Embedded Systems

Definition of Embedded Systems

  • An embedded system is a computer system built to perform specific tasks or to control certain functions.
  • Unlike general-purpose computer systems, embedded systems are designed to perform a specific task.
  • These systems are ‘embedded’ into a complete device which includes hardware and mechanical parts.

Characteristics of Embedded Systems

  • Embedded systems are designed for a specific function.
  • They are typically designed to have low power requirements, as they often operate on a battery or have minimal energy access in their environment.
  • They often have real-time performance constraints that must be met, for reliability and safety reasons.
  • These systems are generally small in size, making them lightweight and portable.

Examples of Embedded Systems

  • Examples of embedded systems include digital watches, MP3 players, traffic light controls, and washing machines.
  • Anti-lock braking systems in cars and autopilot systems in airplanes are examples of real-time embedded systems.
  • These systems can range from simple to very complex, depending on their specific function.

Embedded System’s Components

  • Every embedded system comprises of three components: the input, processor, and the output.
  • The input comes through sensors and the output could be anything from activating a motor to display on an LED screen.
  • The processor is where changes are made to the input data so the output device can use it.

Programming Embedded Systems

  • Embedded systems are usually programmed in low-level languages like C or Assembly, but high-level languages like Python and JavaScript can also be used.
  • Using high-level languages can make coding easier but may not always be suitable due to system constraints.
  • The main considerations when programming embedded systems are power consumption, speed, and memory.