Amrita Develops India’s First Remote-Triggered Virtual Lab in Computer Science
August 6, 2012
When Amrita University deployed India’s first wireless sensor network to detect rainfall-induced landslides in Munnar, Kerala, the project garnered global attention.
“It was perhaps the first time in the world that an actual deployment was done. Earlier, professors and scholars in many universities abroad had conducted some research and written papers, but no one had actually deployed or implemented the ideas that were developed in the labs. Our project took the idea into the field and successfully implemented it,” stated Dr. Maneesha V. Ramesh, Director, Center for Wireless Networks and Applications at Amrita.
Now students all over India can learn more about wireless sensor networks, and even test virtual deployments, thanks to a new initiative to develop virtual labs based on these concepts.
“This will be an experimental wireless sensor network deployed partly indoors and partly outdoors,” stated Br. Rayudu, Research Associate, who is leading the development of the virtual lab.
“The lab will provide students practical experience in designing, deploying and implementing wireless sensor networks in both indoor and outdoor conditions. Remote users will have a permanent test-bed for development and testing of concepts,” he added.
“The lab will allow remote users to write their own programs, load and test their programs for learning the impact and tradeoff between different designs,” he explained.
The project that is being funded by the Ministry of Human Resources Development began in February 2012 and is expected to be completed within one year. Three experiments of the lab have already been uploaded on the virtual lab website – Introduction to Wireless Sensor Networks, nesC Programming, Send and Receive.
The experiments are being developed keeping in mind the needs of undergraduate and post graduate students as well as research scholars.
“The different concepts we plan to work on are power consumption, transmission range, energy optimization and data collection,” emphasized Dr. Maneesha.
“In order to get the feel of a real lab, students will test actual sensors and wireless sensor networks on a remote triggered basis. We believe that this will be the country’s first remote-triggered virtual lab in computer science. The interfaces for recording data and performing calculations on the collected data will be provided, providing a very real feel for the labs,” she added.
“The virtual lab will include an intuitive web-based interface where registered users can upload executables, associate those executables with motes to create a job, and schedule the job to be run on this lab. Time slots will be provided for each experiment,” she further explained.
“The student will easily be able to perform real experiments in a real lab through the remote trigger. The virtual lab will include animations, how-to videos, spreadsheets and calculations and other tools necessary for data collection, data plotting, etc.,” Dr. Maneesha concluded.