Course Title: Embedded Systems: Operating Systems and Interfacing

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Embedded Systems: Operating Systems and Interfacing

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


125H Electrical & Computer Engineering


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009


RMIT University Vietnam


125H Electrical & Computer Engineering


Viet1 2011


RMIT University Vietnam


172H School of Engineering


Viet2 2017,
Viet2 2018,
Viet2 2019,
Viet2 2020,
Viet2 2021,
Viet2 2022,
Viet2 2023,
Viet1 2024

Course Coordinator: Dr P J Radcliffe

Course Coordinator Phone: Email is preferred

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

  • It is assumed that you have C or C++ experience to a reasonable standard.
  • It is assumed that you have a good knowledge of electronics, both theory and practical implementation.  Minmum: a pass in second year engineering.
  • An understanding of Linux/Unix is desirable but not essential.

Course Description

This course introduces you to practical real world electronics problems which designers need to consider in order to produce working electronic products.
The course aims to broaden your experience in Operating Systems and show you how to interface real hardware systems.

This course will use a programming language, and a version of Linux running on a PC to control real hardware, external to the PC.
The lectures will review electronics from the perspective of helping you to become a practical designer,  not simply knowing about electronics. 
We will look at practical electronic implementation problems that plague real embedded systems. 
Finally a version of Linux will be introduced.
The project work includes designing an embedded input to withstand high voltages applied to it,  driving a stepper motor from under  Software control, and driving a DC motor using the Linux operating system.

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information (;ID=eyj5c0mo77631).

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

At undergraduate level this course develops the following Program Learning Outcomes:

1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.

2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.

2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources

At postgraduate level this course develops the following Program Learning Outcomes:

• High levels of technical competence in the field
• Be able to apply problem solving approaches to work challenges and make decisions using sound engineering methodologies

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Design electronics for embedded systems rather than just know the theory.
  2. Describe practical implementation problems that plague real embedded systems and how to solve them.
  3. Use a number of Operating Systems and describe the strengths and weaknesses of each.
  4. Implement an embedded control system.

Overview of Learning Activities

Lectures and laboratories, as well as practical work in your own time.
Quite some time spent in becoming familiar with concepts and exploring the new operating systems is expected.

Activities include but are not limited to:
* Designing embedded microprocessor system inputs to withstand high voltages.
* Designing a small motor drive system that can drive steppers and DC motors.
* Writing simple code running under a variety of Operating Systems to control the motor systems described above.

Overview of Learning Resources

  • Lecture notes.
  • Programming tools, sample code, C code, notes on Linux, and  other resources.
  • Extensive online resources for this course will be provided.
  • Various internet interest groups in the technologies are covered in this course.

Overview of Assessment

  • Examination at the end of the semester.
  • Laboratories,
  • Projects
  • Assignment Work .