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Review Of Current Embedded System Hardware, Os, Development Systems And Application Domains For Instructional Design

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Computer Engineering Technology Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1245.1 - 12.1245.16



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Paper Authors


C. Richard Helps Brigham Young University

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Richard Helps is the Program Chair of the Information Technology program at BYU and has been a faculty member in the School of Technology since 1986. His primary scholarly interests are in embedded and real-time computing and in technology education. He also has interests in human-computer interfacing. He has been involved in ABET accreditation for about 8 years and is a Commissioner of CAC-ABET and a CAC accreditation team chair. He is a SIGITE executive committee member and an ASEE Section Chair. He spent ten years in industry designing industrial automation systems and in telecommunications. Professional memberships include IEEE, IEEE-CS, ACM, SIGITE, ASEE.

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Janell Armstrong Brigham Young University

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Janell Armstrong is a Graduate Student in Information Technology at Brigham Young University. Her interests are in ZigBee wreless networking and public key infrastructure. She has three years experience as a Teacher's Assistant. Student memberships include IEEE, IEEE-CS, ACM, SWE, ASEE.

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

Review of Current Embedded System Hardware, OS, Development Systems and Application Domains for Instructional Design Abstract

Embedded computer systems are changing more than other computing environments since the scope of their application domain is expanding. Once embedded system development was largely focused on 8-bit, standalone systems written directly in assembly or C. These systems were characterized by slow CPUs and kilobytes of memory. Now they are embracing ever-widening application domains to include not only 8-bit standalone systems but real-time, networked, OS- based, wireless systems with megabytes of memory and 32-bit CPUs, with connections to the world through sensors, actuators and communication links.

In this burgeoning environment it is difficult for instructional designers to select a range of systems suitable for a college-level embedded systems course.

This paper reviews and classifies the application domains, hardware systems, operating systems and development systems for the field of embedded systems. This enables instructional designers to place specific systems in context and to intelligently select the appropriate sub-domain for their own purposes. Guidelines are proposed for courses in embedded systems for achieving different objectives.

1. Introduction

Mark Weiser is regarded as the father of ubiquitous computing. His seminal articles describe a world where computers fade into the background and provide invaluable but invisible support for all the user wishes to do1, 2, 3. Using current technology this vision is pursued through embedded computer systems.

Embedded Systems (ES) are computer systems where the computer is subsumed in a larger system to perform functions in support of a larger goal. Usually an embedded system does not have a conventional Keyboard, Video (display screen) and Mouse (KVM). Systems are usually dedicated to performing a single task rather than running general purpose software packages. Some examples of embedded system applications include cell phones, car ignition and cruise control systems, media center remote controls, robots, digital cameras, cash registers, appliance controls, network routers, air-conditioning control systems and network switches. From this eclectic and abbreviated application list it is apparent that there is a very wide range of applications of embedded systems. The range includes hardware systems ranging from CPUs that operate at kilohertz to gigahertz, memory systems from hundreds of bytes to gigabytes. Despite this very wide range of application domains there are a number of common themes that run through these systems. The purpose of this study is to present classification categories for the different systems available. In so doing we recognize the scope of the task and suggest that this is merely one way to classify myriad systems and topics. The intent of this particular classification is to enable instructors to develop educational experiences for college students encompassing

Helps, C. R., & Armstrong, J. (2007, June), Review Of Current Embedded System Hardware, Os, Development Systems And Application Domains For Instructional Design Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2310

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: © 2007 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