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ATI's Developing Embedded Systems
& Electronic Products course

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    Technical Training Short On Site Course Quote

      This three-day course is for software engineers, hardware engineers, systems engineers, and managers who want to become more familiar with the “big picture” and a systems’ perspective for developing embedded systems and electronic products. Case studies and real-world examples illustrate each topic. The focus is on smaller projects of limited production run, such as medical devices, military equipment or spacecraft instruments. The course emphasizes thorough and careful processes. Students will receive course notes and a copy of the instructor’s textbook, Electronic Instrument Design: Architecting for the Life Cycle.


      Mr. Kim Fowler is a program manager for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and systems architect for Cool Stream LLC, a consulting firm. Kim has spent over 20 years in the design and development of medical, military, and satellite equipment. He wrote the textbook, Electronic Instrument Design: Architecting for the Life Cycle, published by Oxford University Press. He is Editor-In-Chief of the IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement magazine and writes the “Tried and True” column. He is an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer in Instrumentation and Measurement and lectures on the international circuit. He has published widely in engineering journals and has two patents, two pending, one filed, and 12 invention disclosures.

      Contact this instructor (please mention course name in the subject line)

    What you will learn:

    • What are the general steps to engineering an effective device or product?
    • What are the basic tradeoffs that you need to make in designing?
    • How do processes aid in developing better electronic products?
    • How do different components affect the system?
    • What are the constraints to designing dependable products?
    • Why are people so bad at scheduling and estimating and how can you do better?

    Course Outline:

    1. Systems Engineering. Basic elements of system engineering: process, design, and development. The “big picture” perspective. Review the basic steps: concept, requirements and specifications, design development, prototyping and field testing, validation, verification, integration, maintenance, and disposal.

    2. Fantastic Failures. Review some well-know disasters and failures, learn what went wrong and how we can avoid the same sort of problems. Examine some personal failures that bring these problems close to home and discuss ways that you can recover to prosper once again.

    3. Architecting and Architectures. Examine how to use and integrate system components and subsystems: interfaces, hardware, software, and tradeoffs. Margin management, fault tree analysis, failure modes effect analysis, dependability (which includes reliability, availability, maintainability, supportability, and fault tolerance). Consider the basics of real-time systems.

    4. Documentation. Manuals, engineering notebooks, source code, presentation materials, all the different ways that you can communicate a job well done.

    5. The Human Interface. User-centered design, elements of successful user interfaces on equipment and products: cognition, ergonomics, utility, image, and ownership. Sources of errors.

    6. Packaging. Environmental issues - temperature, vibration, shock. Design for assembly and disassembly. Component packaging. Wiring and cabling.

    7. Grounding and Shielding. General principles of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), interference, and susceptibility. Four basic noise coupling mechanisms: conductive, inductive, capacitive, and electromagnetic. Grounding configurations. ESD.

    8. Circuit Design. Using basic principles of physics and shielding, we cover circuit layout, PWB concerns, cable and connector selection and configuration. Noise and error budgets. Low power design. Standard interfaces. Design for manufacture and test.

    9. Power. Consider the different types of power converters and their advantages and disadvantages. Power distribution and it affects design decisions. EMC. Batteries. Alternative sources.

    10. Cooling. Mechanisms, types of heat transfer, and tradeoffs. Heat sinks and heat pipes. Fans. Liquid cooling. Evaporation and refrigeration.

    11. Software. Good programming practices, process, real-time issues, and limitations of software. Risk abatement and failure prevention.

    12. Review and Testing. Debugging, inspections, integration, validation, verification. Passive components. Transistors. Op amps. Analog-to-Digital converters. Digital components.

    13. Integration, Logistics, Maintenance, and Disposal. It ain’t over till it’s over. Review what happens once a product leaves design and development. Things to think about early in the process to prepare for a successful and useful product life.

    14. Processes. Review good, thorough processes to develop medical devices, military devices, and avionics. Explore standards such as the FDA Design Control Guidance, DO-178B, and medical device certification.

    15. Scheduling and Estimation. Examine components needed to schedule and estimate accurately.

    16. Build versus Buy. Factors in the decision: cost, quantity, resources, expertise, specifications, time-to-market.

    17. Problems and Case Studies. Examples of tradeoffs. Sprinkled throughout the lecture to illustrate specific points. You will have opportunities to contribute your ideas for solutions to the problems.


      Tuition for this four-day course is $1490 per person at one of our scheduled public courses. Onsite pricing is available. Please call us at 410-956-8805 or send an email to