What are embedded systems; Working, advantages, disadvantages, types and future

Embedded suggests that hooked up or attached to a different thing. Embedded system is thought of as an element system having software package embedded in computer hardware application.  Embedded system can be a whole system alone or it can be a part of some larger system. Embedded system could be a microcontroller or chip primarily based system that is meant to perform a selected/specific task. As an example, a fireplace alarm is an embedded system; it will sense solely smoke.

Embedded World 2014 Hitex Developer Board (03)
Thomas Springer / CC0


An embedded system could be a computer system—an integration of a computer processor, hardware, and I/O peripheral (Such as sensors and actuators)—that incorporates a dedicated function within a bigger mechanical or electronic system. It’s embedded as a part of an entire device often including electronic hardware and mechanical parts. Because an embedded system mostly handles physical operations of the machine that it’s fabricated within, it often uses in real-time computing. Embedded systems handle many devices in common use today. 98% of all microprocessors manufactured are employed in embedded systems.

Modern embedded systems are often supported microcontrollers (i.e. microprocessors with a combination of memory and I/O peripheral interfaces), but ordinary microprocessors also are common, especially in additional complex systems. In either case, the processor used also types starting from general-purpose to those specialized during a certain class of computations, or maybe bespoke for the applying at hand. Since the embedded system is devoted to some specific tasks, embedded design engineers can optimize it to scale back the scale and value of the merchandise and increase the reliability, efficiency and performance.


There are several devices available in the market for managing embedded applications. Embedded systems are controlled by some sort of microcontrollers or application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC), digital signal processors (DSP), field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), GPU technology or logic gate arrays. These processing systems are integrated with many other components and devices dedicated to handling electric or mechanical interfacing.
Programming instructions for Embedded systems, stated as firmware, are stored in flash memory or non-volatile storage chips, running with limited element resources. Embedded systems connect with the skin world through peripherals (such as sensors, actuators, or other devices).

Bassem Ouni, Cécile Belleudy, Eric Senn / CC BY 


Components of an embedded system:

However, the embedded system can contain many devices such as sensors, actuators, external ram, I/O peripheral but some components are necessary for embedded systems which are discussed below

  • SENSORS: Sensors are the devices which are used to sense the behaviour of the environment. These used to monitor the condition of the surrounding and collect data of specific type. There are many types of sensors are available in the market. For example, the thermistor is a sensor, which used to sense the temperature of the surrounding. Similarly, many sensors are available which can measure humidity, light, water level and much more.
Oregon Scientific sensors leecher
Gaël Chardon / CC BY-SA 
  • Microcontrollers: Computing Machine: Every IoT device has a computing machine for computing data from sensors called microcontrollers. It is a compact integrated electronic chip designed for computing specific task. The microcontroller may be defined as a compact microcircuit designed to control a particular operation in an embedded system or internet of things application. A typical microcontroller consists of a processor, memory and input/output (I/O) peripherals on one chip.

Some examples of microcontrollers are Arduino, raspberry pi development boards. A typical microcontroller has

    • Processor
    • Memory
    • I/o Pins (input/output)
    • Peripheral

  • ADC OR DAC: There are many types of sensors and actuators are available in the market. Some sensor take values in analogue form and some take values in digital form. But processor only analyzes data in digital form. Therefore there must be Analogue to digital converter (ADC) to convert this analogue signal to digital signal to be analyzed by the processor. Similarly, to run analogue actuators, there must be DAC (Digital to analogue converter) to convert the digital signal from processor to analogue form.
  • Actuators: We can say actuators as output devices that perform operations at processors command (after all processing is performed). These actuators can be some motor, some light or any other electrical or mechanical gadget.

APPLICATIONS OF EMBEDDED SYSTEMS: embedded systems have various applications in the industry ranging from low cost to high cost, medical to weapons and electronics devices to industrial applications. Some applications of an embedded system are home appliances, smart industry, smart homes, security, telecommunication and much more.

  • Home Automation: The motivation of this project is to style a home automation system integrated with the Android application based device. Remote operation is performed by Android OS based smart-phone or Tablet etc., upon a Graphical computer programme based web application. so as to attain this, mobile application act as a transmitter, that sends instructions to the receiver to every device

  • War Spying robot: The main aim of this project is to style a robotic vehicle employing RF technology for remote military operation and combined with wireless camera for monitoring purpose. These robots can wirelessly transmit real-time situation video with night-sight This kind of robot is often useful in spying purposes in war fields. An 8051 series of the microcontroller is employed for the required operations.


Advantages of an embedded system:

Here is the list of some advantages of embedded systems

  • These systems are usually specific for one task, therefore, easy to manage
  • These systems consume fewer resources and give excellent results. Therefore, these are cost-efficient systems
  • These systems are very flexible as they have built-in debugging features

Disadvantages of embedded systems:

There are several disadvantages of embedded systems such as

  • These systems are difficult to upgrade. If any problem occurs in the system, the whole system should be reset
  • Hardware is limited in these systems which is a big problem faced by developers. More hardware in these systems makes them costly.

Types of Embedded systems:

There are three types of embedded systems

  • Small-sized embedded system
  • Medium scaled embedded system
  • Sophisticated embedded systems

Small-sized embedded systems are those systems that can be developed with a single 8 or 16-bit microcontroller

Medium scaled embedded system are somewhat more complex embedded systems in terms of both hardware and software and these are mostly developed by 32-bit microcontrollers

Sophisticated embedded systems are more complex in terms of hardware and software. These systems can use a number of microcontrollers for the task.

Future of embedded systems:

The Statista States the fact as:

“The global embedded computing market is forecast to amount to about 34.63 billion U.S. dollars in size in 2019. The market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, almost doubling in size by 2027.”

Future of the embedded system is very bright. However, this technology is working from the 1960s; it is still important from the market perspective. Its integration with the internet and networking called the Internet of things has become very popular nowadays. Internet of things applications are used widely for controlling applications remotely. It is further integrated with machine learning and artificial intelligence where data collected from sensors are deployed by the machine learning algorithms and machine take decisions itself learning from these data.

What do you think?

Written by Ghost

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