Embedded Systems

Top 5 DIY Embedded Projects for Beginners (Videos Included)


Embedded systems have evolved and changed quite a lot since their inception. Today, the devices which we use are smart and can connect with a cloud server somewhere. Everything from smart wearables to internet banking makes use of embedded systems to function, grow and evolve. Due to the advent of wireless communications, networking, electronics and AI, devices can now connect and communicate in more ways than we can fathom. Very soon, most objects around us will use embedded sensors to gain insights about its environment and send them to a processor. The future of embedded systems lies in every technology that allows for faster communication and better connectivity. Hence, this is a skill that every graduate needs to have in order to succeed in tomorrow’s world. So how do you develop a skill in embedded systems? Here’s a look at some DIY Embedded projects to help you get started.

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Future of Embedded Systems

Ubiquitous computing- This branch of computing focuses on connecting a fleet of communicating devices which are then integrated into every-day objects. Such objects can be anything from our clothes to our water heaters or maybe even our coffee mugs. Smartphones, laptops and tablets help close the loop, forming a system of highly interconnected devices, which constantly send information to each other. Ubiquitous or Pervasive Computing gives life to Sentient Computing which utilizes sensors to gain information about the environment and then commands the device to react as per the requirement.

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Internet of Things-The Internet of Things began a technological revolution a few years ago, and the effects are now becoming more wide-spread. Introduced by Kevin Ashton in 1989, IoT connects physical devices to the internet, helping to make our lives easier and more organised. For instance, several startups are working on applications to integrate IoT into our daily lives. Your smartphone will be able to communicate with your chair regarding your posture, and then warn you whenever it feels that you are harming your back. Similarly, it can link with your water bottle, to remind you to drink more water whenever required.

Context-awareness- This technique is an added layer of intelligence that makes devices more aware of their surroundings, thereby helping us gain more insight into our environment. Using these techniques, businesses can learn more about the purchasing tendencies of their customers, leading to better product development. Such a system can also become extremely useful to the medical industry, wherein it can help with diagnosis.

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How to build Embedded Systems projects Did you know

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What is an embedded system in ECE?

An embedded system combines computer hardware and software to perform a particular function. Such systems may be fixed in capability or programmable and can either do just one function or be a part of a large system with multiple functions. Everything from industrial machines to household appliances makes use of the embedded system to function. They serve as computing systems, which may or may not have a user interface (UI). Devices which have a user interface can use either physical buttons or remote controllers to gain input from the user.

History of embedded systems

Embedded systems go all the way back to the 1960s when Charles Draper while working for the Apollo Lunar module developed an IC. This chip, which was the first of its kind, helped astronauts collect flight data. A few years later, Autonetics developed the D-17B, which had within it the first mass-produced embedded system. The Volkswagen 1600, which came out in 1968, was the first vehicle to use an embedded system for fuel injection. Due to advancement in science, the price of ICs began to drop by the start of the 1970s, and so, usage surged. The first microcontroller came out in 1971, with a 4-bit processor. Soon began the chip race, which saw Intel and Texas go head to head against each other, with both trying to make faster, more affordable chips before the other. By the late 1990s, embedded systems became the norm with most electronic systems depending on an embedded system to run effectively.

The first embedded Linux products began to appear. Today, Linux is used in almost all embedded devices. Presently, the embedded market is worth close to $20 billion with giants such as Apple, IBM, Intel and Texas all still coming out with products regularly.

Characteristics of an Embedded System

  1. Real-time performance
  2. High stability and reliability
  3. Uses a real-time OS
  4. Mostly uses a ROM boot
  5. Designed for specific tasks
  6. Connected to both input and output devices
  7. Low cost and energy-efficient

Applications of embedded system

The applications of such embedded systems have grown dramatically over the past few years, and at the rate, technology is progressing, this will only keep happening. Most processes in the industry make use of embedded systems for controlling the vehicles. Furthermore, within the consumer electronics industry, embedded graphics systems help with product development and concept creation. Other major industries that rely heavily on embedded systems are defence, healthcare and aerospace. Also, smart electronics, wearable tech and other such new technologies also utilise embedded systems heavily. Hence, it is quite natural that this field will grow exponentially in the years to come, with its global market expected to widen significantly in the next few years. So, now that you know how vital this side of electronics is, how do you make sure you develop the right skills for it?

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How to learn Embedded Systems (beginners)?

  1. Make sure you read up and know enough about Embedded Hardware. You can be an expert at programming and still fail because you don’t know about the hardware that allows the software to function.
  2. Be aware of the concepts behind BJTs, MOSFETs and other such components. Go through books on the basics of electronics and start learning how to design PCBs and other such circuitries.
  3. Learn about microcontrollers and microprocessors, and try to understand how they work, communicate with other devices and use power. Though you may not be interested in hardware or electronics, you need to know the basics to design an efficient system.
  4. If you have the hardware side done, move onto the software. Start by learning C, then move onto embedded C and then subsequently, higher-level languages. Do as many projects related to Embedded as you can to further your skill with regard to the software side of things.
  5. Keep practising and working on projects to gain some hands-on experience regarding how things work. Though you may not succeed at first, the experience will help you when you tackle your next problem.
  6. Divide your system into small domains, and approach things one at a time. Focus on programming for a week, then switch things up and work on system design. Once you feel you are good enough with respect to that, move onto peripherals and power supply. Make sure that by the end you have knowledge with regards to all domains.

DIY embedded projects for beginners

Here are a few DIY Embedded Projects for beginners which will help you to get started:

1. Smart Irrigation embedded system beginner project


Experts say that we are heading towards a water shortage. One of the key fields in which we utilise large amounts of water is agriculture. What if we told you that you can put to use your knowledge of embedded systems to help save water while irrigating fields? That would be quite amazing, right? Well, that’s exactly what this DIY Embedded Systems Project does! Work with a moisture sensor, ESP-8266 WiFi module and Arduino board to build a smart irrigation system that helps people save water.

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2. Robotic Arm – DIY embedded system project


Robots are changing the way we live, by making our lives easier. In this simple DIY project, students will learn how to build a robotic Arm which can pick things up, turn flexibly and even sort items according to a particular quality. This embedded system project also works as a great introduction into the field of robotics, automation and manufacturing.

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3. Hexapod embedded system project for beginners


A hexapod is a robot that crawls on six legs, much like an insect. The multi-leg structure of this robot makes it a great option when you need something that moves evenly on rough terrains. Hence, hexapods are put to use in areas where there are no proper roads. In this DIY Embedded Systems Project, students will learn how to build a Hexapod robot that works via an Android App.

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4. 3D Printer DIY project


3D printers have taken the world by storm, and now are being used in several industries across the world. They will help transform the future, by making it easier than ever before for engineers to create prototypes to test their designs. In this simple DIY Embedded Systems Project, students will learn how to build a 3D printer from scratch.

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5. CNC Machine embedded system project


Most mechanical workshops around the world now make use of CNC machines to carry out precision work. Everything from large shafts to small metal blocks may be made using CNC machines, which take instructions in the form of a code. In this DIY Embedded Systems Project, you will learn the basics behind the working of CNC machines, and then build one from scratch!

Learn about stepper motors, Arduino and CNC calibration through this project, which is sure to help you understand the workings of embedded systems.

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You can also check out the following list for more DIY embedded system projects:

Hope you got some best beginner DIY embedded project. If you have any suggestion or queries let us know in the comments.

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Thanks for reading!

Top 5 DIY Embedded Projects for Beginners (Videos Included)
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2022-05-18

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