Online Digital Forensics Courses and Labs
Building a Low-cost and State-of-the-art IoT Security Hands-on Laboratory

Funded by National Science Foundation (NSF)
Funded by Cyber Florida


Instructor: Dr. Yier Jin, 352-294-0401,


  • Basic microcontroller programming.
  • Basic circuits understanding.

Goals of this demo:

The LEGO ICS Demo models an Industrical Control System (ICS) and serves as a demo of how the Internet-of-Things (IoT) can be used in an industrial setting. The MQTT protocol, which is popular in the Industrial-Internet-of-Things (IIoT), is used to communicate between the devices in the demo. Currently, PLC control is being added to the demo as well, which will serve as a platform for graduate students in the SSL Lab to perform research regarding PLC security.


  • Overview of sections of the system
  • MQTT connections
  • Node-Red Flows

Hardware Used:

Software Used:

System Overview


The LEGO ICS Demo models an Industrial Control Sytem. LEGOs were used to construct a basic city. The city has a train, downtown area, UF football stadium, factory, and theme park with a ferris wheel and carousel.

All of these areas have industrial components which need to be controlled. For example, the train, ferris wheel, and carousel have motors which requires speed control, the downtown area and UF football stadium have street lights which need to be turned on and off, and so on.

In this demo each area can be controlled remotely through a dashboard.


Each of the areas has a NodeMCU microcontroller which is handling the controls. The NodeMCU communicates over the network with a main control panel located on the Raspberry Pi.

The MQTT protocol is used to transfer information over the network. MQTT is a light-weight protocol that is great for IoT applications. It uses a publish/subscribe format. A broker relays information on topics. A device can publish information on a topic and any device that is subcribed to that same topic will receive the information.

Figure 1: Basic network connections for the LEGO train

Future Goals:

Currently, a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is being incorporated into the LEGO ICS Demo. The PLC will work in conjuction with the MQTT controls to control portions of the LEGO Demo. With PLC control integrated into the demo, the demo will serve as a platform for graduate students to perform research on PLC security.


See the following article for more information: