Over 10 years we help companies reach their financial and branding goals. Digitak Marketing Agency in Pakistan (DMAP)  is a values-driven technology agency dedicated.


Office # 310, 3rd Floor, Al-Hafeez Heights 65-D/1 Sir Syed، Ghalib Rd, Gulberg III, Lahore, Pakistan


+92 300 8488 463

Software development

Difference between Computer and Embedded System

When a system-on-a-chip processor is involved, there may be little benefit to having a standardized bus connecting discrete components, and the environment for both hardware and software tools may be very different. Numerous microcontrollers have been developed for embedded systems use. General-purpose microprocessors are also used in embedded systems, but generally, require more support circuitry than microcontrollers.

embedded system meaning

Real-time embedded systems are designed to prioritize output results calculation speed; They are used in critical mission areas, like aerospace which requires important data at sudden moments. A general-purpose computer such as Pentium PC or Intel Industrial PC is not embedded systems as it doesn’t perform any specific embedded function. A PC itself is connected to many embedded systems, such as a printer, keyboard, mouse, scanner, modem and many others. Such systems perform specific functions and have their own microcontrollers in them.

Embedded Operating System Uses

While some embedded systems can be relatively simple, they are becoming more complex, and more and more of them are now able to either supplant human decision-making or offer capabilities beyond what a human could provide. 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. Also, in 1971, Intel released what is widely recognized as the first commercially available processor, the 4004. The 4-bit microprocessor was designed for use in calculators and small electronics, though it required eternal memory and support chips.

embedded system meaning

Arduino is an open source platform with a microcontroller that processes simple inputs, such as temperature or pressure, and turns them into outputs. These devices have a basic embedded OS that embedded system meaning acts like a boot loader and a command interpreter. The Arduino reads inputs from the car’s controller and sends output information and commands to other components, such as the brakes.

Characteristics of an Embedded System

These systems run a simple task in a main loop also, but this task is not very sensitive to unexpected delays. Sometimes the interrupt handler will add longer tasks to a queue structure. Later, after the interrupt handler has finished, these tasks are executed by the main loop. This method brings the system close to a multitasking kernel with discrete processes. An early mass-produced embedded system was the Autonetics D-17 guidance computer for the Minuteman missile, released in 1961.

embedded system meaning

When the Minuteman II went into production in 1966, the D-17B was replaced with the NS-17 missile guidance system, known for its high-volume use of integrated circuits. In 1968, the first embedded system for a vehicle was released; the Volkswagen 1600 used a microprocessor to control its electronic fuel injection system. This means that tasks performed by the system are triggered by different kinds of events; an interrupt could be generated, for example, by a timer at a predefined interval, or by a serial port controller receiving data. In this design, the software simply has a loop which monitors the input devices. The loop calls subroutines, each of which manages a part of the hardware or software.


On the other hand, non-embedded OSes like Windows and macOS are designed to give hardware access to user applications. Users can install any app they want as long as it is designed to run on the OS. The hardware that a non-embedded OS runs on is also customizable to some extent. An example of a multitasking embedded OS is the operating system used in Internet of Things devices like smart speakers. The smart speakers have to not only output music but also connect to the internet and search for music.

embedded system meaning

These modules can be manufactured in high volume, by organizations familiar with their specialized testing issues, and combined with much lower volume custom mainboards with application-specific external peripherals. Any electronic system that uses a computer chip, but that is not a general-purpose workstation, desktop or laptop computer. Such systems use microcontrollers (MCUs) or microprocessors (MPUs), or they may use custom-designed chips. Deployed by the billions each year in myriad applications, the embedded systems market uses the lion’s share of electronic components in the world. Embedded system design should meet the performance and security with added safety. To ace this, the focus must be kept to implement a prototype and integrate futuristic technologies like MQTT, Big data, and cloud computing.

Trenton Systems

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. However, that application is likely crucial to the device’s operation. Given that, an embedded OS must be reliable and able to run with constraints on memory and processing power. In the healthcare and automotive sectors, embedded devices are used in pacemakers, MRI scanners, PET scanners and vehicles. The aerospace industry uses embedded devices in air traffic control (ATC) systems, radar and flight control systems, navigation systems, aircraft management systems, flight recorders and collision avoidance systems.

Transportation systems from flight to automobiles increasingly use embedded systems. New airplanes contain advanced avionics such as inertial guidance systems and GPS receivers that also have considerable safety requirements. Various electric motors — brushless DC motors, induction motors and DC motors — use electronic motor controllers.

Power Consumption

But an embedded Microcontroller or Microprocessor unit interfaces few or all the peripherals to the CPU on a single SOC (System On Chip) IC. In connected vehicles these systems are even more complex, incorporating vehicle-to-intersection and vehicle-to-anything or “V2X” communications systems. The computer is designed to carry out all these tasks and enhance the driving experience. Laser Printers are one of the examples of Embedded Systems which uses embedded systems to manage various aspect of the printing.

  • Every Embedded computing device may be your computer or mobile has some inputs and corresponding outputs.
  • Now that you know the basics of embedded OS, you’re ready to dive into a real example.
  • Another difference between embedded and non-embedded OSes is in how the operating system is coded.
  • This type of embedded systems have lots of hardware and software complexities.
  • These characteristics are also helpful when deciding which of these high-performance computers is suitable for your program or application.
  • 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.
  • It requires generalized abstractions between the application program logic itself and the low-level system interfaces.

For instance, your smart TV might contain an embedded operating system and a plethora of features as well as complexities. The more features, the more bugs and security vulnerabilities that must be managed. The operating systems of such devices are designed to be updated to eliminate bugs or add new features and offer the best customer experience. The following article provides an outline for What is Embedded Systems? By Wikipedia, “An embedded system on a plug-in card with a processor, memory, power supply, and external interfaces.

Preemptive Operating System

Embedded operating systems are developed with programming code, which helps convert hardware languages into software languages like C and C++. In the case of a Raspberry PI system on a chip, an SD card acts as the device’s hard drive and contains the code that runs on the device. The embedded OS makes the device’s hardware — such as USB and HDMI ports — accessible to the application running on top of the OS.



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *