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International Sensor Development Project (ISDP) was organized by Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences on winter semester 2016-2017. The course is organized annually with different embedded engineering topic as a highlight of a long-time co-operation between the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science of Osnabrück and Electronics Degree Programme and Information Technology Degree Programme of Metropolia.
This semester the main concept of the project was to develop an Indoor Environment Supervision System which detects and registers data about environmental conditions in selected type of rooms such as concert halls, lecture halls, sport halls, or smaller accommodations.
Osnabrück and Metropolia students met each other the first time in Metropolia’s Bulevardi campus on a cold Friday of November 2016. Metropolia students were hosting an efficient kickoff workshop and at the end of the day the project was divided into tasks and allocated to international topical teams. After the kickoff the international teams continued working on the project via internet with jointly agreed deadlines and checkpoints. Teams kept the instructors regularly informed about the progress of the project and informed if any problems occurred.
The integrating intensive week was hosted by Osnabrück students in Germany in the end of February 2017. During the intensive week the teams combined their results into a working prototype. The prototype was based on the sensor-microcontroller data transferring, single board CPU-microcontroller Bluetooth data exchange, and board-to-cloud data transferring. Electronics design team integrated different sensors to measure environmental variables such as gas, temperature, humidity, loudness, and pressure into single printed circuit board. Osnabrück students programmed the Arduino Micro which was connected via BlueTooth to Raspberry Pi 3 running Metropolia student’s software. Osnabrück team designed and printed a 3D enclosure for the electronics.
A very important part of the implementation was making the Raspberry Pi programming fault tolerant. For example, in cases of Bluetooth, serial, or Internet connection errors, disconnections or reconnections, the system will create an Exception and break the running program. In addition, the Metropolia software team developed an Android application to monitor the measurements either using the cloud data or direct BlueTooth connection to the system.
Based on the student’s final reports, the most important lesson learned was how to improve team communication and co-operation so that problems and challenges can be solved more efficiently. This helped the students to stay on schedule and work out the problems together which resulted in great project management in general.
“Overall the ISDP 2016-2017 was a great success. It was very impressive how the two teams working in different countries used different tools and methods of communication to co-operate with each other and completed this project on the given deadline and with all specifications included. The final system was remarkably more sophisticated than the initial specifications required. Both Osnabrück and Metropolia students showed a great initiative and took responsibility on managing and implementing their project duties”, say senior lecturers Antti Piironen and Matti Fischer from Metropolia.
Shazam Kasher, engineering student from Metropolia, describes the project as a great experience but at the same time a very challenging one.
“I have done several projects within Metropolia and I think this project has given me and the whole team more experience in working in an international environment and under pressure than any other project so far. “
Shazam Kasher says he learned a great deal of important things from technical issues to problem solving and team work.
“I learned a lot related to my own degree programme, electronics. But I personally as a project manager learned also about project management and international communications. The best thing I got out of this project was the team work skills. This project would not have been possible without immense hard work from the whole team. Time management was another great skill learned in this project, as we had deadlines for everything. These kinds of projects provide the students confidence and motivation they need to become good engineers”, says Shazam Kasher.
For more details, please contact:
Senior Lecturer Antti Piironen