Module Overview

Embedded Systems

Module aims: To provide the learner with the knowledge and skills required to design, build and debug a complex embedded system.

Module Code

MEC4 H4014

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change
  • Fundamentals of Embedded Systems
  • Microcontroller Architecture
  • I/O Devices
  • Embedded System Code Specialities
  • Design Tools
  • Debugging
  • Working in a team
  • Overall Project Issues

Fundamentals of Embedded Systems

What are embedded systems,Realtime systems,Recap on number systems, Roll-over and overflow,Fixed-point arithmetic,Ethical issues in safety critical systems.


Recap on microcontroller architecture,Additional capabilities of the microcontroller used in this module – timers, watchdog timer, interrupts.

I/O Devices

Common I/O harware and interfaces – LCDs, switches, keypads, serial port,MEMs devices – applications, manufacture and interfaces. The accelerometer.

Embedded System Code Specialities

Bit-banging – shifting and masking.Inline assembly – when and how to use it.General concepts of interrupts and Interrupt Service Routines – ISRs.ISRs in C. Shared data problem introduced by ISRs.

Design Tools

Statecharts as a design tool. UML statechart nomenclature.


Debugging embedded systems – simulators and emulators.Host testing, simulators,Stubs and test-harnesses.

Working in a team

Modularisation of code – header files and implementation files.Good use of the C preprocessor – types.h, ports.h, project.h.

Overall Project Issues

Typical project lifecycleProject management issues – schedules, documentation and good communication.Environmental impact of component choice – materials, power usage, EM interference.Ethical issues - commercial and open source.

In full-time mode this module is delivered in a traditional lecture/lab format supported by additional work completed outside of class.

In part-time mode this module is delivered using online lectures and labs conducted at home using a supplied kit.  Online lab sessions and support videos are provided.  Additional work is also completed offline.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination50
Other Assessment(s)50