by Matthew Cipolla | 8:02 am

Embedded systems are often overlooked in the world of electronics even though these are probably some of the most important components. These embedded systems actually help us run our lives. These are not as general purpose computers, even though people often confuse the two.

An embedded system is a combination of software and hardware, and it is either programmable or non-programmable. For example – cameras, washing machines, industrial machines, tablets, mobile phones, etc. The reason for their name is due to the fact that they are not a device in themselves but are part of a larger device, and these have specific functions.

There are microprocessors as well as microcontrollers as well as digital signal processors which are part of this.

The characteristics are that these systems are task specific. Some of them have various time constraints in mind, and these could come with a user interface, though having one is not necessary. There are yet others that have a minimal user interface.

These systems are reactive, and they only function when they interact with external stimuli or depend on inputs by some other system. They, however, are very efficient. They also are frugal as they are part of some other device and so they need not to consume too much power or even be too expensive. These are very stable and are made to work for long periods of time without problems.
There are different categories of these devices. There are standalone ones which are self-sufficient. These devices do not need a host system and nor do they need a computer in order to function. The real-time systems are those which give an output within a specific time period. There are also networked ones which are connected to a network like the home security system. There are also mobile ones which are used for mobile communications.

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