Putting the Communications in Electronics and Communications Technology

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Age 11-14 years
First published 2012

This project offers a basic introduction to wireless communications technology, using infra-red as a starting point. Infra-red is relatively simple, components are cheap and it enables students to understand some of the basic principles of how wireless control works. Communications Technology is now a huge industry worldwide and a vast range and variety of electronic products are now developed with a view to enabling better, faster and wider communications between people across the world. The exponential development curve shown by the mobile phone in the last two decades is a good example, while wireless networks etc are enabling people and devices to communicate with each other without the need for cables.

The resource focuses on the electronic design and programming elements of this type of project. It is anticipated that the teacher will build in other elements of product design such as casing design, CAD/CAM, modelling etc as they feel appropriate. The resource is intended to be presented in a way that enables teachers to adapt and use activities as they see fit. This could be as part of a full design and make project, adapted for use as a series of focused practical tasks or indeed as standalone activities to introduce concepts, ideas and knowledge. The original project was developed for Year 8 students, but some elements may be suitable for Year 9s or even as a basic introduction to remote control at Key Stage 4.

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