Embedded Systems: Meanings, Components, and Applications

In contrast to an OS for a general-purpose computer, an embedded OS has limited functionality. Depending on the device in question, the system may only run a single embedded application. Given that, an embedded OS must be reliable and able to run with constraints on memory and processing power.

Often, embedded systems are used in real-time operating environments and use a real-time operating system (RTOS) to communicate with the hardware. Near-real-time approaches are suitable at higher levels of chip capability, defined by designers who have increasingly decided the systems are generally fast enough and the tasks tolerant of slight variations in reaction. In these instances, stripped-down versions of the Linux operating system are commonly deployed, although other OSes have been pared down to run on embedded systems, including Embedded Java and Windows IoT (formerly Windows Embedded). General-purpose microprocessors are also used in embedded systems, but generally, require more support circuitry than microcontrollers.

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The memory component is essential for storing critical data in embedded systems. This component is generally integrated into the microprocessor or microcontroller. The two types of memory are RAM (random access memory) and ROM (read-only memory).

embedded systems means

Generally speaking, they are small in form factor and drive specific computing tasks. While they are usually part of larger systems (thus the moniker ‘embedded’), they can serve as standalone devices too. Embedded systems are useful in applications with size, power, cost, or weight constraints. One area where embedded systems part ways with the operating systems and development environments of other larger-scale computers is in the area of debugging. Usually, developers working with desktop computer environments have systems that can run both the code being developed and separate debugger applications that can monitor the embedded system programmers generally cannot, however.

Embedded System

Another direction was related to the development of secure embedded systems. In particular, we explored the possibility of testing techniques to exploit the vulnerability toward side-channel attacks. Over the recent years, there have been a number of works, which analyze non-functional behavior to perform side-channel (security related) attacks. It would be appealing to see how existing testing methodologies can be adapted to test and build secure embedded software. Since these early applications in the 1960s, embedded systems have come down in price and there has been a dramatic rise in processing power and functionality. An early microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (released in 1971), was designed for calculators and other small systems but still required external memory and support chips.

embedded systems means

Embedded systems are commonly found in consumer, industrial, automotive, home appliances, medical, telecommunication, commercial, aerospace and military applications. Orange-Nassau, whose ruler was now also King William I of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, was ceded to Prussia but most of its territory aside from Siegen was then ceded on to Nassau. It is an arrangement in which all the unit combined to perform a work together by following certain set of rules in real time computation. It can also be defined as a way of working, organizing or doing one or many tasks according to a fixed plan. Middleware that has been tightly integrated and provided with a particular operating system distribution. Application software, which is the device’s application-specific software.

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A system on a chip (SoC) contains a complete system – consisting of multiple processors, multipliers, caches, even different types of memory and commonly various peripherals like interfaces for wired or wireless communication on a single chip. SoCs can be implemented as an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) or using a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) which typically can be reconfigured. An embedded OS enables an embedded device to do its job within a larger system. It communicates with the hardware of the embedded system to perform a specific function.

The assembler is for instances where assembly language is the programming language used to build the application. The assembly language program is translated into HEX code for further processing. Once the code is written, the programmer is used to write the program on the chip. This component’s core function is the development of an executable program.

Advantages of Embedded System:

Embedded systems are used in charging stations to provide computing power for graphics displays, automatically highlight technical issues, and alert technicians about upcoming maintenance requirements, among other functions. Embedded systems are crucial in several technologies, including the internet of things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices. Almost every smart device today uses this versatile technology in some capacity or the other. To ensure seamless system operations, a smooth and efficient power supply is a must. The power supply unit can either be live (such as from a wall adapter) or battery-powered.

  • Some embedded systems use an independent power supply, while others leverage the same source as the larger technology being powered.
  • Another difference between embedded and non-embedded OSes is in how the operating system is coded.
  • The other major problem with embedded chips was that they were so ubiquitous, with literally hundreds of billions of them installed in all kinds of equipment around the globe.
  • An embedded operating system is a specialized operating system (OS) designed to perform a specific task for a device that is not a computer.
  • A good example of this is the combination of an embedded HTTP server running on an embedded device (such as an IP camera or a network router).

For instance, some aviation systems, including those used in drones, are able to integrate sensor data and act upon that information faster than a human could, permitting new kinds of operating features. Broadly speaking, embedded systems have received more attention to testing and debugging because a great number of devices using embedded controls are designed for use, especially in situations where safety and reliability are top embedded system definition priorities. ASIC implementations are common for very-high-volume embedded systems like mobile phones and smartphones. ASIC or FPGA implementations may be used for not-so-high-volume embedded systems with special needs in kind of signal processing performance, interfaces and reliability, like in avionics. Some systems provide user interface remotely with the help of a serial (e.g. RS-232) or network (e.g. Ethernet) connection.


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embedded systems means

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History of Embedded Operating Systems

Finally, when classified based on microcontroller performance, embedded systems are divided into small-scale, medium-scale, and sophisticated categories, depending on the bit size of the microcontroller. Embedded systems consist of a processor, memory, and input/output units and have a specific function within a larger system. In many instances, however, programmers need tools that attach a separate debugging system to the target system via a serial or other port. In this scenario, the programmer can see the source code on the screen of a general-purpose computer, just as would be the case in the debugging of software on a desktop computer. A separate, frequently used approach is to run software on a PC that emulates the physical chip in software.

Debugging requires use of an in-circuit emulator, and debugging hardware such as JTAG or SWD debuggers. Software developers often have access to the complete kernel (OS) source code. Real-time operating systems include products like MicroC/OS-II, Green Hills INTEGRITY, QNX or VxWorks.

The embedded system is expected to continue growing rapidly, driven in large part by the internet of things. Expanding IoT applications, such as wearables, drones, smart homes, smart buildings, video surveillance, 3D printers and smart transportation, are expected to fuel embedded system growth. The sensor reads external inputs, the converters make that input readable to the processor, and the processor turns that information into useful output for the embedded system. In the automotive sector, AUTOSAR is a standard architecture for embedded software. Cooperative multitasking is very similar to the simple control loop scheme, except that the loop is hidden in an API.[3][1] The programmer defines a series of tasks, and each task gets its own environment to run in.