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Peripherals and Interfaces (PI)

Credits Dept. Type Requirements
6.0 (4.8 ECTS) ESAII
  • Compulsory for DIE
  • Compulsory for DCSYS
  • Elective for DCSFW
EC1 - Prerequisite for DIE , DCSYS , DCSFW
F - Prerequisite for DIE , DCSYS , DCSFW
P1 - Prerequisite for DIE , DCSYS , DCSFW


Person in charge:  (-)

General goals

Students come away with a broader understanding of the most common peripheral devices used in information technology and the interfaces that allow them to be linked to computers. The subject aims to instil students with sufficient criteria for selecting the most appropriate components based on the requirements of each application. A further aim is for students to get to know the technology and internal architecture of peripherals and for them to be able to program them and thus adapt them to the needs of any given application.

Specific goals


  1. Technology, capabilities and limitations of the most common peripherals.
  2. Specific buses for peripheral devices.
  3. Systems for identifying products, and controlling and logging access.
  4. Multimedia systems.
  5. Mass storage devices.


  1. The use of development environments for peripheral device controllers.
  2. Monitoring and analysis of the functioning of peripheral device controllers.
  3. Implementation of low-level software control of peripheral device pipelines.
  4. Deciding the best way of connecting computer and peripheral.
  5. Deciding the most suitable peripherals for each application.


  1. Ability to conceptualise a system in block schemes.
  2. Analytical ability. Ability to recognise the weakest/most critical points in a design.
  3. Understand machinery diagrams.
  4. Ability to produce sound documentation.
  5. Compatibility between the environment and technology, and criteria of sustainable development.


Estimated time (hours):

T P L Alt Ext. L Stu A. time
Theory Problems Laboratory Other activities External Laboratory Study Additional time

1. The concept of peripherals. Development of peripheral devices.
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
2,0 0 4,0 0 4,0 4,0 0 14,0
  • Laboratory
    Description of development equipment (30").
    - Cypress Microprocessor
    - Description of the software development environment (30")
    - Visual C++ and Keil Compiler
  • Additional laboratory activities:
    Study of the documentation covering the practical work.

2. Specific interfaces for peripheral devices.
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
7,0 0 8,0 0 8,0 10,0 0 33,0
  • Laboratory
    Brief introduction to USB (20").
    - Description of USB-Cypress libraries (30")
    - Step-by-step explanation of the creation of a simple project (30")
    - Emulation of a USB keyboard
    - Explanation of the tasks to be performed (20") for the emulation of a USB mouse
    - Performance of student tasks (100")
  • Additional laboratory activities:
    Prior study of the documentation for the practice session.

3. User-machine input peripherals.
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
8,0 0 6,0 0 0 8,0 0 22,0

4. Identification and register peripherals.
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
6,0 0 8,0 0 8,0 8,0 0 30,0
  • Laboratory
    Reading bar codes (4 hours).
    - Description of a bar-code reader (20")
    - Explanation of the tasks to be performed (20")
    - Edge-triggered time interval capture. Binary decoding
    - Tasks to be carried out by student (200")
  • Additional laboratory activities:
    Reading of documentation and preparation.

5. User-machine output peripherals
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
5,0 0 8,0 0 8,0 0 0 21,0
  • Laboratory
    - Description of audio capture equipment (20")
    - Description of basic routines for capturing audio (30")
    - Explanation of the tasks to be performed (20")
    - Automatic detection of the beginning of the conversation
    - Recording in wav format
    - Tasks to be carried out by students (200")
  • Additional laboratory activities:
    Prior study of the documentation for the practice session.

Total per kind T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
28,0 0 34,0 0 28,0 30,0 0 120,0
Avaluation additional hours 4,0
Total work hours for student 124,0

Docent Methodolgy

This course avoids a clear-cut division between theory classes and classes of problems. This is intentional, given the course"s strong technological focus. Accordingly, the approach adopted is based on exposition of contents followed by subsequent a natural progression to discussion of specific cases.

A student-centred approach is taken to ensure a stimulating learning environment for students in which they fully participate. This approach is designed to encourage reflection, foster analytical skills, and help students appraise their own efforts in a critical light. As far as possible, the methodology will adopt the following sequence: exposition of the problem/objectives by the teacher; drafting of a proposal by students; evaluation of the proposal"s advantage/disadvantages (joint assessment by teacher and students); and possible improvements to the proposal.

A record will be kept of all incidents arising during the course and the advances made in each of the sessions (both theory an practice ones). Liason meetings will be held periodically, bringing together teachers so that they can pool their experience and suggest course improvements/changes.

Evaluation Methodgy

Course assessment is based on a part exam, a final exam, and three compulsory lab practice sessions carried out in groups of 2-3 students. A part exam (P) will be held once over 50% of the course material has been covered. The final exam (F) will cover all the course material and include a practical part. Theory makes up 75% of the course grade. The written exams (P and F) will contain: a part on theory (approx. 60% of the overall exam marks); a practical part (approx. 40% of the overall exam grades), which will assess students on their ability to solve specific problems.

The practical work will be marked through continuous assessment of lab work and of the reports on practical work by the respective work groups. Attendance of practice sessions is compulsory for matriculated groups. The lab grade (L) will make up 25% of the final grade for the course.

The lab grade (L) will be based upon the lab exam grade (EL) and assessment of practical work (AP). The lab grade L is calculated as follows: 0.3*EL+ 0.7*AP

The overall grade for the course will be calculated as follows:

NF=max { P*0.3+F*0.45+L*0.25, F*0.75+L*0.25 }

Basic Bibliography

  • Barry B. Brey Microprocessors and peripherals : hardware, software, interfacing, and applications, Macmillan Publishing Co, 1988.
  • George A. Smith Computer interfacing, Newnes, 2000.

Complementary Bibliography

(no available informacion)

Web links




Previous capacities

- Skills in programming basic tasks: searches, paths, periodic surveys.
- Knowledge of execution flow in Interrupt Service Routines (ISRs).
- Skills in implementing logic functions based on Boolean operators.
- Knowledge of edge-triggered bistables and 3-state logic gates.

Knowledge of controllers:
- Programmable time intervals (Interval Timer).
- Programmable Interruption Controller (PIC).
- Skills in calculating the minimum/maximum functions of a variable.
- Knowledge of basic electronics: Temporal study of RC circuits and CMOS and TTL logic gates.


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