Introduction to Microcontroller

A microcontroller (also microcomputer, MCU or µC) is a small computer on a single integrated circuit consisting internally of a relatively simple CPU, clock, timers, I/O ports, and memory. Microcontrollers are designed for small or dedicated applications. Thus, in contrast to the microprocessors used in personal computers and other high-performance or general purpose applications, simplicity is emphasized.

Microcontrollers are used in automatically controlled products and devices, such as automobile engine control systems, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, and toys. By reducing the size and cost compared to a design that uses a separate microprocessor, memory, and input/output devices, microcontrollers make it economical to digitally control even more devices and processes.

A micro-controller is a single integrated circuit, commonly with the following features:
• central processing unit – ranging from small and simple 4-bit processors to complex 32- or 64-bit processors
• volatile memory (RAM) for data storage
• ROM, EPROM, EEPROM or Flash memory for program and operating parameter storage
• discrete input and output bits, allowing control or detection of the logic state of an individual package pin
• serial input/output such as serial ports (UARTs)
• other serial communications interfaces like I²C, Serial Peripheral Interface and Controller Area Network for system interconnect
• peripherals such as timers, event counters, PWM generators, and watchdog
• clock generator – often an oscillator for a quartz timing crystal, resonator or RC circuit
• many include analog-to-digital converters, some include digital-to-analog converters
• in-circuit programming and debugging support

In the course we will learn how to use microcontroller to create interactive and creative small installations with Arduino – an open-source electronics prototyping platform, with easy to use hardware and software – to develop prototypes and simple electronic projects. Below are some simple but fun devices built with Arduino.


Arduino LED Table Demo

Spider Robot

LED Cube 8x8x8

Remote Tank Robot

3x3x3 LED Matrix