Online course in Tech & Coding

Design and Prototype Embedded Computer Systems

Discover embedded system design and work your way through the product design lifecycle. Supported by Google.

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 2 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $44 Find out more

Learn how to design your own embedded system

On this course from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, you will explore how embedded systems are used in the world around us.

You will learn what makes an embedded system different from a general purpose system (such as a PC) and discover how embedded systems are specialised for a particular use case.

As you explore the iterative design process, you will discover how the purpose of a system affects how it is designed, from choosing its components to the look of the final product. You will also investigate the design of an algorithm and, ultimately, design your own embedded system.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 3 secondsSo you've got an idea for a physical computing project. What hardware should you choose? What materials will you use? This free course will teach you about the differences between embedded and general-purpose computer systems, how to design and prototype your projects, and how to create robust design documents. You'll take part in practical activities to decompose problems, write algorithms to develop your ideas, and apply an iterative design process to help you create a better product. This three-week course also contains peer-led discussions, trainer interaction, and feedback on your knowledge as you progress. You can learn whenever and wherever you want.

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 secondsSo whether you're a teacher with students of your own or simply curious about design and physical computing, this course will help you understand the key characteristics of embedded systems and bring your projects to life. Sign up now at rpf.io/embeddedsystems.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds[CLICK]

What topics will you cover?

  • The difference between embedded systems and general-purpose systems
  • How to decompose a product into features, tasks, and components using a block diagram
  • What is real-time computing and why is it important?
  • How to apply an iterative design process
  • Prototyping
  • Designing a finished physical product
  • Connecting a device to the internet to provide functionality

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Compare embedded systems to general-purpose systems
  • Investigate the design of a smartwatch as an example of an embedded system
  • Apply a design process to both an algorithm and a whole product
  • Develop a prototype of an embedded system

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for teachers delivering lessons on embedded systems in the classroom, at a GCSE level or equivalent.

This course will also be of interest to those with some experience of physical computing who want to move on to creating their own products.

Who will you learn with?

Mark Calleja

Mark Calleja

MrC is a teacher, maker, hacker & an avid breaker of stuff. (He usually breaks it better.) As one of the gizmologists at the RPF & part of MakeSpace Outreach Squad, he knows a thing or two about tech.

Who developed the course?

The Raspberry Pi Foundation works to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world, so they are capable of understanding and shaping our increasingly digital world.

National Centre for Computing Education courses

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Available until 31 October 2019. T&Cs apply.