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The University of Texas at Austin
Real-Time Bluetooth Networks - Shape the World
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I don't really do anything with it professionally, but just for "feels" and to not completely lose touch with the hard reality (of registers and ports) I took the UT Austin course on embedded systems (https://www.edx.org/course/embedded-systems-shape-world-utau...) - which required the purchase of some real hardware for the automatically graded labs. I also signed up for the follow-up to this excellent course (https://www.edx.org/course/real-time-bluetooth-networks-shap...) starting in September - which is also going to be done on real hardware.
It's just a refresher for me, I did a lot of low-level and assembler in the 8 bit days, so it's nice to see what's current. It's a wonderful counterweight to otherwise doing very high level programming in dynamic languages and learning (more) FP (Scala). It's nice to be able to find plenty of use cases for 32 kByte of RAM on a tiny board (http://www.ti.com/tool/ek-tm4c123gxl).
I think some low-level embedded programming (directly in C to the chip, not on a highlevel board that even runs a full Linux OS) is ideal to keep me grounded and remember how wasteful those many abstraction layers actually are. Yes I know what they do and appreciate their service - but when I compare what I get vs. how much more I put in (in Giga-Hertz and Giga-Bytes) I'm not convinced that there isn't a lot of waste going on that cannot, should not, be justified and sold as "price of progress".
If you are interested in RTOS (real-time OS) courses I recommend checking edX for the expected September 2016 arrival date of a followup to this course:
edX course page: https://www.edx.org/course/embedded-systems-shape-world-utau...
More information: http://edx-org-utaustinx.s3.amazonaws.com/UT601x/index.html
The excellent quality of the above course - which includes programming actual hardware (you have to invest about $50 for components) - raises the expectations for that upcoming course.
The page is already up for the new course "Real-Time Bluetooth Networks - Shape the World":
> In this lab-based computer science course, explore the complexities of embedded systems and learn how to develop your own real-time operating system (RTOS) by building a personal fitness device with Bluetooth connectivity (BLE).
- Enhance your embedded system skills
- Write your own real-time operating system
- Design, develop and debug C code
- Implement a personal fitness device
- Communicate using Bluetooth