Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module ICE-1112:
Intro to Embedded Systems

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Mr John Story

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to provide learners with an understanding of the fundamental concepts of Embedded Systems. The larger part of the module will be practical, developing experience of a common tool chain to foster the skills necessary to build simple systems. Developing hardware and software to meet set goals, testing and evaluating outcomes.

Course content

Indicative content includes:

  • Core concepts, putting the Embedded system in context.
  • Learning the toolchain for embedded systems.
  • Sensing the world, introducing a ranges of sensors and concepts.
  • Acting on the world, actuating devices in a controlled manner.
  • Communications, linking systems together for greeted effect.
  • Development technique and process.

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.


Equivalent to 40%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.

Learning outcomes

  1. Employ a typical development environment for embedded systems to take a basic development board, compile a simple application, download to the target board and test the resulting outcomes.

  2. Demonstrate the role of digital and analogue sensors in embedded systems and how they integrate with a typical microcontroller to allow selection of a sensor appropriate for a given task.

  3. Demonstrate that embedded systems often act on the world by integrating a typical microcontroller and selected actuators for a given task.

  4. Define 'Embedded System', as contrasted with general purpose computers. Identify key differences between different systems.

  5. Use simple serial communications to connect an embedded system in the real world to the digital domain.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Embedded Systems Infographic

Produce a single page, graphic rich description of Embedded Systems. Give examples. Describe typical transducers and architectures. Software and tools. Relative costs and complexity.

COURSEWORK Course Project

Develop a simple mechatronic system that interacts with a person.

COURSEWORK Laboratory Experiments and Prototypes

Build simple prototypes demonstrating sensing, acting, and communicating.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Practical laboratories (3hrs x 12 weeks).

Private study

Tutor-directed private study, including individual assessments.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.

Subject specific skills

  • Identify emerging technologies and technology trends;
  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of electronic engineering in an international context;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems engineering in an international context;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems for controlling complex systems;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions, especially ones that include embedded microprocessors
  • Formulate and analyse requirements and practical constraints of products, processes and services, place them in an engineering context and manage their implementation;
  • Solve problems logically and systematically;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions.
  • Appreciate the importance of designing products with due regard to good laboratory practice, health and safety considerations and ethical issues.
  • Access and synthesize information and literature sources;
  • Communicate proposals persuasively and respond positively to feedback;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.
  • Knowledge and understanding of facts, concepts, principles & theories
  • Use of such knowledge in modelling and design
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Analyse if/how a system meets current and future requirements
  • Specify, design or construct computer-based systems
  • Evaluate systems in terms of quality and trade-offs
  • Deploy tools effectively
  • System Design


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: