Fresh Approach to Teaching Embedded Systems

Bradley, Martin (2008) Fresh Approach to Teaching Embedded Systems. [Conference Proceedings]


This poster outlines a new approach to teaching microcontrollers and mixed signal arrays in Universities and Institutes of Technology. It involves initially the use of PSoC Express, which allows students to develop small embedded systems employing various sensors without having to write any C code. The students then move on and write C code and develop systems using a low cost In-Circuit Emulator (ICE). The PSoC development system allows students to develop simple applications rapidly. This instils a confidence and an interest in the students and allows them to develop more complex systems in a shorter period of time. Technologies used can be found in modern day products such as the iPod nano, iPhone, Smart Shoe, Wii, Chocolate phone, Wireless Mouse & Keyboard, Game Boy and many more.Applied research conducted in LyIT with local and national companies in this area has created technology transfer in both directions. Modern Electronic technology and devices have been introduced by the companies and these have been incorporated into courses and the same companies have been introduced to other new technologies and techniques for their new product designs. In short, companies get access to the latest technologies, students gets realworld experience, and LyIT provides the foundation that ties it all together. Everyone wins.A Wireless controlled Skeleton using PSoC technology has been designed and acts as a teaching aid in this area. RoboSkeleton (Fred) can move around the floor, move his head randomly or in response to touch, speak, sing, sense humidity, temperature, light, motion and touch. Laboratory work is designed to allow the student to develop all the technologies used in Fred. RoboSkeleton is being used extensively by Forfas to promote Science & Technology to schoolchildren around Ireland.The applications for entrance to Science & Technology courses in Ireland have dropped significantly in recent years, causing concern to Multinationals and SMEs. Irish government agencies have recognised the problem and have started various initiatives to try to increase awareness and interest in these fields of study. This approach to what many believe is a very daunting discipline could encourage more students to take up courses in the Science & Technology area.

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