BI2DE17-Digital and Embedded Technologies

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Pre-requisite: BI1PR17 (or similar C programming module)
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Simon Sherratt


Type of module:

Summary module description:

Digital technologies influence all our lives, from cars, to sensors, to medical devices. Likewise, many devices have embedded processors – small computer systems that are often hidden from the user, for example used in wearable sensors, implanted medical devices, Brain-Computer-Interfaces, heart-rate monitors and AED defibrillators.

This module covers the technologies behind basic digital technologies and embedded systems found in many medical and healthcare electronic systems.

Students will program an embedded device in a lab environment to perform a typical task for a wearable device, hence a basic level of C programming is required.


For students to understand the design and analysis of small embedded computer systems, interfacing, and programming embedded microprocessor systems, such that students can create their own systems.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students completing this module will be familiar with building blocks of embedded systems, the selection of suitable core technologies and the overall architecture of such systems. They will be familiar with logic families, I/O standards, bus systems and memories. They will be able to write code to run on embedded systems.

Additional outcomes:

Students will gain additional experience in C programming with the further addition of an introduction to event driven programming. Through examining suitable technologies, students will better understand the context of digital systems in today’s miniaturisation and the use of wearable technologies, particularly using health monitoring examples. Other outcomes include ICT skills, project and time management.

Outline content:

  • Typical Embedded CPU architectures, I/O (GPIO, interrupts), timers, peripheral interfaces (I2C, SPI).

  • Memories (SRAM, FLASH, ROM).

  • Typical digital sensors (e.g. accelerometers, gyroscopes, temperature, etc) and examples of interfacing physiological sensors (skin temperature, galvanic skin response, hearty

  • C for Embedded systems.

  • Battery powered considerations.

  • Real-Time Operating Systems (tasks, priorities), software constructs for concurrent programming (semaphores, events).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Block of lectures (for first 5 weeks), then practical lab sessions (for last 5 weeks) around the Texas Instruments Code Composer Studio software and the TIVA environment.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Portfolio 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

1 portfolio (PDF) is to be submitted for assessment via Blackboard, in the last week of term. The portfolio is an alternative communication method in engineering, focussed on presenting a visual and graphical presentation of the results obtained. The portfolio method allows technology students to explore alternative methods of presenting results compared to traditional constrained reports.

Formative assessment methods:

Oral feedback, help and advice is given in the timetabled lab sessions.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resubmission of portfolio

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    2) Specialist equipment or materials: Available free for loan in the scheduled lab period

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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