Introduction of Embedded Systems Set-1

The core in embedded systems is an integrated circuit made to carry forward computation processes and operations in real-time. Embedded systems meaning can be stated as a microprocessor-based system designed to perform specific tasks. They are like miniature computers that have real-time constraints and can control or monitor actuators embedded system definition and sensors. This is much like your car which can automatically adjust its speed based on real-time traffic conditions. While many embedded operating systems are suitable for various devices, the choice of OS for an embedded system can be considerably influenced by the hardware layout and personal preferences of the programmer.

The first computer to use ICs, it helped astronauts collect real-time flight data. This architecture is used if event handlers need low latency, and the event handlers are short and simple. These systems run a simple task in a main loop also, but this task is not very sensitive to unexpected delays. Sometimes the interrupt handler will add longer tasks to a queue structure. Later, after the interrupt handler has finished, these tasks are executed by the main loop.


For example, an elevator might contain an embedded system, such as a microprocessor or microcontroller, that lets it understand which buttons the passenger is pressing. Embedded System is an integrated system that is formed as a combination of computer hardware and software for a specific function. It can be said as a dedicated computer system has been developed for some particular reason. But it is not our traditional computer system or general-purpose computers, these are the Embedded systems that may work independently or attached to a larger system to work on a few specific functions.

embedded system definition

ASIC implementations are common for very-high-volume embedded systems like mobile phones and smartphones. ASIC or FPGA implementations may be used for not-so-high-volume embedded systems with special needs in kind of signal processing performance, interfaces and reliability, like in avionics. In the case of a Raspberry PI system on a chip, an SD card acts as the device’s hard drive and contains the code that runs on the device.

What is an embedded operating system?

In contrast, a smart object such as a wireless temperature sensor deprived of its communication abilities would no longer be able to fulfill its purpose. Most embedded applications are in real time, meaning they respond to an outside event in a predictable way. Therefore, embedded systems frequently use real-time operating systems (RTOSes) to ensure that applications can handle data fast. Many embedded systems also require the system to process data within a set period. The RTOS measures processing delays in tenths of a second as the smallest delay can cause a system failure.

  • Most embedded applications are in real time, meaning they respond to an outside event in a predictable way.
  • The view of the code may be as high-level programming language, assembly code or mixture of both.
  • In certain applications, where small size or power efficiency are not primary concerns, the components used may be compatible with those used in general-purpose x86 personal computers.
  • An embedded system is a system in which the computer (generally a microcontroller or microprocessor) is included as an integral part of the system.
  • Typical automated jobs require robots to be fitted with sensors, actuators, and software that allow them to ‘perceive’ the environment and derive the required output efficiently and safely.
  • Many embedded systems also require the system to process data within a set period.

In 1965, Autonetics, now a part of Boeing, developed the D-17B, the computer used in the Minuteman I missile guidance system. When the Minuteman II went into production in 1966, the D-17B was replaced with the NS-17 missile guidance system, known for its high-volume use of integrated circuits. In 1968, the first embedded system for a vehicle was released; the Volkswagen 1600 used a microprocessor to control its electronic fuel injection system.

Embedded software

On some SOC devices the MPU also controls whether a memory region is cacheable. Embedded systems engage the physical world, where multiple things happen at once. Reconciling the sequentiality of software and the concurrency of the real world is a key challenge in the design of embedded systems. Classical approaches to concurrency in software (threads, processes, semaphore synchronization, monitors for mutual exclusion, rendezvous, and remote procedure calls) provide a good foundation, but are insufficient by themselves.

embedded system definition

Programming languages, such as embedded C, Python and JavaScript are among the many languages that can be used for embedded software development. Typically, a computer program known as a compiler is used to transform the source code written in a programming language into another computer language, such as the binary format. System is a set of interrelated parts/components which are designed/developed to perform common tasks or to do some specific work for which it has been created.

Embedded system

Sometimes, single board and rack mounted general-purpose computers are called “embedded computers” if used to control a single printer, drill press or other such device. See embedded market, smart car, Windows CE, Windows XP Embedded, Embedded Linux and embedded language. Real-time operating systems include products like MicroC/OS-II, Green Hills INTEGRITY, QNX or VxWorks. Unlike MacOS or Windows 7, these operating systems are not known very well by most people. But they are used in many places where time and safety is very important.

RAM is also known as the ‘data memory’ and is volatile, which means that it stores information only temporarily and is wiped clean when the power supply is turned off. On the other hand, ROM is also known as the ‘code memory’ and is responsible for storing the program code. It is non-volatile, storing system information even when the power supply is turned off.

Embedded System Program & Design

Hence, other components (for example, memories, communication interfaces) need to be integrated and work with the microprocessor as a whole system. In contrast, a microcontroller is a self-contained system, which includes a CPU, memories (e.g., RAM, flash memory), and peripherals (e.g., serial communication ports). 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. In embedded systems, software applications or software systems play a crucial role.

embedded system definition

If you want to pursue a career in embedded systems development, you can become an embedded systems engineer. Engineering careers belong to the occupational field of architecture and engineering. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 4 percent job growth in this category between 2021 and 2031. This figure translates into approximately 91,300 new jobs and is in line with the average growth for all occupations [1]. The following bulleted list outlines a few more shared characteristics of embedded systems. Charles Stark Draper developed an integrated circuit in 1961 to reduce the size and weight of the Apollo Guidance Computer, the digital system installed on the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module.

Meaning of embedded system in English

In this design, the software simply has a loop which monitors the input devices. The loop calls subroutines, each of which manages a part of the hardware or software. The view of the code may be as high-level programming language, assembly code or mixture of both. Here We will divide embedded systems upon their programs, design, performance, and functions. Embedded systems assure the safety and reliability of aerospace systems. They are used in aerospace applications such as navigation systems, satellite communication, and flight control systems.

Characteristics of embedded systems

It can also be defined as a way of working, organizing or doing one or many tasks according to a fixed plan. It is an arrangement in which all the unit combined to perform a work together by following certain set of rules in real time computation. Internet of things (IoT) devices cannot function without embedded systems. Learn more about their operation, their parts and how to choose the correct embedded system for an IoT device.

The link editor, also known as a ‘linker,’ is the component used to take one or more object files and integrate them to develop a single executable code. In the compiler, written code is directly converted into machine language. On the other hand, the assembler first converts source code to object code, after which the object code is converted into machine language.

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