2018 FYEE Conference

Full Paper: A First-Year Computer Engineering Lab Project—Driving an LCD with an FPGA Embedded Processor

Presented at Technical Session VI

Recent National Science Foundation (NSF) research, aimed at improving the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) curriculum across all four years, makes strategic use of laboratory projects. The “spiral model”, adapted from other research, introduces certain lab component themes (in the freshman year) and revisits them with increased sophistication and interconnection in the following years. Thus, labs are used as a “cohesive framework” that connects and integrates individual courses. The three themes used in this research are centered on video (and image), sound, and touch sensors. In this paper, and a companion paper, we present our own design of two new lab projects (within the video/image theme). Specifically, this paper reports on the use of a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-based embedded processor to control a liquid crystal display (LCD). This approach is contrasted with using a state-machine for LCD control. The companion paper presents the design of a microcontroller-based voltmeter with measured voltage values shown on an LCD. The contribution of this paper is to provide a fully-working, easy-to-use, first-year lab project within the video/image theme of the spiral model approach to improving the ECE curriculum. The project design code will be made available for downloading on the internet, via the Bitbucket web-hosting service.

  1. Dr. Rod B. Foist California Baptist University [biography]
  2. Dr. Xuping Xu California Baptist University [biography]
  3. Mr. Timothy Gage California Baptist University
  4. Seth Truitt California Baptist University
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