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Integration of C Programming and IoT in a Raspberry Pi-controlled Robot Car in a Freshmen/Sophomore Engineering Core Class

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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

Embedded Systems and Cybersecurity in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Shaghayegh Abbasi University of San Diego

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Shaghayegh Abbasi received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from University of Washington in 2011. In her thesis, titled ‘Integrating top-down and bottom-up nanomanufacturing: Controlling the growth and composition of seeded nanostructures’, an innovative nanomanufacturing method is explored and optimized. Upon graduation, she started her career as Senior System Design Engineer at Lumedyne Technologies. She worked on design, simulation, and testing of a Time Domain Switched (TDS) accelerometer.

Dr. Abbasi joined University of San Diego as an adjunct faculty for Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering in 2014. She is also doing collaborative research with Bioengineering Department at University of California, San Diego on rTMS systems.

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Ernest M. Kim University of San Diego

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Ernie Kim received his BSEE from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and MSEE and PhD in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University. He has been an electronics engineer at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) at the Boulder CO labs where he performed research on precision optical fiber metrology, staff engineer with the Advanced Systems Group of Burroughs Corporation, Manager of Electro-Optics at Ipitek Corporation where he developed early fiber optic CATV systems. Dr. Kim has worked at a number of start-up companies in fiber optic transmission including All Optical Networks, and Lightwave Solutions in San Diego. He joined the University of San Diego Department of Electrical Engineering in 1990. Dr. Kim is a licensed Professional Engineer (EE), and regularly teaches FE and PE exam review courses.

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Computer programming is an essential part of any engineering education. However, it is a challenge to introduce programming to students in a way that makes it immediately relatable to every day devices and applications. We have designed a new project for the freshman/sophomore level ENGR 102 (Electromechanical System Design) that gives students the opportunity to see the connection between the computer programs they write and the corresponding hardware. The project consists of a Robot Car controlled through Raspberry Pi. It utilizes C programming (in Linux/Raspbian) and it also includes a strong Internet of Things (IoT) component.

IoT has become one of the most dominant technologies of the 21st century. IoT is a system of devices, including sensors and actuators that are connected through internet. These devices have the ability to transfer data through the internet network. Applications of IoT are numerous, from smart homes and cities to medical applications such as remote health monitoring. It is important for students in the field of engineering to become familiar with the concept and applications of IoT early on in their education.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of this project on student perceptions of and ability in programming, as well as their understanding of IoT and its applications. Assessment is made before starting the project and after completion of the project. Student surveys and short questionnaires are used to assess student knowledge and understanding. Assessment will also be made to determine if the course material relating real-world applications (such as IoT and Raspberry Pi) improves student learning.

Abbasi, S., & Kim, E. M. (2020, June), Integration of C Programming and IoT in a Raspberry Pi-controlled Robot Car in a Freshmen/Sophomore Engineering Core Class Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34850

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