Device programming activity

Why such an activity?

Across all branches of Engineering, the use of sensor networks and embedded computation has become ubiquitous. Whether you look at the building industry, transportation or biomedical engineering, networks of interconnected sensors able to process and communicate data are increasingly involved in the control and diagnostic of complex operations. This technological trend has now reached most corners of not only industrial processes, but also personal life, encompassed by the fairly generic expression of Internet of Things.

Wilgengebroed on Flickr

Source: Wilgengebroed on Flickr.

The modern Engineer must therefore embrace this ubiquity, and make sure that whatever their specialisation is, they master the basic aspects of sensing and communication. This series of practical activities is here to fill this gap and provide engineering students with the computational and experimental skills to approach with more confidence the development of simple embedded devices to perform common tasks. The tasks selected cover the basic operations of a common ARM based microcontroller. Once familiar with a microcontroller, you will soon appreciate that they are all similar, and that your new skills are amazingly transferable.

A few words about sponsors

This activity has been made possible by two sponsors.

  • ARM and STMicroelectronics have donated the Nucleo microcontrollers, one per undergraduate student. We are very grateful to them.
  • The University of Cambridge provided financial support through a Teaching And Learning Innovation Fund to run a number of student projects and promote the use of Open Source tools in undergraduate education. This grant currently covers the cost of the 3rd year (IIA) project GM2, Technology for the poorest billion, as well as part of the running costs of this second year activity.