About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1438-1444
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

A FRAMEWORK FOR USING REAL DATA WITH DISTRIBUTED LOW COST SENSORS

N. Dias, D. Campos, A. Dias, H. Ferreira

ESEIG-IPP (PORTUGAL)
Currently due to the widespread use of computers and the internet, students are trading libraries for the world wide web and laboratories with simulation programs. In most courses, simulators are made available to students and can be used to proof that their theoretical results are correct or that they have built something that works.

Although this is an interesting solution: low cost, easy and fast way to do some courses work, it has indeed major disadvantages. As everything is currently being done with/in a computer, the students are loosing the “feel” of the real values of the magnitudes.

For instance in engineering studies, and mainly in the first years, students need to learn electronics, algorithmic, mathematics and physics. All of these areas can use numerical analysis software, simulation software or spreadsheets and in the majority of the cases data used is either simulated or random numbers. But real data could be used instead. For example, if a course uses a numerical analysis software and needs a dataset the students can learn to manipulate arrays or when using the spreadsheets to build graphics, instead of using a random table, students could use a real dataset based, for instance, in the room temperature and its variation across the day.

In this work we present a framework which uses a simple interface allowing it to be used by different courses where the computers are the teaching/learning process in order to give a more realistic feeling to students by using real data.

A framework is proposed based on a set of low cost sensors for different physical magnitudes, e.g. temperature, light or wind speed, which are connected to a central server, that the students have access with an Ethernet protocol or are connected directly to the student computer/laptop. These sensors use the communication ports available such as: serial ports, parallel ports, Ethernet or Universal Serial Bus (USB).
Since a central server is used, the students are encouraged to use sensor values results in their different courses and consequently different types of software such as: numerical analysis tools, spreadsheets or simply inside any programming language when a dataset is needed. In order to do this small pieces of hardware were developed containing at least one sensor using different type of computer communication.

As long as the sensors are attached in a server connected to the internet, these tools can also be shared between different schools. This allows sensors that aren't available in a determined school can to be used by getting the values from other places that are sharing them.

Another remark is that students in the more advanced years with more know how, can use the courses that have some affinities with electronic development to build new sensor pieces and expand the framework further.

The final solution provided is very interesting, low cost, simple to develop, allowing flexibility of resources by using the same materials in several courses bringing real world data into the students computer works.
@InProceedings{DIAS2011AFR,
author = {Dias, N. and Campos, D. and Dias, A. and Ferreira, H.},
title = {A FRAMEWORK FOR USING REAL DATA WITH DISTRIBUTED LOW COST SENSORS},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {1438-1444}}
TY - CONF
AU - N. Dias AU - D. Campos AU - A. Dias AU - H. Ferreira
TI - A FRAMEWORK FOR USING REAL DATA WITH DISTRIBUTED LOW COST SENSORS
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 1438
EP - 1444
ER -
N. Dias, D. Campos, A. Dias, H. Ferreira (2011) A FRAMEWORK FOR USING REAL DATA WITH DISTRIBUTED LOW COST SENSORS, ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 1438-1444.
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