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Laboratory Introduction To Embedded Control

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Portable/Embedded Computing II

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.839.1 - 9.839.14



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Paper Authors

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Linda Lim

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James Kokernak

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Dean Lewis

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Abhijeet Golwelkar

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Paul Schoch

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Labor ator y Intr oduction to Embedded Contr ol

Paul M. Schoch, Abhijeet Golwelkar , Linda Lim, Dean Lewis, J ames Koker nak*

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute/ * Advanced Ener gy Conver sion

Intr oduction:

LITEC, Laboratory Introduction to Embedded Control, is an introductory laboratory course taken by more than 500 engineering students per year, from all disciplines, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The course goals are: 1) engage the students, 2) provide a modern laboratory experience, 3) reinforce engineering and science topics, and 4) introduce microcontrollers. The fourth goal is based on the fact that embedded control is generic to all engineering fields and that most students will be well served to have some knowledge of microcontrollers. Experience has shown that microcontrollers are effective tools for accomplishing the first three goals.

The course was first offered in 1991 and has continuously evolved1. At present the course uses small autonomous electric cars as the engaging hands on project, is taught in the studio mode, makes extensive use of undergraduate students as teaching assistants, and uses the web in many ways including interactive tutorials. Few courses use so many innovative techniques with such large enrollments. This paper presents a discussion of how the course is laid out along with some comments about the staff organization and the financial support. The goal of this paper is to present a snapshot of a successful large engineering laboratory course as it continues to evolve. Those of us who work to deliver this course believe that it is the combination of the project, teaching techniques, and resources that results in LITEC being both highly rated by the students and a pleasure to teach.

The tar get system:

The target system refers to the project the students will work on during the semester. Presently it is the Smart Car, previously it was the Intelligent Faucet, and the future target system will be an Autonomous Blimp. A good target system is one that: 1) Engages the students. It is hands-on, visual, and makes the students respond and interact. 2) Is flexible. There are two reasons to require flexibility; one is to encourage student creativity; the other is to allow for changes in the project from semester to semester. A flexible system implies that there is more than one solution to a problem, allowing the

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Lim, L., & Kokernak, J., & Lewis, D., & Golwelkar, A., & Schoch, P. (2004, June), Laboratory Introduction To Embedded Control Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13530

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