What is an Embedded System? Definition and FAQs

The advantages and disadvantages are similar to that of the control loop, except that adding new software is easier, by simply writing a new task, or adding to the queue. There are several different types of software architecture in common use. He is an accomplished SEO expert with a keen interest in driving organic traffic and optimizing website performance. His forte is building high growth strategies, technical SEO, and generating organic engagement that drives long-term profit. These systems come with unique characteristics like time-saving and ease-of-doing which differentiate them from other computer systems. First of all, you need to know and understand the end-user specifications.

embedded system definition

Every Embedded computing device may be your computer or mobile has some inputs and corresponding outputs. Some of the examples of input devices are sensors, switches, photo-diode, optocoupler etc. The medical field is a critical one, and the use of embedded systems is a nightmare. The odd design may lead to a disastrous effect on society or an individual. Examples are Blood pressure monitors, Heartbeat monitors, pacemakers, telesupervision and surgery, Scanners, Portable Ventilators.

A Quick Overview of Electronic Hardware

For example, router and switch systems are embedded systems, whereas a general-purpose computer uses a proper OS for routing functionality. However, embedded routers function more efficiently than OS-based computers for routing functionalities. Because an embedded system embedded system definition is engineered to perform certain tasks only, design engineers may optimize size, cost, power consumption, reliability and performance. Embedded systems are typically produced on broad scales and share functionalities across a variety of environments and applications.

embedded system definition

You can gain embedded systems programming skills with a certificate in an online course like the University of Colorado Boulder’s Introduction to Embedded Systems Software and Development Environments. Embedded systems engineers possess a combination of technical and workplace skills. Then, the following sections sort technical skills into two categories—programming and design. Consider using the checklists below to identify areas of focus for your study.


The navigation system of a plane is a good instance of a real-time operating system. The main computer of an airplane is connected to most control systems such as the wing, engine, pressure controls, and safety. As a result, it is specifically built to work inside a plane and help with takeoff, landing, and emergency operations. A real-time operating system (RTOS) is a deterministic operating system with limited functionalities that allows multi-threaded applications by giving processed outputs within set time limitations.

embedded system definition

We assume that there are rate constraints on the execution rates of processes imposed by the designer or the environment of the system, where the execution rate of a process is the number of its executions per unit time. We address the problem of computing bounds on the execution rates of processes constituting an embedded system, and propose an interactive rate analysis framework. As part of the rate analysis framework we present an efficient algorithm for checking the consistency of the rate constraints. Bounds on the execution rate of each process are computed using an efficient algorithm based on the relationship between the execution rate of a process and the maximum mean delay cycles in the process graph. Finally, if the computed rates violate some of the rate constraints, some of the processes in the system are redesigned using information from the rate analysis step.

Characteristics of an Embedded System

Depending on the design, these devices contain a variety of built-in functions. For example, some sensors detect vehicle entry and exit, while others require the driver https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ to enter the parking space or vehicle license. A user interface offers the driver options, including defining the expected return time and paying appropriately.

embedded system definition

Network Embedded Systems works via a wired or wireless connection to communicate with host and server devices; provide input data to the host, and then provide output results to users. Embedded systems are microprocessor-equipped systems and devices that interact with the physical world. Examples include traffic lights, a ship’s rudder controllers, and washing machine controllers. Interrupt Service Routine (ISR) interruptions are generated by this system.

Top Embedded Programming languages

Typically, an embedded system consists of hardware and application software components. Therefore, an embedded system can be defined as a microprocessor- or microcontroller-based, software driven, reliable, and real-time control system. Figure 2.12 shows an embedded system on a plug-in card with multiple components such as processor, memory, power supply, and external interfaces. Given the increasing complexity of the software running on embedded systems, it is increasingly likely that the SOC has a significantly more capable protection mechanism known as a memory management unit (MMU). The MMU provides protection and a fine-grained address translation capability between the processor’s address space and the physical addresses used throughout the system. The processor address space is known as the linear address space on Intel processors and is often referred to as virtual address space by other architectures.

It produces an easily understandable result by humans in many formats such as images, text, and voice. Embedded operating systems are developed with programming code, which helps convert hardware languages into software languages like C and C++. The hardware that runs an embedded operating system is usually quite resource-constrained. Embedded hardware systems are typically quite specific, and it means that these systems are designed to cover certain tasks due to limited resources. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the price of integrated circuits dropped and usage surged.

Preemptive Operating System

These modules can be manufactured in high volume, by organizations familiar with their specialized testing issues, and combined with much lower volume custom mainboards with application-specific external peripherals. Device drivers or Board Support Package (BSP) are the core software components that control a peripheral device and supports connectivity. The user has to derive the low-level drivers for the microcontroller or microprocessor using specific control and data registers given in the datasheet. Next to the top of the low-level driver a high-level driver has to be written for the application software.

  • It is an operating system that assures that tasks in a system may operate for a specific amount of time and duration of time.
  • Although groups must have distributed implementations in real deployments, they are centralized objects in the simulator.
  • One of which was automated fault-localization and repairing of bugs related to non-functional properties.
  • Moreover, Machine learning and artificial intelligence will play a crucial role in designing embedded system products.
  • This method brings the system close to a multitasking kernel with discrete processes.

Importantly, the embedded software has to be optimized for memory and power constrained Microprocessor and Microcontrollers. Traditionally, at least until the late 1990s, embedded systems were thought to be synonymous with real-time control systems. Real-time control systems are computer-based systems used to control physical processes such as the pressure of a nozzle, the rudder of a ship, or the temperature of a radiator. In these control systems, an embedded computer typically is used to control the signals to an actuator that controls the phenomenon to be controlled. For a control system to work, it is imperative that the embedded computer produces signals to control the actuator with precise timing.

Embedded vs. non-embedded OSes: What’s the difference?

Embedded OSes and devices play a large part in the internet of things. Learn how NOR flash memory works well as an embedded device in automotive, medical and consumer devices. The Embedded system industry is foreseen to grow swiftly and driven by potential tech developments include virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, and IoT. Embedded systems will be the main component of these upcoming technologies to make them more efficient and accurate. It is why we see the more innovative and lesser size, weight, power, and cost consuming systems every time in the embedded computer system market.