Design and Analysis of an IoT Usage Tracking and Equipment Management System Within a University Makerspace
dissertation provides an account of the design and analysis of an IoT usage tracking and
equipment management(UTEM) system. A motivation to both increase safety and user
awareness in the emerging learning environments of academic makerspaces drove the
development of this technology. It was designed with three stakeholders of academic
makerspaces in mind; the students who use th... read moree resource for fabricating course projects,
staff responsibility for its operation, and the faculty who consider these makerspaces
in their pedagogy. The system combines a centralized database, a web interface, and RFID
controlled equipment terminals to provide administrative control of connected
fabrication equipment and collect data on the usage of those resources. The system was
installed on six equipment stations in a university makerspace in fall 2016 as a pilot
study implemented to assess it's performance. The UTEM system was assessed on system
performance, usability, and influences on the host learning environment. Interactions
with the system were examined through observation and interviews with design
stakeholders: students, staff, and faculty who work with the makerspace. It captured
over 1,022 hours of use on the attached stations, provided a useful interface for
interacting with the database, and provided a barrier to use of equipment unless
properly trained and approved. All through the use of open-source software and less than
$85 per safety interlock terminal. The pilot study found that the UTEM system improved
stakeholders relationships with the makerspace through its ability to provide safety
interlocks to equipment, create a central repository of organizational information, and
track usage of attached resources within the makerspace. Faculty saw value in the
information it provided but did not make use of it. Staff used the technology to
maintain user and station information as well as permissions and referenced usage data
in their organizational discussions. Staff also featured the safety features in
administrative reporting and opened up extended non-supervised hours for equipment
connected to the system. Students enjoy greater access to the makerspace and those
resources due to the safety interlocks. The UTEM system achieved its design criteria and
met its goals to provide stakeholders with an increase of safety a makerspace as well as
collect data on equipment use and through those attributes, improve stakeholder
experiences within the makerspace.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Advisor: Chris Rogers.
Committee: Kristen Wendell, Brian Gravel, and Lene Tanggaard.
Keywords: Mechanical engineering, and Educational technology.read less