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  1. Wireless and Mobility Research Group, Institute of Technology Tralee, Ireland A Local and Remote Radio Frequency Identification Learning Environment Andrew Shields & David Butcher

  2. Overview • What is RFID? • Remote Laboratories • RFID Education • Interactivity • Remote RFID Learning Environment System Overview • Conclusions

  3. Introduction • There are a number of avenues that can be followed in the area of RFID education, depending on the requirements of the students. • This project will concentrate on the use of Remote Laboratories in aiding RFID Education • The primary objective is to develop suitable PC based laboratory experiments for RFID education.

  4. What is RFID? • Used for automatic identification of items. • Walmart • US Department of Defence • Tesco • Others • RFID equipment consists of • RFID reader, also known as an interrogator. • Antenna for wireless communication • Tags used to store digital information on an embedded chip. • The tag also contains an antenna for communicating with the reader

  5. What is RFID? • RFID provides an advantage over bar code technology • Non-line of sight • Ultra High Frequency (UHF) equipment has enhanced the suitability of RFID in the supply chain. • Potential replacement of existing barcode technologies

  6. Remote Laboratories • Interaction with hardware is an important aspect of the learning experience. • Remote laboratory experiments using CBL, allow the investigation of real objects in real time and provide hands-on experience. • Students can conduct remote experiments by controlling and viewing hardware and record the results. • For the design of these types of environments, the following aspects are important: • On the client's side, only standard web browser software independent of the operating system should be necessary.

  7. RFID Education • RFID industry is in the midst of a transformation. • Agreement on RFID standards • Many steps involved in implementing an RFID solution. • Difficult to know where to begin! • Different frequencies, • Tags, • Readers, • Middleware • Industry demand for higher accuracy and read rates from RFID increases complexity.

  8. RFID Education • Few individuals have this level of knowledge • Therefore a greater focus needs to be put on RFID education. • RFID courses generally offer a broad base of general RFID knowledge. • Many of these introductory courses typically cover information regarding how RFID technology works, • Network elements, • Technology standards • General applications of the technology. • Some RFID laboratory activities

  9. Remote Learning • One of the most exciting new trends in education is the use of remote learning. • Remote learning can have a number of advantages over a conventional classroom. • Some students are reserved and shy by nature and are reluctant to ask questions or may not ask even a single question throughout a course. • In a remote learning class with technical support, the reserved students excel - they can ask as many questions as they want. • Remote Learning should to be considered in any learning environment.

  10. Interactivity • Interaction is an important concept • Research has shown that students' retention of knowledge increased from 20% to 75% when students interact with the teaching materials. • Difficult to use interfaces may affect the usefulness of the learning environment. • May lead to misinterpretations or results and distract from the learning experience.

  11. Interactivity • In the traditional learning procedure. • first step is a lecture supported by a laboratory session. • A possible alternative is that, after an introductory lecture, the next lecture could use a CBL environment. • Using CBL, the students have greater flexibility and can utilise different time frames for learning each lecture.

  12. Computer Based Learning • Using CBL, students can use Internet access to complete a series of remote experiments. • These may require trial and error cycles, linked into each lecture. • Students acquire a certain amount of knowledge about the subject during lectures. • Afterwards the CBL re-enforces the material. • Each student should give the lecturer feedback, regarding the benefits, and drawbacks of the CBL environment.

  13. Remote RFID Learning Environment System Overview • Takes from and builds upon a number of existing systems. • These were adapted to fit the requirements of an RFID learning environment. • Allows remote RFID experiment setup (RFID Readers and sensors) to be accessed by students. • The system and can be separated into two distinct domains. • Students accessing the system using a web browser. • The system setup at the research centre.

  14. Remote RFID Learning Environment System Overview

  15. Web Interface • Acts as a gateway between the remote client workstations and the laboratory server. • The Laboratory Server is directly connected to the RFID equipment • The student using the web interface can move the RFID tags relative to the reader.

  16. Laboratory Server • A stepper motor interfaced to the Laboratory Server is used to control the distance from the tag to the reader. • A prototype electro-mechanical platform was developed to control the movement of an RFID tag along the horizon axis. • This contained a stepper motor that interfaced to a PC using a custom built stepper motor control circuit. • This can be used to determine the optimal range of the tags for differing tag frequencies for the reader.

  17. Stepper Motor and Platform Horizontal movement Motor

  18. Conclusions • Lecturers need awareness • To have a general view of the class • Monitor the class progress, • Detect problems in order to intervene in time. • Students need awareness • To have a view about their position in comparison to other groups. • To find potential collaborators to exchange documents, ideas, to ask for help. • CBL systems play an important role in facilitating the teaching and learning processes.

  19. Conclusions • Aims to improve the proliferation of RFID into the educational sector. • The suggested environment provides • A way of giving students practical RFID experience at a low cost. • Removes the need for expertise in setting up equipment. • RFID funding may not be available in smaller schools and colleges. • The RFID CBL system may be enhanced by • Adding active RFID readers and sensor tags to the remote equipment. • Sensor tags may, for example, include temperature data and motion detection capabilities. • Alternative communication solutions could use other distributed computing paradigms such as COM, CORBA or RMI. • More advanced platform to control the movement of the tag and reader