Steve Yessa

Senior Project

Microcontroller-Based Remote Locator Using Asynchronous Serial Communication


Mr. José Sánchez

Dr. Brian Huggins

Bradley University's Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringWeb page:

The idea behind this project was to develop a device that would assista user in locating lost items such as car keys, TV remotes, stereo remotes,etc.  This is done by attaching small remote devices to certain itemsand then storing the names of the items in the main base unit.  Whenthe user loses one of these items, he or she can scroll through the itemlist in the base unit and select the desired item.  After selectingthe item, the base unit sends a signal to the remote unit that correspondsto that item.  When the remote unit receives the signal from the baseunit, it will produce an audible tone that the user can follow and useto locate the item.

There are other similar devices on the market today.  KeyRingerTM uses two small devices that alert each other. The user attaches one device to their keys, for example, and then the seconddevice to their remote control.  If the user loses the remote thenhe or she presses the button on the key chain locator and the remote controllocator will alert.  If he or she loses their keys, then they haveto press the button on the remote control unit to alert the key chain unit. This device costs $29.95 for the pair.

Sharper Imagedeveloped a similar device to the one that I have built.  This deviceconsists of 4 remote units and a base unit.  The base unit has fouralert buttons and four slots that the user can slide in pieces of paperin order to lable each locator button.  When the user would like tolocate item two he or she just has to press button two on the base unit.

The difference between my device and these products is that my baseunit consists of an LCD display, keypad, and is expandable to up to 16items.  The base unit has a main menu that allows the user to choosebetween three different modes; Alert Mode, Save Mode, and Load Mode. The alert mode is for alerting a lost item.  Save mode is used whenthe user would like to save the name of the items that he or she wishesto add into the system.  For example, if the user would like to attachremote unit one to the TV remote, he or she can then use the save modeto save the name TV remote to item one of the item list.  Load modeis used when the user would like to add or replace a remote unit into thesystem.  The product would initially come with four remote devicesand the buyer could then also purchase additional remotes in order to expandthe system up to up to 16 remote devices.  If a remote unit shouldbreak, load mode could be used to remove the broken remote unit from thesystem and then add the new unit.  I do not have an approximate costfor this product yet because it is not complete.  I am hoping to beable to market it at around $50 or $60 as long as I can find the propercomponents for low cost.        

This site is for educational purposes only and doesnot support or promote any of the products listed above.