This paper describes a new digital design laboratory developed for undergraduate students in this electrical and computer engineering curriculum. A top-down rapid prototyping approach with commercial computer-aided design tools and field-programmable logic devices (FPLDs) is used for laboratory projects. Students begin with traditional transistor–transistor logic-based projects containing a few gates and progress to designing a simple 16-bit computer, using very high-speed integrated circuits hardware description language (VHDL) synthesis tools and an FPLD. To help motivate students, the simple computer design is programmed to control a small autonomous robot with two servo drive motors and several sensors. The laboratory concludes with a team-based design project using the robot.
K. Newman, J. O. Hamblen, and T. S. Hall, “An introductory digital design course using a low–cost autonomous robot,” IEEE Transactions on Education, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 289–296, Aug. 2002.