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Using Robots To Teach Complex Real Time Embedded System Concepts

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Embedded Computing

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1425.1 - 10.1425.12



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Paper Authors

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Pamela Beavis

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Mahbub Sardar

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Lewis Sircin

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George Janack

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Daniel Pack

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Austin Griffith

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Steven Barrett

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

2005-193 Using Robots to Teach Complex Real Time Embedded System Concepts

Steven F. Barrett1, Daniel J. Pack2, Pamela Beavis1, Mahbub Sardar1, Austin Griffith1, Michael Stephens1, Julie Sandberg1, Lewis Sircin1, George Janack1 1 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Wyoming 2 Department of Electrical Engineering United States Air Force Academy, Colorado


Real Time Embedded Systems, also known as Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS), are operating environments where multiple events compete for precious processor operating time. To ensure that all events complete their tasks, the processor must prioritize tasks depending on system requirements. Such real time operating system concepts and other related advanced embedded system topics are difficult to learn for many students mainly due to their technical complexities. One of the primary reasons contributing to the difficulty of the subject is that it’s hard for students to visualize the intricacies and inter-relationships between different processes of an operating system. In this paper, we present a low-cost, motivational (fun) robotics platform that can significantly enhance the laboratory instruction of advanced real time embedded systems concepts. The robot was co-developed by a team consisting of faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate students, and laboratory technicians for a senior/graduate level electrical and computer engineering course. In this course each two- student laboratory team is issued a mobile robot for use throughout the course. The students must program basic tasks such as robot movement and maze wall-detection. The complexity of required programming tasks escalates as the semester progresses. Students are required to program the operating system for the robot that must simultaneously handle wall-detection, simulated land mine detection, and information exchange with other robots. These complex scenarios force the students to learn and employ complex real time embedded systems concepts in a motivational atmosphere. This paper will discuss robot hardware and software and their use in a real time embedded systems course. Furthermore, we will also discuss extension of the use of robots to teach other advanced embedded system concepts such as multiple interrupts, fundamentals of fuzzy logic, and structured design techniques.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Beavis, P., & Sardar, M., & Sircin, L., & Janack, G., & Pack, D., & Griffith, A., & Barrett, S. (2005, June), Using Robots To Teach Complex Real Time Embedded System Concepts Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14719

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