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Design Projects for Programmable Embedded System-On-Chip Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Innovative Instructional Strategies and Curricula in ECE II

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.437.1 - 22.437.13



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Paper Authors


Prawat Nagvajara Drexel University, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Prawat Nagvajara received his Ph.D. degree from Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, in 1989, M.S. and B.S. degrees from Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, in 1979 and 1980, respectively. He joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel University in 1990 where he is currently an associate professor. His research focus is on application specific computing using custom hardware and commodity high-performance accelerators and embedded systems education.

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Robin Kizirian Drexel University, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Robin Kizirian completed his M.S. degree in Computer Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia and his B.S. degree in Computer Engineering with a minor in Computer Science at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. He is currently serving as a research assistant at the Engineering Technology department at Drexel University. Robin has been involved in various projects funded by Pfizer, NASA, NSF, and Department of Education. His areas of research include Embedded Systems, Mechatronics, Efficient Solar Energy Systems, Internet-based Quality Control and 3-D Online Education.

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Design Projects for Programmable Embedded System-On-Chip CourseMicrocontrollers have been an essential component in today’s embedded systems through theirintegration into modern programmable electronic devices and design automation software tools.A new trend has been to integrate microcontrollers together with programmable digital andanalog peripherals on a single chip. This technology is known as programmable embeddedsystem-on-chip. At the author’s institution, programmable system-on-chip devices such as theCypress PSoC boards have been adopted in embedded system design courses.This paper presents design projects for embedded system learning purposes. Programmablesystem-on-chip, with its design software, offers a more hands-on approach. It aids students inunderstanding the concepts behind each of the building blocks, providing them with thesufficient tools and experience to develop real-world applications. Three projects: Pulse WidthModulation (PWM) fan control, gravity measurement, and a wireless traffic light control system,have been developed and described in this paper. Each of the projects involves real-timesoftware concepts, e.g. interrupts, interfacing with external sensors and actuators, and digital andanalog hardware theories. The PWM fan control project introduces the concept of proportionalintegral controllers, which are implemented through software. The gravity measurement projectinvolves interfacing with infrared sensors and timers. The wireless traffic light system presentsthe concepts of network protocols and topologies such as the star network topology wherepackets are transmitted back and forth between the nodes and the centralized hub. The nodes andthe hub are implemented using system-on-chip boards. The sensor nodes interface with analogproximity sensors and provide traffic information to the traffic light controller nodes. Theseprojects have been taught as part of an embedded systems course. The project materials will bedisseminated on the author’s institution website for future use by other institutions.

Nagvajara, P., & Kizirian, R. (2011, June), Design Projects for Programmable Embedded System-On-Chip Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17718

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