WVU Tech awarded Internet of Things grant

Beckley, W. Va. – West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) is developing a state-of-the-art radio frequency identification (RFID) sensor network using a $20,000 grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Division of Science and Research.

This project is part of developing “The Internet of Things.” Dr. Charan Litchfield, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dr. Mingyu Lu, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering are the co-authors of the grant. This project is the next step in technology integration commercially and domestically, Litchfield explains.

“Think back to the 1980’s film Back to the Future,” Litchfield said. “If we remember Dr. Brown, we may recall his household has technology doing all his daily chores. The difference in the contemporary Internet of Things is that devices could be controlled through a computer, cell phone, tablet, watch and so on.”

The Internet of Things refers to RFID tags and their interactivity with electronics to track equipment or people. For example, RFID tags could find products in a massive warehouse or control conveniences in our homes.

For WVU Tech, the foundation of this RFID sensor network will allow students to learn more about how The Internet of Things works both practically and technically. Initially, Dr. Litchfield and Dr. Lu will use personnel tracking RFID sensors, base stations and servers in conjunction with software to demonstrate the tracking capability of the technology for students. There are many applications, but especially in the energy sector. Smart power grids help run more efficiently and can continuously measure the flow and power in different parts of the grid. Smart cities can offer wi-fi access anywhere in the city using this technology as well.

“The hardware and software make a useful learning tool for our electrical engineering, computer science and computer engineering programs. This proposal acts as the first step in increasing STEM growth in Raleigh county and West Virginia,” Litchfield said.

Dr. Litchfield and Dr. Lu say they will use the equipment and technology to demonstrate their research and the capability of the technology to WVU Tech students.