PIC electronics for design and technology

Andy Cooper
1997, Vol. 2, No. 1,


It is easy to take the pace of technological change for granted. One hundred years ago I might have been producing this article on one of the first typewriters and writing about the opportunities for teaching electricity in schools. Today w.e have new materials and resources to inspire our youngsters. This article describes a development which could revolutionise the teaching of electronics.

While schools have been grappling with the National Curriculum and design and technology education has been fighting for its identity, the electronics industry has been experiencing an invisible revolution. The art of microelectronic miniaturisation has reached a level where the brain of the computer can be packaged in a single IC chip. These super chips have become known as PIC chips, a name coined by one leading chip manufacturer, Microchip Technology Ltd, which calls its range Peripheral Interface Controllers. PIC chips have been manufactured since the 1980s and are hidden in products such as TVs, videos, cars, washing machines, microwave ovens and mobile telephones.

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