Academics offered intro-to-IoT curriculum by Imagination, Microchip & Digilent

April 21, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Imagination Technologies and Microchip Technology, together with Digilent Inc. have created the “Connected MCU Lab”, a course developed through the companies' respective university programs.

The single-semester (half-academic-year) curriculum, available to universities worldwide, is designed to be an introductory and first microcontroller (MCU) class taken by undergraduate electronic engineering and computer science students. It delivers an interactive and compelling start to connected embedded systems education - covering MCUs and input/output (I/O), real-time operating system concepts, advanced MIPS processor architecture and cloud connectivity - all presented in a fresh and jargon-free style.

 

The Connected MCU Lab takes a hands-on approach, making use of a Wi-Fi enabled development board, tools, software, and cloud services - everything needed to design innovative Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Lessons are based around the chipKIT Wi-FIRE board from Digilent Inc., which uses Microchip's PIC32MZ MCU incorporating a 32-bit MIPS M-Class CPU from Imagination. A chipKIT Basic I/O Shield is used for expansion along with a PICkit 3 In-Circuit Debugger from Microchip. Teachers and students have free access to professional software tools including MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment, MPLAB XC32 C compiler, and MPLAB Harmony Software Development Framework from Microchip, as well as Imagination's cloud technologies.

 

The Connected MCU Lab curriculum, written by Dr. Alexander Dean of North Carolina State University, includes presentation slides for each module, student guide, exercises, tests, solutions, and an Instructor's Guide.

 

Says Robert Owen, manager, Worldwide University Programme at Imagination: "The need for internet connectivity and the demand for ease of development are rapidly driving the embedded world towards 32-bit MCUs. As a result, the next generation of embedded system designers and developers need to understand the techniques of connecting embedded systems to the cloud. This is an urgent teaching requirement as many college courses today are still using 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs. The Connected MCU Lab course makes it easy to give the next generation of engineers the skills they need."

 

The MIPS CPU IP core in the PIC32 MCU is part of the same family as " MIPSfpga" a soft