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An undergraduate design project is described in which a free-space optical communications link is constructed. The interest and motivation for the students is achieved by using a visible laser and constructing a complete system by using the digital output of a CD/DVD player and an audio receiver to transmit music over the free-space link. In addition to providing a high-level technical experience, the project also teaches multidisciplinary teamwork and emulates a real working environment; it is relatively low cost, divisible into modules, and adaptable. An overview of the project is included with representative designs and information.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2007