Embedded systems have changed the way our world operates. There is no imagination where we can think about our lives without the use of embedded systems. The exciting fact about these systems is that it’s compact and powerful. The size of the embedded systems keeps it hidden from our eyes, but the power of these small systems helps us in combating the most challenging tasks of day to day life. Let’s read more about these life-changing systems which are known to us with various household devices such as washing machines.
WHAT ARE EMBEDDED SYSTEMS?
As smart devices have changed the face of industries, the need for embedded systems is rising rapidly. A system designed and developed for performing specifically assigned tasks is an embedded system. The reason behind the name embedded systems is that the system is built by embedding software programs in the electronic device.
In simpler terms, the Embedded system devices can be defined as the combination of a hardware device and software application. The embedded hardware can be referred to as a processor or microcontroller where the software code written in machine language is dumped. When the program is flashed into the hardware, it starts performing the set of operations it was coded for. For example, a code is burned into a microcontroller for switching the LED on and off. The microcontroller will start working as an on-off switch for the LED.
Therefore we can say a microcontroller which is programmed to fulfil a particular purpose constitutes an embedded system.
An embedded system characteristic includes the following:
- It is used to perform specific tasks.
- It works on real-time inputs.
- An embedded system can be programmed to perform multiple functions.
- For every input, an embedded system takes counteraction.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF EMBEDDED SYSTEMS?
Embedded systems are one of the best tools to fulfil the needs of modern industries. They are compact, fast and have immense power. These qualities have made the embedded system an essential part of contemporary living. The importance of embedded systems is boundless. However, some of the points establishing the importance of these systems are as follows:
- The modern lifestyle comes with reduced form factor smart devices that can be wearable on our wrists, such as smartwatches or a handy SoS device. Therefore, embedded systems are essential to fulfil the compact needs with great power.
- Everything needs to be in real-time with low latency, which can be achieved by embedded systems.
- To achieve a particular task or functionality with zero tolerance of fault, we need embedded systems.
- From smart lives to moon missions, embedded systems are essential everywhere.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING EMBEDDED SYSTEMS?
Embedded systems, as stated above, are essential to serving the modern lifestyle. Some of the Benefits of embedded systems are listed below:
- Embedded systems are best for smart devices as they are small, powerful and can be fitted anywhere so that critical tasks can be performed easily.
- The embedded systems are easy to manage and can perform tasks with real-time input.
- The embedded system is less likely to break down or faulty as the defects can be traced early with software applications associated with the system and a patch can be released over the air.
HOW EMBEDDED SYSTEMS ARE DIFFERENT FROM GENERAL-PURPOSE SYSTEMS?
The difference between embedded systems and general-purpose systems are as follows.
|EMBEDDED SYSTEM||GENERAL PURPOSE SYSTEM|
|The program of an embedded system is known as firmware which cannot be modified easily once written.||The software codes of general-purpose systems can be modified by the end-user.|
|The three main elements of an embedded system includes Hardware, software and firmware.||Computer system has two main components i.e hardware and software.|
|It is designed for power-saving mode.||General-purpose systems are not specifically designed for power management.|
|Embedded systems are always integrated in another system||General purpose systems can work as standalone systems or can be integrated with another system.|
|The need of human interaction is not required by an embedded system.||A general purpose system requires human interaction as input to provide the output.|
|Embedded systems are time specific which means the task assigned to the embedded system needs to be performed in a given time frame.||General purpose systems are not bounded by time and can take more than required time to perform a task.|
|Embedded systems are smaller size systems with limited hardware.||General purpose systems are large size systems and mostly more than one system are integrated together to make a complete system.|
|Embedded systems come with limited storage as memory is limited.||General purpose systems come with large memory storage.|
EMBEDDED SYSTEM APPLICATIONS
Everything around us has an embedded system. From washing machines to our smartwatch, to spacecraft, all have embedded systems incorporated in them. Some of the applications of embedded systems are:
1. SMART DEVICES USED DAILY
We all might use embedded systems thousands of times a day in the form of Washing machine machines, TV remotes, smart home automation devices and our mobile phones etc. All these devices which are used to bring comfort in lives are applications of embedded systems.
2. EMBEDDED SYSTEMS IN HOSPITALS
Hospitals are shifting to automatic equipment for performing medical tasks. Embedded systems here can turn out to be a disaster as the medical industry is one of the critical sectors for delay or unwanted outputs. However, still, embedded systems are found in essential medical equipment such as blood pressure machines, finger-tip oximeters,sugar machines, ECG monitoring systems, etc.
In a pandemic situation such as covid 19, some of these plug and play medical devices are playing a vital role for home quarantining people.
3. SMART TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS
Embedded systems are widely used in the automotive industry for performing tasks such as anti-lock braking systems, ignition control, automatic driving, airbags, etc.
4. DEFENCE AND AEROSPACE
Security is one of the most significant concerns of the defence and aerospace industry. Embedded systems are used in various devices and defence systems, namely flight control panel, engine, turbocharger, thermal management system, etc.
These are a few applications of widely used embedded systems. Let’s understand the hardware part of an embedded system in detail.
WHAT IS EMBEDDED HARDWARE?
We have been reading about embedded hardware from the starting of the article. But what is embedded hardware? Is it the physical body of the system or the wires in the switchboard?
The embedded hardware consists of electronic components such as sensors,transistors, resistors, microcontrollers, etc mounted on a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). The PCB has copper pads or footprints for the components which are connected through copper tracks. The tracks on the PCBs are of the same use as of wires to connect various components and form a complete circuit designed to perform a specific task.These components are embedded together to develop the device circuitry with a controller or a processor in which the firmware program is flashed. This hardware equipment is physically available with the device and performs the tasks assigned to the device. For example, in a washing machine, the control panel consists of ICs, touch panels, LEDs, etc. Whenever the user operates the machine, the hardware devices detect the action and process the user’s request.
The embedded hardware is the electronic equipment that performs all the tasks and in which firmware is written to tell the hardware to complete the specific task. The embedded hardware are electronic devices which are embedded into a PCB to build an embedded development board. Some of the embedded hardware devices are processors, input devices, output devices, memory devices, controllers, etc.
WORKING OF AN EMBEDDED DEVICE
The basic working of an embedded device is the same for all kinds of embedded systems. However, the complexity of the system resides in the functionality assigned to the system. The basic working can be understood by four points.
- The user provides input to the system in the form of a specific input form. The input can be in the form of the touchpad, pushbuttons, sensors, etc.
- The embedded system processes the input in the way they are programmed.
- The input of the user will be converted into machine language after processing.
- After the system starts processing the input, the output can be seen.
WHAT ARE THE FUTURE TRENDS IN EMBEDDED SYSTEMS?
The future has a lot more in store than our thinking limits for embedded systems. Some of the future predictions for an embedded system made are
- Better security of the devices which are connected to the Internet.
- Automation will be more affordable.
- People will be more inclined to the use of embedded devices than traditionally used devices.
- Road safety will be in the top list of embedded systems development. Automobiles will be able to communicate to avoid accidents.
- Bluetooth will be made for unlimited range.
- Embedded systems and artificial intelligence together will be the game-changer of the future, and augmented reality will be used more frequently.
These are some of the predictions made for embedded systems’ future. But it would be interesting to know what future technology has in store for making the world a smarter place.
The world of embedded systems is endless, and these have changed almost every impossible into possible. Embedded systems are technology boon to the world and henceforth changing the way everything operates.
PsiBorg is working with Embedded systems to provide the best kind embedded systems for fulfilling every need. If you are looking for an embedded system partner, then your search is ended here. We offer best-embedded system solutions worldwide.