applications, such as smart home appliances, home automation, green technology in energy conservation and harvesting, and remote data logging etc2. This application project is implemented in the classification between Proprietary ISM, ZigBee, and Z-Wave wireless applications. It is built based on the MRF24J40MA (2.4GHz RF modules) that follows the IEEE 802.15.4TM-2003 rules7, standards, and software protocols designs with SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface)9 interfacing to a PIC16F877A microcontroller. The project uses three 2.4 GHz RF modules (MRF24J40MA), and three PIC16F877A units hosted in three previously developed low cost PIC microcontroller training systems3. The sensor stations are designed as Slave units and responsible for conditioning and reporting temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. The control unit is categorized as a Master station and responsible for interacting with user/host to decide when, where, and how to report the data to the inquiries. In addition to sensors on the Slaves station, there are assistances from real time clock and external serial EEPROM devices to provide time stamped real time data for future inquiry from the Master. All the communications between the Master and multiple Slaves are through wireless RF signals with customized software protocol designs4.


© 2012 American Society for Engineering Education, ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, San Antonio, Texas, June 10-13, 2012.

Original Publication Citation

Hsiung, S. C., Gleason, C. T., Osorio, L. A., & McGinn, C. H. (2012). Implement smart sensors with wireless communication protocols and embedded microcontrollers in a capstone project design. Paper presented at the 2012 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, San Antonio, Texas.