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Upgrading Digital Signal Processing Development Boards in an Introductory Undergraduate Signals and Systems Course

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Division Experimentation & Lab-oriented Studies: Electrical and Computer Engineering Labs

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1635.1 - 26.1635.12



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Paper Authors


Kip D. Coonley Duke University

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Kip D. Coonley received the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, in 1999 and the B.S. degree in Physics from Bates College, Lewiston, ME, in 1997. Following graduation from Dartmouth, he developed electronically controlled dimmers for fluorescent and incandescent lamps at Lutron Electronics, Coopersburg, PA. From 2001 to 2005, he was a Research Engineer at RTI International, where he designed high-efficiency thermoelectrics using epitaxially grown superlattice thin-film structures. Since 2005, he has been the Undergraduate Laboratory Manager in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University, Durham, NC. His interests include undergraduate engineering education, RFID, power electronics, plasma physics, and thin films.

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Justin Miles Duke University

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Justin Miles received the M.S. (2013) and B.S. (2008) degrees in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University. He has been a Research and Development engineer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 2008. Justin’s primary responsibility is managing laboratory equipment and components for the undergraduate labs. Justin also provides support in the development of new lab exercises and integration of new equipment and components in all of the undergraduate laboratories.

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Upgrading Digital Signal Processing Development Boards in an Introductory Undergraduate Signals and Systems CourseThis paper presents the results of a controlled one semester study where students responded to ahardware upgrade from the Texas Instruments TMS320C6713 DSK development board to theBeagleboard-xM platform in the laboratory associated with first Electrical and ComputerEngineering course in signal processing at the undergraduate level. The sophomore-level coursein signal processing is required of all engineering majors and provides a foundation in themathematical modeling and analysis of signals and of linear time-invariant systems. Thelaboratory component of the course utilizes applications of signal processing to motivate thebreadth of the field which includes filters, AM modulation, and Nyquist sampling theory. In thisstudy, both the TMS320C6713 DSK development board with its 225MHz processor and thenewer Beagleboard-xM with its 1 GHz processer provide students with a real-time,programmable signal-processing hardware platform that enhances the learning experience. TheDSK board requires the use of an intermediary software tool, CodeComposer Studio, to compileand program whereas the Beagleboard interfaces directly with MATLAB. Analysis of theusefulness of the hardware upgrade was carried out by assessing student’s acceptance of theDSK versus Beagleboard-xM in terms of its usefulness and usability over four key laboratoryexperiments: Digital Audio Effects, Touch-Tone Phone, Voice Scrambler-Descrambler, andSampling and Aliasing. The extent to which the two hardware platforms were able tosuccessfully achieve learning outcomes in the course is also presented.Figure 1: TMS320C6713 DSK board Figure 2: Beagleboard-xM ( (

Coonley, K. D., & Miles, J. (2015, June), Upgrading Digital Signal Processing Development Boards in an Introductory Undergraduate Signals and Systems Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24971

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