KD7019 - Advanced Embedded System Design Technology

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will cover the broad topic of Microprocessors and Microcontrollers and how they are used in Embedded Systems. This will involve investigating processor architectures, operating modes and interfacing to peripherals. Examples of structures from current industrial vendors such as ATMEL, ARM, and Microchip will be explored and examined. You will consider the hardware design and development of embedded microcontroller systems, including implementations for controlling both internal and external interfaces and peripherals. Careful examination of Real-Time control issues, interrupts and microcontroller interactions will be analysed. This will allow you to be able to design the necessary hardware for microcontroller-based systems to meet a client’s specification.

To support the implementation of hardware designs software development of Embedded Microcontroller Systems will be employed looking at both low level assembly language/machine code programming through to C programming. The techniques employed will cover code generation procedures, structured programming techniques, reusable library functions and top down/bottom up programming methods.
All these techniques will be applied case studies based upon industrial research activities. Typical applications include:

These will cover areas such as temperature monitoring, algorithmic techniques; message passing systems and communication protocols.

Microcontroller technology has a broad range of applications within industry and research environments. Employing the use of a sophisticated ARM module exposes students to the diverse implementations, of such modules, and provides the key technical skills required by industry essential to modern digital and communication systems.

How will I learn on this module?

The module consists of a series of lectures and practical workshops. The lectures will provide you with the theoretical knowledge base portion of the module syllabus, however in the weekly workshops you will get the opportunity to develop practical skills and explore the programming and hardware aspects of the ARM platform. The workshops (laboratories) provide a focus for developing programs using Computer Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and CAD tools as well as experience in developing C/C++ programs for embedded microcontroller applications. These form the basis of your understanding, use of design methods and application to complex scenarios. This will prove invaluable to module summative assessments of assignment and laboratory examination. The IDE and programming software is available to all students when in the university allowing tutorials (video or written), practice and assignments to be performed on demand.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The standard academic support for the module will be via the module tutor and research staff during the lectures and workshops. However extensive use of the university eLP platform will be employed to disseminate information and provide additional links to library, professional , web and company resources to help support the lecture and practical applications. Academic staff will provide formative feedback during the workshops to support your development within the topic. During this your studies you will be expected to contribute to your own personal development. This may be by direct staff interaction and independent learning using the electronic material provided via the eLP and use of the software / hardware development tools available in the laboratory, outside of formal scheduled times.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

1. Critically analyse design specification requirements, for an embedded microcontroller application and choose appropriate microcontrollers and appropriate development tools in order to implement a specification.
(AHEP4 M2, M3,)

2. Develop suitable hardware for interfacing to microcontroller based systems and the co-requisite application software to satisfy system specifications
(AHEP4 M12)

3. Ability to select computer aided software and use appropriate development tools to design embedded software, interfacing hardware and select appropriate development tools to achieve a particular specification.
(AHEP4 M6,)

4. Demonstrate a knowledge and awareness of the need to develop microelectronic systems, not only to satisfying engineering specifications, but also the commercial and legal requirements of potential products.
(AHEP4 M15, M17)

How will I be assessed?

There are two forms of summative assessment:
1. Coursework (CW): Assignment (60%) (2000 - 2500 words) in which students must develop the required hardware and software to meet an embedded system design specification. Producing a report with explanations, program listings, testing etc. This addresses module learning outcomes: 1, 2, 3 and 4. Feedback will be provided either in written form or electronically via the eLP.

2. Lab Demonstration (LABDEMO): A lab demonstration (40%). The student will provide a 10-minute lab demonstration of their solution. The aim is to assess students on their skills of embedded system development and to convey technical information for their embedded system solution (Assessed LOs: 1,2, 3 and 4).





Module abstract

The module Advanced embedded System Design Technology is designed to teach you how to design and develop stand-alone ‘embedded’ microcontroller systems that can be used to perform numerous applications. Applications can range from ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT) systems through to complex applications using Digital Signal Processing (DSP) ideas.
These DSP ideas will be covered in the lectures as well as the way the microcontroller (in this case a 32 bit ARM processor) can be used to solve real world problems.

The module is based around a system called eMBEDed (MBED.org) that is cloud based using Open Source hardware and software methodology (similar to the Arduino but much more powerful).

The software is C++ based but designed so that you can develop complex systems very quickly.

This module will help you to develop new ideas that can be used in industry (great demand) and for developing research related ideas.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time
2 other options available

Department Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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