this article is presented by:
Computer Engineering Laboratory
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of Oulu
Embedded System Project (521423S)
The goal of this course is to help students understand the world of embedded computer systems. Usually participants are information and electrical engineering students who are specialized in software and system design. Most attention has been given to elementary hardware design skills because these skills are the ones students often lack. This course is structured as a guided walk through the hardware design process. This document defines the project topic for spring 2003, gives general guidelines and course procedures. Additionally major electronics components is proposed and practical hints are given. The students are encouraged to give feedback for improving both the course and its material. The Embedded System Project is related to, but independent of Software Engineering Project (Ohjelmistotekniikan työ, 521451S) that concentrates on software-hardware interface.
The purpose of the Embedded System Project (Sulautettujen järjestelmien työt) course is to provide you knowledge and hands-on experience in the embedded computer system technology. The course is intended to students specializing in software and system design, giving most attention to hardware design, as understanding in this area is vital for most embedded software designers. In short, this course is a chance for the very novices in electronics design to create a simple embedded computer based device and to learn the maximum from the experience. You will learn both about design and tools. You will learn to study the components to fit the various pieces together into a complete system and you will understand the role of a microcontroller, seeing it as basic building block. In particular, you will concentrate on hardware-software interaction, although very little software will be written in this project. You will learn to design the schematics and layout using Printed Circuit Board (PCB) tools (e.g. OrCad), although their more advanced functions are not covered in this course. In the end, you will learn to use an emulator and other microcontroller development tools while testing the assembled circuit board you will make. Admittedly, there is a lot to be learned. The course is realized as a project-like assignment that requires approximately 120- 160 hours from a team of two students during a single term. There are several topics to choose from. The topics are divided to three categories: basic topic, optional topics and own topic. The basic topic is meant for people that are new to the embedded systems. The basic topic contains only familiar technologies and the teachers are familiar with the topic, enabling more efficient tutoring. Also some suitable components for the assignment have been pre-examined, letting the students to avoid the full exposure to “navigation” problems, such as selecting, finding, and ordering components. The specification for this topic is already defined and the basic structure of the work is fixed, but there are still some degrees of freedom in the design. The optional topics are meant for students with some interest in embedded systems. These topics use modern technology and the design is predefined only at high level. The students create the actual specification by themselves. This specification is then checked and approved by the teachers. For these topics there are only a few pre-examined key component proposals, but the students will choose most of the components themselves. These topics give the students a great freedom of creativity. The teachers will help with adjusting the specification to be not too difficult but still challenging enough. The teachers will also help with the component selections and with the design, but the students have the main responsibility of the design. As some of the components may be new, they may prove to be non-functional in some designs. This is not a catastrophy and these possibilities are taken into account in grading. However, careful planning and hard trying is still required. The students may also propose their own topic. These proposals are handled similarly to the optional topic specifications. We believe a reasonably painless completion of this course requires the following course background: Digital Design I (Digitaalitekniikka I, 521413A), Computer Engineering I (Tietokonetekniikka I, 521415A), and Computer Engineering II (Tietokonetekniikka II 521419A). In addition, Software Engineering Project (Ohjelmistotekniikan työ, 521451S) and Electronic Design course (Elektroniikkasuunnittelun perusteet, 521431A) are useful. We hope you will assist us in the development of this course by giving your criticism and hints. The basic topic for spring 2003 is Robot Control Module. You may also choose one of our optional topics or propose a topic of your own.
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