Given the rapid rise and fall of electronic communication formats, it is important to have a well-rounded view of electronic technology. With one-day mini projects, you can explore numerous technologies in a relatively short time. Split the class into teams to explore one avenue of technology each and present a group demonstration. This is a way to cover several technologies in a single session. Part of the joy of electrical engineering is in adapting seemingly obsolete technology to perform new applications.
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FM Radio Projects
The application of FM radio technology as widely varied short-range FM can be used in projects that transmit music and even electronic data. According to Electronics Project Designs project website, it is even possible to use the technology of FM radio to have students make their own walkie-talkies and portable home phone units. FM radio projects are ideally suited to students who enjoy the reallocation of older technology for modern applications as opposed to those more interested in what is cutting edge.
Optical Communication Projects
Often we can look back into history for inspiration on how to approach the technical problems of today. One such project is to build an optical semaphore data transmission unit. Also known as an optical telegraph, these devices formed the basis upon which all modern documented equipment has evolved. According to the University of Calgary's historical report on optical telegraphs technology dates back to the 1600s, adapting it to modern uses such as computer data transmission or analogue audio signals can be a nostalgic project. Lasers never cease to fascinate and captivate pupils, so why not have students set up a laser transmitter? Laser transmitters work in a fashion similar to that of optical semaphore transmission while being significantly more reliable and having a longer range.
Wireless Data Projects
Wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth or the less popular Zigbee Standard, can be used to transmit data to and even control small devices at a short range. Applications of these technologies are nearly limitless, so directing students with specific objectives can help narrow it down for them. The design project website suggests giving students objectives such as the wireless synchronisation of MP3 players or cameras; or for more mechanically minded students, perhaps even the control of a small robot.
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