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ImageMcMurry computer science students taking Assembly Language and Computer Organization with Dr. Robert Watson are putting the material they are learning into practice using a custom lab kit developed specifically for this semester’s course.

The kit consists of a custom designed printed circuit board along with a Microchip “PICkit 3″ development system. With these kits students can write programs in assembly language that control the peripheral devices on the board to solidify their understanding of assembly language programming. The simplicity of the system provides a readily acessible example of computer architecture that is visible to the students as they study the architectural elements of the course.

The printed circuit board features a Microchip PIC processor, numeric LED display, miniature joystick, and a temperature sensor. Among the applications students can create for this hardware are a thermometer, clock, random number generator, “clicker” counter, stopwatch, and countdown timer. Other tools and games can be created, limited only by the imagination of the student. Students keep the lab kit after completing the course so that they can continue to develop their programming skills