The semester is wrapping up and that means final projects are due! It’s time to finally take a break and see the results of your effort. Today we’re showcasing a group in the Multidisciplinary Design program. The group consisting of Ryan Purcell, John Lavoie-Mayer, and Grant Miars, supervised by Marina Epelman, Brian Gilchrist, and Matt Sidley, and sponsored by Harris Communications designed a pet tracking device utilizing short and long range communications.
The short range communications used the 2.4 GHz ZigBee wireless protocol which has gained a lot of popularity for its compatibility with Arduino. DIY Drones, an RC plane company founded by Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine, uses the same communications protocol. It’s simple as far as wireless protocols go and a great choice for getting started in wireless. O’Reilley Media has published Building Wireless Sensor Networks to help you get started (The book is available through Safari Online for University of Michigan students). The long-range communications didn’t make it into the final project, but the idea is to use cell communications as a power-intensive backup for ZigBee.
During the semester they came to electronic lunch to share their project and contribute to others’ ideas. They also utilized DL1′s stash of electronics including an Arduino micro controller and shields to interface with the communication devices. Check out the electronic resources here.