Undergraduate Teaching 2017-18

Engineering Tripos Part IIB, 4B25: Embedded Systems for the Internet of Things, 2017-18

Engineering Tripos Part IIB, 4B25: Embedded Systems for the Internet of Things, 2017-18

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Module Leader

Dr P Stanley-Marbell

Lecturer

Dr P Stanley-Marbell

Timing and Structure

Michaelmas term. 100% coursework

Prerequisites

3B2 useful

Aims

The aims of the course are to:

  • Introduce students to the principles and practice of computation and sensing systems that interact with the physical world.

Objectives

As specific objectives, by the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Define the role of uncertainty in measurements of physical signals and quantify measurement uncertainty for a given sensing system.
  • Evaluate energy use in an embedded system using in-system current monitors.
  • Define the role of noise in both measurements and displays and identify appropriate metrics to use in quantifying noise for a given design.
  • Design communication subsystems and the required electrical circuit support between a collection of I2C- or SPI-interfaced sensor integrated circuits and an ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller.
  • Numerically quantify measurement uncertainty and noise in outputs given a system design.
  • Recall and explain the interaction between displays and the human visual system.
  • Design modifications to sensing, communication, and display systems to improve their energy efficiency.
  • Design the logical organization and required firmware for new systems built around an ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller, and sensors or displays connected via I2C and SPI communication interfaces.

Content

The module will introduce students to the principles underlying sensor operation, signal acquisition, the role of measurement uncertainty and noise, common sensor communication interfaces and how they interact with modern embedded microcontrollers such as the ARM Cortex-M0 family. The module will link these concepts in the signal acquisition and processing chain to a study of output interfaces in embedded systems. This exploration of output systems will be built on a study of the principles of operation of OLED displays and how the flexibility of the human visual system enables interesting circuit- and algorithm-level techniques to reduce display power dissipation.

Preliminary Syllabus

Lecture 1: System overview of sensing, computation, I/O, and displays in embedded systems; interpreting device and system datasheets. At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: enumerate the important components in an embedded system design; read and interpret the datasheet for a component in a system or for an entire system; propose and design changes to a system to extend its uses.

Lecture 2: Embedded I/O interfaces: I2C, SPI, I2S, I3C, MIPI DSI, and MIPI CSI.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: enumerate the differences between the common embedded wired communication interfaces; select and substantiate a choice for an interface for a given design problem.

Lecture 3: Precision, accuracy, reliability, and measurement uncertainty.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: define precision, accuracy, reliability, and measurement uncertainty; analyze a system design and quantify these properties for a design's components.

Lecture 4: Embedded library and OS support overview; ARM Mbed OS API.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: design the firmware for an embedded sensing and computing problem using Mbed OS API calls for actions such as I/O.

Lecture 5: Noise sources in analog and digital systems; role of signal gain and restoring logic.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: enumerate the sources of noise and measurement uncertainty in analog and digital systems; propose design changes to improve the robustness of systems to noise.

Lecture 6: Case study.

Lecture 7: Field-programmable gate arrays in low-power embedded systems; Verilog overview.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: describe and explain the basic architecture of FPGAs; use their understanding of the Verilog hardware description language and FPGA synthesis tools to modify an existing Verilog design.

Lecture 8: OLED displays: Their structure, interfaces, and techniques for energy-efficiency.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: enumerate the properties of OLED displays; propose changes to existing system designs that use OLED displays in order to improve their energy efficiency.

Lecture 9: Human color vision perception and its interaction with displays.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: enumerate the basic properties of human color vision that have a bearing on the design of displays for embedded systems.

Lecture 10: Wireless communications using Bluetooth, 802.15.4/Zigbee, and LoRa; Bluetooth HCI interface.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: enumerate the differences between the major low-power radio interfaces available for embedded or Internet-of-Things systems; propose energy-efficient choices for a wireless sensing system design given the application's design constraints.

Lecture 11: Schematic capture and basic printed circuit board layout using Eagle.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: create a design ready to be submitted for manufacturing (Gerber files) using the Eagle schematic capture and printed-circuit-board layout tools.

Lecture 12: Designing new embedded systems to solve a specified application need.  At the end of this lecture, students should be able to: propose an architectural design comprising sensing, computation, communication, and display to address a given application need, with the design implementable within the limitations of schematic capture and printed-circuit-board layout tools such as Eagle.

Coursework

Coursework Format

Due date

& marks

Coursework activity #1: OLED display control over SPI exercise

Obtain hands-on experience writing a device driver in C for an SPI peripheral, using the FRDMKL03 ARM board and the OLED display from the course hardware kit.

Learning objective:

After successfully completing this exercise, students should be able to:

  • Read a datasheet for an unfamiliar embedded hardware component such as an SPI peripheral and write a device driver in C to interface with the peripheral.

Individual

Git repository with working code 

non-anonymously marked

 

Wednesday, week 2

[10/100]

Coursework activity #2: Project proposal one-page report

Identify an interesting engineering problem that can be addressed using an embedded system developed using the concepts, theory, techniques, and tools covered in this course.

Learning objectives:

After successfully completing this exercise, students should be able to:

  • Identify an interesting and important engineering challenge that can be solved using a combination of embedded sensing, embedded computation, and possibly displays and communication.
  • Present a clear list of design objectives for solving the engineering challenge using an embedded system.

Individual Report

non-anonymously marked

  Wednesday, week 3

[4/100]

 

Coursework activity #3: Power measurement using TI INA219 I2C device exercise

Obtain hands-on experience writing a device driver in C for an I2C peripheral, using the FRDMKL03 ARM board and the TI INA219 daughterboard from the course hardware kit.

Learning objective:

After successfully completing this exercise, students should be able to:

  • Read a datasheet for an unfamiliar embedded hardware component such as an I2C peripheral and write a device driver in C to interface with the peripheral.

Individual Report

non-anonymously marked

  Wednesday, week 5

[10/100]

 

Coursework activity #4: Sensor interfacing from Lattice iCE40 FPGA exercise

Obtain hands-on experience implementing a design in the Verilog hardware description language.

Learning objectives:

After successfully completing this exercise, students should be able to:

  • Use the supplied FPGA tools to map an existing Verilog hardware design to the iCE40 FPGA.
  • Modify an existing Verilog hardware design that harnesses hard-macros on the iCE40 FPGA and map/evaluate the design on the FPGA evaluation board.

Individual Report

non-anonymously marked

  Wednesday, week 7

[10/100]

 

Coursework activity #5: Project interim report

Present progress made towards final project goals, evaluate lessons learned so far, and obtain feedback and guidance on necessary plan adaptation.

Learning objectives:

After successfully completing the interim project report, students should be able to:

  • Identify and present progress made towards final project.
  • Identify and present potential challenges and propose necessary changes to project plan.

Individual Report

non-anonymously marked

  Wednesday, week 10

[6/100]

 

Coursework activity #6: Project concept, design, implementation, and final report

Present the problem addressed, approach employed, system implemented, and system evaluation.

Learning objectives:

After successfully completing the final project, students should be able to:

  • Identify an interesting and important engineering challenge that can be solved using a combination of embedded sensing, embedded computation, and possibly displays and communication.
  • Design an embedded computing system that address the engineering challenge.
  • Prototype an embedded system design using a combination of sensors, microcontrollers, communication, displays, or FPGAs using the tools provided in the course kit, and potentially design a custom PCB implementing the design.
  • Quantitatively evaluate an embedded sensing and computation system in terms of its time efficiency (performance), energy efficiency (battery life), and measurement and data processing accuracy.

Individual Report

non-anonymously marked

  Easter Term

[60/100]

 

 

Booklists

The following books are relevant to the material in the course and will all be available from the Engineering Library.

  1. Introduction to Embedded Systems, A Cyber-Physical Systems Approach, ISBN: 978-0262533812
  2. An Introduction to Uncertainty in Measurement, ISBN: 978-0521605793
  3. Linkers and Loaders, ISBN: 978-1558604964
  4. The Circuit Designer's Companion, 3rd Edition, ISBN: 978-0080971384
  5. The Practice of Programming, ISBN: 978-0201615869
  6. Expert C Programming, ISBN: 978-0131774292
  7. C: A Reference Manual (5th Edition), ISBN: 978-0130895929
  8. Bluetooth Low Energy: The Developer's Handbook, ISBN: 978-0132888363
  9. Programming Embedded Systems: With C and GNU Development Tools, 2nd Edition, ISBN: 978-0596009830
  10. Embedded Systems Dictionary, ISBN: 978-1578201204
  11. The Art of Designing Embedded Systems, Second Edition, ISBN: 978-0750686440
  12. The Art of Electronics, ISBN: 978-0521809269
  13. Color Science: Concepts and Methods, Quantitative Data and Formulae, ISBN: 978-0471399186

Examination Guidelines

Please refer to Form & conduct of the examinations.

Last modified: 12/09/2017 16:28