What are the factors that Influence the selection of Embedded Microcontrollers? This article reports the factors that influenced the selection of embedded microcontrollers. The article analyses the data for capturing the important criteria and pattern in the selection of microcontroller for teaching embedded system courses.
The data is selected from all documents related to the courses, including the course outline, course information, student report, Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) report, Industrial Advisory Panel (IAP) report, and accreditation report. These documents were analyzed to identify the reason for selecting the type of embedded system microcontrollers used for teaching and learning in the course.
The study shows that the cost is the main factor and facilities that influence the selection of the embedded microcontroller in the course. To sum up, the selection criteria is extremely important in choosing and establishing the suitable embedded microcontroller for the embedded system design and interfacing course.
The demand for the embedded system course in electronics and electrical engineering and technology programs globally increases excitingly in the internet of things. Nearly all the electronics and electrical engineering and technology programs include the course with the purpose to introduce the students to the current embedded system or microcontroller.
Basically, all electrical devices or equipment use an embedded system as a brain for the devices. It can be in the form of a microcontroller or microprocessor, and the difference between both is that microcontrollers are more less complex than the microprocessors. On prior, the microcontroller is developed quite fast and is intensively used as compared to the microprocessor.
This troublesome evolution comes in many ways, including programming language, program loading, architecture, hardware integration, and the most extreme is cheap.
The introduction of the open-source electronic platform Arduino in early 2010 change the industry. This game-changer has remained relevant since the date, advance, and is the market innovator for the embedded system platform. T
his simple program gets a big climax by IEEE via a sensible title to describe the program’s efficiency against the already available solutions in the market during the early stage. Rather than required understanding multiple machine languages, the Arduino has made simpler this issue thoroughly.
The elements of inexpensive, open-source hardware, internal programmer (Burner), ease programming, open-source software, collaborative library, and IDE Software operating on any operating system make the solution lead the market at that time until today.
The solution centers to the design output other than understanding the coding, architecture, and other boring design before a clear solution can be developed. Worldwide, most universities have started to include Arduino in their course, and this has been clarified from numerous articles.
This article focusses on the survey of the embedded system course and the requirement in the introduction for providing a thorough knowledge of the study gaps. The methodology highlights the functionality in analyzing the microcontroller used in the course from 2010 until 2019.
This study was carried out at the School of Electrical Engineering, for the Bachelor of Engineering degree program. The study only focused from 2010 until 2019 based on the documented evidence and report where the report and document review were chosen to get a clear picture to get the selection reasoning or justification during the selection, and the decision was made.
Figure 1 shows that all documents related to the embedded system design and interfacing course offered to the student at 6th semester were analyzed. The inclusion and exclusion criteria are set for the assessment.
The inclusion criteria were set to avoid unbiased results; the data to be collected is from 2010 to 2019 and the type of microcontroller used for teaching and learning embedded system and interfacing course. In contrast, the exclusion criteria were: the data or report before 2010 and after 2019 not be taken for this assessment and the type of microcontroller used in other subjects than embedded system and interfacing.
Based on the obtained information, the summary of the microcontroller used according to the year is shown
Microchip-based microcontrollers were used in the course from 2010 until 2011, specifically PIC16F877A. From 2012 ahead, the Arduino UNO board was used in the course, in 2015, Intel Galileo board was added in the course as a microcontroller board; however, it only remained until 2016. In 2019, the course started using ESP32 as an optional board.
On the basis of document review, the microcontroller selection depends on the cost, facilities, material support, and industry demand. These three main components influence the selection. Moreover, the complication of the microcontroller is the main concern since most of the microcontrollers require additional tools for programming, which suffer in cost.
Moreover, the low-cost solution for both hardware and software also affect the selection process. Based on the document assessment, the summary finding is tabulated in Table 2.
As recorded in Table, the record shows that the Arduino based board were getting higher accepting rate due to the cheap, simple, recommended by industry, and support factors.
However, the Intel Galileo has been used based on the industry recommendation, but due to the cost, durability, and technical robustness, the board cannot be further used due to malfunction factors. On the other side, the PIC16F877A was only used for the early two years before the Arduino based was used in 2012.
Distantly, the course of embedded system is a purely practical based course in which the microcontroller plays an important role in the student practical knowledge exposure and learning experience. The cost extremely plays important role in the microcontroller selection compared to the rest. However, the validity and facilities are the second factors affecting the selection, which are normally second after the cost. Finally, the treasury of the selected justification is extremely important for the faculty or college to get the proper guide to decide for the future devices to be selected for the subject based on the previous pattern and experience recorded.