How to introduce myself to the microprocessor world (MOVE FORM MCU's to MPU's)

Thread Starter

Cblue ZX

Joined Nov 28, 2022
Hi everyone!, im currently a student, i know about electrical circuits, basic electronics, digital circuits, basic digital design, microcontrollers, programming and other things, im a biomedical engineer and currently im working as service engineer (giving maintenance to medical equipment) but i want to move on in the near future to a job about design of medical equipment and i want to focus on embedded systems for medical equipment.
I have designed small projects like ECG, EEG (amateur designs) using microcontrollers, i know about PIC's and STM32, and i know C programming (currently learning C++ and micropython).
I have read the requirements for the kind of job i want in the future and in that jobs they want things like:
and other things.

My first question is: by 'SoC' they are referring to microprocessors?

And the second (and more important for me) is:
How can i start in the world of MPU's, how can i 'migrate' from using MCU's to using MPU's?
Because i only know the difference between MCU and MPU but i dont know anything else, i dont know if they can be programmed in C or is only on assembler, idk even if they can be programmed, i dont know where to start.
I wanted to start reading a book about MPU design using FPGA but idk if this is the right way, because in the job i want they dont want me to design a MPU, they want me to use it in order to design medical equipment; i mean i want to learn about MPU design in the future but for now i want to learn how for example to throw away mi ECG using PIC and design an ECG using and MPU.

Can you guide me in the right way? i mean the "recomended way" and materials like courses in udemy etc... or books, or youtube tutorials or a blog...

Thanks in advance!



Joined Oct 2, 2009
Welcome to AAC!

MCU vs MPU vs CPU vs SoC vs FPGA

What do all of these acronyms mean?
While one can create clear definitions and distinctions of these terms, in the embedded application world you can just about ignore them all.

In embedded systems the most common term used is MCU, meaning Micro Controller Unit.
This is a single IC (integrated circuit) that contains everything that is required to implement a working system. It contains CPU, memory, hardware devices, communication devices, analog and digital modules, etc.

For biomedical applications (and just about every other complex embedded application) you want to select an MCU with sufficient computational power, memory, and all required hardware and communication devices, while running on very little electrical power. When an item is lacking you will have to add that additional functional module externally.

If I am allowed to give a plug for one MCU manufacturer, it would have to be STMicroelectronics and their family of STM32 MCUs.
You need to select one manufacturer, it's family of MCUs and take them to their limits.


Joined Aug 21, 2008
Go to your nearest distributor and buy a small micro controller and a programmer. Download the Integrated Development Environment and install it on your computer. Then think of a small project like blinking a LED. That's the way many of us got started. You can find tutorials on the internet.

I started with the MOS6502 and was able to move around to different microprocessors and controllers easily because they have many functions in common. Something like an AVR or PIC would be a good choice for starting with these days. Even 8051 derived controllers would be pretty easy.