Asee peer logo

Embedded Measurement and Control Applications Utilizing Python on the Pocket BeagleBone

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Instrumentation Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Stephen A. Strom Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

Stephen Strom is a lecturer in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology department of Penn State Behrend, and holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. His career includes over thirty years experience in designing and programming embedded systems and has multiple patents for both hardware designs and software algorithms

visit author page


Marius Strom Saint Francis University

visit author page

Br. Marius is a Franciscan friar of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of Assisi, and has worked as an engineering laboratory instructor at Saint Francis University since 2017 after earning an MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Open source Linux platforms can be used in a variety of academic courses. By choosing Linux, the instructor can utilize inexpensive hardware to demonstrate programming concepts, hardware interface, algorithms and data analysis. Many low cost embedded Linux boards (such as BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi) contain a variety of busses (SPI, I2C, CAN), general purpose I/O pins, serial ports, PWM outputs, and analog inputs, making them an appropriate choice for a course that has a data acquisition focus. Potential courses include measurements and instrumentation, wireless communications and control systems.

This work demonstrates usage of the Pocketbeagle, an inexpensive, Linux-based microprocessing platform, in the context of a data acquisition and analysis course found in a General Engineering program. This course contains elements of Python-based software development but emphasizes software design and development with respect to an I/O interface for data applications. In addition to this course, it will be demonstrated that the Pocketbeagle is capable of filling various needs in other lower- and upper-division courses.

Labs covered with the Pocketbeagle include digital and analog I/O operations, PWM and UART interface lab projects, all using Python programming. Several of these labs will be discussed in this paper, along with schematics, configurations, and results as well as an assessment of how well the students were able to achieve the course goals.

Strom, S. A., & Strom, M. (2020, June), Embedded Measurement and Control Applications Utilizing Python on the Pocket BeagleBone Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34517

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015