Embedded System

An embedded system is a controller with a dedicated function within a larger mechanical or electrical system, often with real-time computing constraints. It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts. Embedded systems control many devices in common use today. Ninety-eight percent of all microprocessors manufactured are used in embedded systems. Modern embedded systems are often based on microcontrollers (i.e. CPUs with integrated memory or peripheral interfaces), but ordinary microprocessors (using external chips for memory and peripheral interface circuits) are also common, especially in more complex systems. In either case, the processor(s) used may be types ranging from general purpose to those specialized in certain class of computations, or even custom designed for the application at hand. A common standard class of dedicated processors is the digital signal processor (DSP).

Since the embedded system is dedicated to specific tasks, design engineers can optimize it to reduce the size and cost of the product and increase the reliability and performance. Some embedded systems are mass-produced, benefiting from economies of scale. Embedded systems range from portable devices such as digital watches and MP3 players, to large stationary installations like traffic lights, programmable logic controllers, and largely complex systems like hybrid vehicles, MRI, and avionics. Complexity varies from low, with single microcontroller chip, to very high with multiple units, peripherals and networks mounted inside a large chassis or enclosure.

Types of Embedded Systems:

1. Stand Alone Embedded Systems:

Stand alone embedded systems do not require a host system like a computer, it works by itself. It takes the input from the input ports either analog or digital and processes, calculates and converts the data and gives the resulting data through the connected device-Which either controls, drives and displays the connected devices. Examples for the stand alone embedded systems are mp3 players, digital cameras, video game consoles, microwave ovens and temperature measurement systems.

2. Real Time Embedded Systems:

A real time embedded system is defined as, a system which gives a required o/p in a particular time.These types of embedded systems follow the time deadlines for completion of a task. Real time embedded systems are classified into two types such as soft and hard real time systems.

3. Networked Embedded Systems:

These types of embedded systems are related to a network to access the resources. The connected network can be LAN, WAN or the internet. The connection can be any wired or wireless. This type of embedded system is the fastest growing area in embedded system applications. The embedded web server is a type of system wherein all embedded devices are connected to a web server and accessed and controlled by a web browser.Example for the LAN networked embedded system is a home security system wherein all sensors are connected and run on the protocol TCP/IP.

4. Mobile Embedded Systems:

Mobile embedded systems are used in portable embedded devices like cell phones, mobiles, digital cameras, mp3 players and personal digital assistants, etc.The basic limitation of these devices is the other resources and limitation of memory.

5. Small Scale Embedded Systems:

These types of embedded systems are designed with a single 8 or 16-bit microcontroller, that  may even be activated by a battery. For developing embedded software for small scale embedded systems, the main programming tools are an editor, assembler,  across assembler and integrated development environment (IDE).

6. Medium Scale Embedded Systems:

These types of embedded systems design with a single or 16 or 32 bit microcontroller, RISCs or DSPs. These types of embedded systems have both hardware and software complexities. For developing embedded software for medium scale embedded systems, the main programming tools are C, C++, JAVA, Visual C++, RTOS, debugger, source code engineering tool, simulator and IDE.

7. Sophisticated Embedded Systems:

These types of embedded systems have enormous hardware and software complexities, that may need ASIPs, IPs, PLAs, scalable or configurable processors. They are used for cutting-edge applications that need hardware and software Co-design and  components which have to assemble  in the final system.
  1. Small size and faster to load.
  2. More specific to one task.
  3. Easy to manage.
  4. Low cost.
  5. Spend less resources.
  6. These operating system is dedicated to one device so performance is good and use less resources like memory and micro-processors.
  1. Difficult to upgrade.
  2. If any problem occurs then you need to reset settings.
  3. Nearly not scalable.
  4. Hardware is limited.
  5. Troubleshooting is difficult.
  6. Difficult to transfer data from one system to other.


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