CSC News

January 30, 2007

Sun Microsystems Donation to Support Wireless Sensor Instruction & Research

Sun Microsystems, Inc. has donated 10 Sun SPOT wireless sensor kits to Dr. Robert Fornaro, professor of computer science and Director of the Senior Design Center. The technology gift, valued at $5,500, will be used to support wireless sensor related student projects, classroom instruction and research initiatives.
Sun SPOT (Small Programmable Object Technology) is experimental technology developed by Sun Labs. Using Java-based technologies, a Sun SPOT device has almost an unlimited potential for countless applications.
The Sun SPOT kits are not commercially available at this time in the United States and have a very limited distribution. NC State is one of a very small number of universities experimenting with them.
Immediate plans are to incorporate the technology in CSC 453, a senior level Ad Hoc Wireless Sensor Systems course aimed at introducing concepts and applications of ad hoc wireless sensor systems. Fornaro plans to revise labs for this course to include more exercises aimed at learning about Sun SPOTs and creating demonstrations and applications that show their versatility. 
In addition, Fornaro has commissioned two teams of senior design students to pursue a broader range of applications of Sun SPOTs. He also plans to conduct research experiments using the Sun SPOTs in a benchmark against other sensor systems to compare relative computational performance of security related algorithms.
According to Fornaro, the donation has generated great interest and enthusiasm from our students. “On the first day of our CSC 453 course this semester, I announced the receipt of the Sun SPOT gift and our plans to build laboratory exercises around it to the class,” Fornaro said. “One week later, the class had doubled in size!”
For more information on Sun SPOTs, visit

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