Embedded systems are at the core of a whole range of convenient and user-friendly gadgets commonly used in the modern world.
Gadgets ranging from simple mp3 players, digital watches and e-book readers to advanced traffic lights, airplane guidance systems and even climate control devices have made life more convenient, with everything made possible by the built-in embedded systems.
An embedded system is a computer built for one specific purpose and can be used for many things. A single device can have one or several embedded systems, as in cars, which can have separate embedded systems to control various functions from anti-locking brakes and automatic four-wheel drive to the heater and air conditioner among others.
Embedded systems are especially great for repetitive tasks that also need precision such as the anti-lock braking systems in vehicles.
Embedded systems find application in transportation, medical and fire safety systems because of their ability to perform tasks accurately in real-time without delay and almost without any external input.
Embedded systems have been around for a long time with one of the earliest ones used in the space shuttle, Apollo Guidance System in the 60s to reduce the size and weight of onboard computers.
Advances in technology have however made embedded systems cheaper and smaller, with widespread application in microwave ovens, water heaters and dishwashers.
Embedded systems are incorporated into various gadgets and appliances to perform specific functions.
Key considerations for incorporating embedded systems:
- Price: Embedded systems enable electronics to be affordable and efficient
- Size and weight: Embedded systems help achieve the development of products in a smaller and lighter form factor
- Productivity: Embedded systems work well as single function computers, conserving resources by eliminating the need to dedicate a whole general purpose computer to performing a single task