ECE 47700 - Digital Systems Senior Project


Nature of Design Experience: through completing the open-ended (semester-long) design project, the written technical reports, and the project summary video presentation, students will: (a) enhance their written and oral technical communication skills, (b) enhance their teamwork skills, enhance their digital system design skills, and (d) enhance their hardware/software integration skills.

Course Details

Lecture Hours: 2 Lab Hours: 6 Credits: 4

Counts as:

  • Senior Design

Normally Offered:

Each Fall, Spring


On-campus only


ECE 36200, Senior standing, and must have either completed all core courses OR may take their final 30000-level core course concurrently.

Catalog Description:

A structured approach to the development and integration of embedded microcontroller hardware and software that provides senior-level students with significant design experience applying microcontrollers to a wide range of embedded systems (e.g., instrumentation, process control, telecommunications, intelligent devices, etc.). The primary objective is to provide practical experience developing integrated hardware and software for embedded microcontroller systems in an environment that models one which students will most likely encounter in industry.

Required Text(s):


Recommended Text(s):

  1. None

Learning Outcomes:

A student who successfully fulfills the course requirements will have demonstrated:
  1. an ability to apply engineering design to create a product that meets the specified needs of this engineering design experience with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors. [2]
  2. an ability to develop and conduct experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions related to the development of the product of this engineering design experience. [6]
  3. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems arising from this engineering design experience by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics. [1]
  4. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives associated with this design experience. [5]
  5. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences appropriate to this design experience in both a written report and oral presentation. [3]
  6. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies to complete the engineering design experience associated with this course. [7]
  7. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities associated with this engineering design experience and make informed judgments which must consider the impact of the product of this engineering design experience in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts. [4]

Lecture Outline:

Week Topics
1 Course and project overview, project proposal guidelines and digital system design consideration and packaging design
2 Embedded system interfacing, microcontroller survey, power supply design and passive component selection.
3 Documentation standards, TCSP: project specific success criteria, and patent liability analysis.
4 Printed circuit board design considerations, TCSP: hardware design status and software design considerations
5 Interactive hardware debugging, TCSP: printed circuit board design status and design for reliability, maintainability, and safety; failure mode and risk analysis.
6 Ethical/social/political/environmental considerations and TCSP: software design status.
7 Design review guidelines and TCSP: safety and reliability analysis status.
8 No lecture meetings -- formal design reviews individually scheduled.
9 Individual progress briefings with each team.
10 Board assembly and soldering techniques
11 TCSP: board assembly and testing status
12 Individual progress briefings with each team
13 TCSP: system integration status
14 Individual progress briefings with each team
15 Final report and presentation guidelines
16 Final presentations individually scheduled

Lab Outline:

Demonstrating the final product
Integrating system hardware and software along with packaging the final product
Designing and testing application software for target microcontroller system hardware
Designing and testing target microcontroller system hardware and interface circuitry
Learning how to use various hardware/software development tools; target microcontrollerassembler, compiler, linker; target microcontroller debug monitor; target microcontroller evaluation board; logic analyzer (timing and state analysis); in-circuit flash programmer
Learning how to use various CAD/CAE tools: schematic capture and PCB layout software
Due to the open-ended nature of the design project, as well as the variety of design projects that may be chosen, all of the laboratory work will be completed on an "open shop" basis (i.e., laboratory facilities available 24/7 with consultant on duty at scheduled times each week). Lab uses will therefore be on an arrange-hour basis. Examples of lab activities associated with completing the semester-long design project include:

Engineering Design Content:

  • Synthesis
  • Analysis
  • Construction
  • Testing

Engineering Design Consideration(s):

  • Environmental
  • Ethical
  • Health/Safety
  • Reliability

Assessment Method:

Students must demonstrate basic competency in all the course outcomes, listed above, in order to receive a passing grade. Demonstration of Outcome (i) will be based on the satisfaction of the design component homework, for which a minimum score of 60% will be required to establish basic competency. Demonstration of Outcome (ii) will be based on the individual lab notebook, for which a minimum score (on the final evaluation) of 60% will be required to establish basic competency. Demonstration of Outcome (iii) will be based on satisfaction of the general and project-specific success criteria, for which a minimum score of 80% will be required to establish basic competency. Demonstration of Outcome (iv) will be based on the professional component homework, for which a minimum score of 60% will be required to establish basic competency. Demonstration of Outcome (v) will be based on the Design Review, the Final Presentation, and the Final report. A minimum score of 60% on the Design Review and a minimum score of 60% on the Final Report and a minimum score of 60% on the Final presentation will be required to establish basic competency. Since senior design is essentially a "mastery" style course, students who fail to satisfy all outcomes but who are otherwise passing will be given a grade of "I" (incomplete). The grade of "I" may subsequently be improved upon successful satisfaction of all outcome deficiencies. If outcome deficiencies are not satisfied by the prescribed deadline, the grade of "I" will revert to a grade of "F".