Lab to bridge the skill gap

A Bangalore-based engineering college has set up a microcontroller lab on its campus to make graduates job-ready. Prachi Rege reports.

A Bangalore-based engineering college has set up a microcontroller lab on its campus to make graduates job-ready. Prachi Rege reports.

Though we may not know it or notice it particularly, microcontrollers are a part of our day-to-day life. For example, almost all the automobile engine control systems, implantable medical devices, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, toys, mobiles and handheld devices etc. are built around microcontrollers. There is a need for talented engineers skilled to design effective processors, given the demand for microntrollers in different aspects of life,

Keeping this in mind, BMS College of Engineering (BMSCE) has tied up with the Taiwan-based semiconductor company nuvoTon to set up a Microcontroller lab on its campus. "It is an academic lab, where students will learn—architecture, programming and interfacing—to work on ARM® CortexTM-M0 processor based microcontroller, and to develop a real application project as per latest industry requirements," explains Harish V Mekali, assistant professor, department of electronics and communication engineering, BMS College of Engineering.

Jitendra Patil, business director, nuvoTon India says, “I am excited to see the whole range of new projects and innovations by these kids. Indian students have high potential, which I think we elders should recognise and nourish. Setting up modern labs will encourage them to study old things in a much easier way.”

At the lab, students will be provided with resources to learn and design projects on the latest microcontroller. "Knowledge about ARM® CortexTM-M0 processor is the need of the day. Most of the industries use these controllers. The lab is a step toward preparing and making the students industry ready," says Mekali.

Even before they agreed on collaborating, BMSCE scanned the existing embedded market and also estimated the future. The research study revealed a tremendous demand for ARM® CortexTM-M0 processors. Considering the trend, BMSCE decided to set up the lab. Is it believed in the hardware world that the ARM processor based microcontroller will be in the mainstream for the next two decacdes. Under its nuvoTon academic programme, the company has provided 20 Nu-LB-NUC140 learning boards, related software tools, case studies and course material as resource to set up the lab. The learning board has been specially designed considering students` requirement.

Professionals from nuvoTon have trained BMSCE faculty in order to manage the lab and train students. "Our academic programme aims to strike strong long-term partnership with academia to increase the knowledge base in the aforesaid processor application and to promote that knowledge with future engineers who have unlimited innovation capacities," comments Patil.

To make lab work exciting, certain monitoring mechanism have also been set up. Project work taken up by students will earn them academic credits during their engineering course. NuvoTon may also conduct project contests, with the best ones being placed in the company`s worldwide university promotions.
Projects at the lab:

  • Wireless mobile robotic arm controlled by flex sensor, accelerometer and joystick
  • Wireless sensor network monitoring using GPRS on IoT
  • Cell phone protocol
  • GPS tracking on google map
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