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For the past several years, a team in the Department of Electrical Engineering (EE), National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan, has been establishing a pedagogical approach to embody embedded systems in the context of robotics. To alleviate the burden on students in the robotics curriculum in their junior and senior years, a training platform on embedded systems with co-design in hardware and software has been developed and fabricated as a supplement for these students. This general-purpose platform has several advantages over commercial training kits for embedded systems. For instance, the programming layer has been brought onto an open-source platform ported by Linux and μC/OS-II such that it is mostly hardware-independent. Meanwhile, in addition to linking to fundamental library functions provided for robotics, users can program the codes not only in C language, but also through visual programming by means of a graphic interface developed along with the platform, allowing users to concentrate on higher-level robot function design. In other words, the platform facilitates rapid prototyping in robotics design. Meanwhile, a tailored laboratory manual associated with the platform has been designed and used in classes. Based on assessments and evaluation on the students who have completed this course, the curricular training is satisfactory and largely meets the requirements established at the design stage.
Date of Publication: May 2011