IoT rapid prototyping laboratory setup

Kimmo Karvinen, Tero Karvinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Even novice engineers and non-technical students can design and build an Internet of Things (IoT) prototype in four days. We present a setup for rapid IoT prototyping in a classroom, identify necessary skills and combine these to a workshop that allows students to turn their ideas into prototypes. Our approach enables fast prototyping cycle, using a common and well established development board and a computer. Arduino Uno is used for device prototyping and a Python program running on the same computer handles the needed Internet communications. A web server handles device and web client connectivity, logging and data monitoring. The method makes it possible to learn the needed basic skills in manageable steps, allowing students to focus on the actual prototype instead of struggling with the wireless and Internet communication problems. After the prototyping phase, the device can be ported to inexpensive and small ESP8266 based microcontroller. Compared to developing IoT prototypes directly with ESP8266, the setup presented is considerably faster. The whole process is based on free software tools which provides a possibility to utilize prototypes commercially, without a risk of a third party changing or discontinuing services. We arranged an experimental four-day workshop for university students (n = 19) from diverse backgrounds and varying levels of technical skills. All teams successfully built a working prototype based on their own ideas. Student self-assessment of programming skills was noticeably improved during the course. We later repeated the experiment with another group (n = 27) in a university of applied sciences, getting similar results. Our results indicate that this method is effective for learning IoT prototyping skills in a short time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-272
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Embedded systems
  • ESP8266
  • Free software
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Novice engineering education
  • Rapid prototyping

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'IoT rapid prototyping laboratory setup'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this