Fast and Effective Embedded System Design: Applying the ARM mbed

Reader and Instructor Support - note that this book is now replaced by a second edition.

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Instructor Support

The mbed allows a new style of teaching about embedded systems and microcontrollers in university and college courses. Now that this book is being adopted for class study, we are in the process of developing support material for instructors. This will be hosted by Elsevier on a new book web site. Just now we're taking the strictly temporary measure of putting things up on different  sites. Support material will take the form of:

Powerpoint slides: These will be similar to the earlier set already produced, but will carry much more detail, and be very directly linked to the book content. There will be one slide presentation for each book chapter.

Answers to Quiz questions.

Solutions to in-chapter exercises, and commentary on these.

Further examples, and commentary on chapter topics.

All code examples. These are available below - just copy and paste from the Word document.

Chapter 1 Chapter 4 Chapter 7 Chapter 10 Chapter13
Chapter 2 Chapter 5 Chapter 8 Chapter 11 Chapter14
Chapter 3 Chapter 6 Chapter 9 Chapter 12  

Please email me (Tim) if you would like examples of any of the above support material. In your email if possible give brief information about the course you're using the book for (or are aiming to use the book for). I look forward to hearing from you!

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Ways of Using the Book

1. As an introduction to embedded systems, the mbed, and embedded C/C++: Just start working from the beginning, and cover chapters 1 to 5.

2. As an intermediate course in embedded systems, the mbed, and embedded C/C++: Cover chapters 6 to 10.

3. As an ancillary to an electronics course: There is plenty of scope to present the mbed as a reconfigurable electronic system, which of course it is. A number of exercises in the book explore characteristics of electronic aspects such as digital interfacing, PWM, DAC and ADC. We will be using parts of the book in this way in the first half of 2013, in an Electronic Systems module. Look out for one or two case studies appearing below.

4. As the core element of an electronics club. Issue club members with an mbed, breadboard, and access to components listed in Appendix D. Let them work through activities in the book, and from the mbed web site, at their own speed. Be ready to supply further components as needed, and as costs allow. Amazing things may happen!

5. As a launchpad for advanced projects: See the "moon buggy" example below.

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An Example: the "Moon Buggy" Project

This project was taken by a team of 15 students on the MSc, Control and Instrumentation, at the University of Derby, between October and December 2012. Students were divided into 5 sub-teams, and asked to respond to this task statement.

The Control and Instrumentation Block Diagram.
This formed the starting point for the student teams.
It was the students' responsibility to design and develop the instrumentation and control, using a network of mbed microcontrollers. The teams covered the following areas: central controller and locomotion, diagnostics, data communications and deployable solar panel, obstacle sensing, deployable solar panel, light sensing.


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The Build Overview
The chassis and power supply of the vehicle were given. The vehicle has a four-wheel geometry, with each wheel being independently steerable, and driven by geared DC  motor.

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The Vehicle under Test.
The vehicle under development. Notice the five mbeds, all networked. We use a simple prototyping pcb, which has the same basic layout as the breadboards normally used with the mbed. When a circuit has been prototyped and tested, it can be readily transferred to a more permanent form on the pcb.




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Tests in December on the prototype vehicle were encouraging, with all sub-teams making a strong contribution. Students found the project a positive learning experience; none had worked with the mbed before, and many were new to concepts in embedded systems, and embedded C programming. The team project phase is now over. The chassis is undergoing a further round of development, and it is expected that the project will be taken forward as an individual project for MSc dissertation.

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