Embedded Systems might sound super technical and complex to an ordinary man. But, we come across appliances equipped with embedded devices every now and then. Theoretically speaking, we will answer all your queries inclusive of What is an Embedded System, Embedded System Characteristics, and various Types of Embedded Systems.
As a matter of fact, you are holding one right now, i.e., your smartphone. Or probably you are accessing a computer screen. You can easily spot an embedded device around you. And also, we are addicted to using them daily.
Wondering how? Ever noticed, most of the time, we don’t realize the presence of embedded devices? Gadgets like washing machines, microwaves, Automated Teller Machines, mobile phones, etc., are all devices that integrate hardware and software (or firmware) to function. Such devices have embedded systems incorporated in them.
Embedded Systems Development enables the building of devices supported by software that performs single or multiple tasks.
Embedded Systems Characteristics: Know the System In & Out!
When someone defines human traits, we paint a picture of the person in our mind. Don’t we?
For instance, after listening to someone’s description, we think that person A is arrogant, or person B is very naive, and so on.
Similarly, embedded systems features are many. But, we have listed the most basic ones down below. Let’s explore the embedded system characteristics:
The foremost embedded system characteristic worth knowing is that an embedded system is no less than a computer. And, it is no surprise that every computer needs an engine. The systems engineer can decide whether he wants to put a microcontroller unit or a microprocessor unit (MCU & MPU).
You are reading this blog on your phone or computer screen. You scroll up and down; this means that you are interacting with the UI of the website. But, phones and PCs have bi-directional UI. But, an embedded system need not have an interactive UI.
Since there is no UI, it will be difficult to gauge the existing bugs. Hence, the system has to be built so that they function precisely.
Multiple processors control a vehicle. Are you thinking, why can’t mechanics use a single system to handle everything?
Well, each embedded system is meant to handle a specific function. The controllers might have similar characteristics overall. But, they will differ in the power, memory, different applications, inputs and outputs, and also operating systems.
You cannot expect an embedded system to perform a function other than the one it has been functioning to do.
Have you ever downloaded an embedded system application? Or have you ever seen an embedded app on Play Store or App Store? No, right?
All mobile applications and hardware devices are programmed embedded systems while manufacturing.
RTOS (Real-Time Operating System) is an OS that helps in ensuring that apps are processing the data right at the time of it being entered. A delay in data processing results in system failure.
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RTOS designs for embedded software development can be classified into two:
i. Event-Driven RTOS – RTOS switches to another task only in the case of a high-priority task.
ii. Time-Sharing RTOS – As the name suggests, switches to another task when the clock interrupts. There is no automatic assignment of priority tasks. The motto behind this is to ensure progress in all tasks.
We press a button on our device, and it quickly switches on. But, in reality, there is a long sequence of boot steps that we neither know of nor get to see.
In other words, it is simple in theory but complex practically.
First, here’s a comparison – Computers that we work on have a memory that we can calculate in terabytes (TB). But, when it comes to Embedded Systems, engineers always try to fit the required things into compact spaces.
Second, to make the devices user-friendly, embedded engineers have to efficiently design the machine. Their aim has to be the lowest possible power consumption without hampering the device’s output.
Having explained the characteristics of embedded systems in detail, we will throw some light on the types of embedded systems.
- Product Engineering
- Product Engineering
What are the Types of Embedded Systems?
Embedded systems types are divided into two sections. Various types of embedded systems in the industry differ a little in their characteristics. Read further to know more.
1 – Stand Alone Embedded Systems
The first type of embedded systems is stand alone systems. The name suggests that embedded systems neither need a host system nor a computer; they work independently. It accepts digital or analog inputs from the input ports to convert the data for connected devices.
Stand alone Embedded Systems Examples – Video Game Consoles, Digital Cameras, MP3 Players, etc.
2 – Networked Embedded Systems
This is the fastest growing type in embedded systems. It is a network (LAN, WAN, or Internet) that lets users access the resources. It can be a wired or a wireless connection. All devices are synced with the web server, and a web browser accesses and controls them all.
Examples of Embedded Systems – Home security systems with all sensors connected to the protocol.
3 – Mobile Embedded Systems
These are used in portable devices like smartphones, digital cameras, personal digital assistants, MP3 music players, etc. The only disadvantage is that they have limited memory.
Mobile Embedded Systems Examples – Fitted in digital cameras, personal digital assistants, MP3 music players, etc.
4 – Real-Time Embedded Systems
The RTOS embedded system is the one that provides the output in an immediate time frame. These embedded systems applications can be further classified into two systems – soft and hard real-time systems.
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Embedded Systems Terminologies
Do you remember your school days when there used to be a glossary section at the end of each chapter?
Similarly, the following are some terminologies that will help you in understanding embedded systems better:
1 – Reliability
Reliability is the possible chance of survival of an embedded system, and this is usually measured during the most crucial machine’s run time.
2 – Fault-Tolerance
The system’s capability to survive through all the barriers and faults, whether technical or mechanical, is the fault tolerance capacity of the system.
3 – Real-Time
Every embedded system is programmed to function well within time, and every action or counter-action has to be quick enough for the job to be completed.
4 – Flexibility
These systems possess debugging capacity that allows maintenance of devices even in remote locations. It’s like a spacecraft that goes into outer space on a mission with self-solving capabilities.
Final Chapter – What is an Embedded System?
We hope that we have answered your queries about what an embedded system is, embedded systems characteristics, and embedded systems types.
Being an experienced embedded system development company, we develop codes, test, and deliver high-end quality results. Be it a stand-alone or machine-to-machine (M2M) communication device, reach out to us for a robust solution. Hire embedded software engineers from Excellent Webworld for the most robust solutions.
What is an Embedded System? – Frequently Asked Questions
The major difference between embedded systems from general purpose systems is that the embedded systems are designed to perform only one specific function whereas general purpose systems are fully efficient to perform versatile tasks.
Following are the embedded systems characteristics: