What is embedded system?

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.


In today's world embedded system is emerging as the essential component of modern electronics product. Embedded system designs are posing great challenges which require professional skills in new engineers. These skills are related to the combination of traditionally disjoint disciplines of engineering. I believe a new education paradigm is needed by which professionalism should come.  In particular I am explaining what embedded system is and where it is mostly used in today's world. I have defined all the branches of embedded system and it's uses. Moreover many projects can be made with this embedded system . this field is evolving so quickly and we can see it's results in day to day life. Size of things are decreasing and decreasing. All the credit goes to embedded system.


In embedded system we use different devices , instruments which are used to perform different tasks. An embedded products uses microprocessor or micro-controller to do one task and one task only. A printer is an example of embedded system, since the processor inside it performs only one task. More over in embedded system whole thing is controlled by the computer. Other examples of embedded system includes cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDA's). These cell pones and PDA's performs variety of tasks which are controlled by a system called built in computer system.  In today's time embedded system have made very terrific  achievements . Like these embedded system are also helpful in the inertial guidance system which is used in navigation by our navy. These system also help as a guidance package of smart bombs and missiles and also in the traffic lights system which are totally controlled by a system without the help of human interventions

We can also define embedded system as some combination of computer hardware and software which is suitably made for doing some specific task which is totally controlled by some system or through programming techniques. Today embedded system are used in many things some of which are like industrial machines , automobiles , medical equipments , cameras , aeronotical and more over also in toys. As we know that these all things are controlled by  some programming so these embedded system are provided with some programming interfacing. Many languages like embedded -c , embedded java, assembly language, c language are used in the programming of embedded language . through these languages we can do programming which is helpful in the embedded applications  or through which we can perform many applications which are run with the help of some micro-controller and micro-processor.


Microprocessor basically is a collection of on\off swiches put over silicon chip to perform different computation. Basic example of microprocessor is 8085.

Microprocessor 8085 is basic microprocessor. Many advanced nicroprocessor are designed after this microprocessor.

Characterstics of microprocessor:

  1. It has high speed in order of 100mhz to 4 ghz
  2. In microprocessor we have high consumption af power
  3. Heat loss also occurred
  4. It has large architecture(32 bit and recently 64 bit)
  5. High cost
  6. i/o ports: lots of input output ports.


Microcontroller is basically a chip on which all the memory (RAM, ROM) , input output ports are implemented which are used to control devices


  1. Low cost: this is less costly then microcontroller.
  2. High speed: microcontroller have higher speed than microprocessor i.e 10Khz - 20Mhz.
  3. Low power: microcontroller have less consumption of power  and it uses extremely less power in sleep mode.
  4. Achitechture: microcontroller have small architecture than microprocessor. Usually 8-bit achitechture.
  5. i/o ports: limited no of input output ports


By microprocessor is meant the general purpose microprocessor such as intel X86family or mootorola's 680X0 family. In microprocessor we have no rom, no ram and no input output ports on chip itself. That's why we call them as general purpose microprocessor. A system designer using a general purpose microprocessor such as Pentium  or the 68040 must add ram, rom , input/output ports , and timers externally to make them functional.aulthogh the addition of external ram , rom , and i/o ports make this system bulkier and much more expensive, but they have the advantage of versatility such that the designer can decide on the amount of ram , , rom and i/o ports needed to fit the task .

A microcontroller has a cpu in addition to a fixed amount of ram , , rom  ports and  timers on all a single chip . so we can say that in embedded system all these ram , rom ,ports and timers are embedded on a single chip, so in this the designer can not add any external  memory, i/o ports , timer on it.

This  fixed amount of on-chip ram rom in microcontroller make them ideal for many applications in which cost and space are critical.for example a tv remote control, ther is no need for the computing power of a 486 microprocessor. In many applications , the space it takes, the power it consumes , and price  per unit are much more critical consideration athan the computing power.certain input output operations are required  for these applications. Some microcontroller manufacturers  have gone as far as integrating and other peripherals in to the microcontroller.

Given below are examples of embedded system:=

A. Embedded applications used in HOME:-

  1. Appliances
  2. Intercom
  3. Telephones
  4. Security system
  5. Garage door openers
  6. Answering machies
  7. Fax machines
  8. Home computers
  9. TVs
  10. Cable tv tuner
  11. VCR
  12. Camcorder
  13. Remote controls
  14. Video games
  15. Cellular phones


  1. Telephones
  2. Computers
  3. Fax machines
  4. Copier
  5. Laser printer
  6. Color printer
  7. Paging


  1. Trip computer
  2. Engine computer
  3. Air bag
  4. ABS
  5. Instrumentation
  6. Security system
  7. Transmission control
  8. Entertainment
  9. Climate control
  10. Cellular phone
  11. Keyless entry



Automotive electronics is that technology in which all the components and parts of electronic component is embedded on a single chip. This application of embedded system deals with the electronics used in cars and other automobile engines.

In today's world embedded system is used in many automobile companies. All the features like power window , air bag , centre locking etc are the examples of embedded system which is used in todays technology. 


This also oneof the application of embedded system. in aircraft electronics lots of new achievements have been made with the help of embedded system.Now a days many facilities are provided to passengers whih became only possible due to the applications of embedded system.

In todays world we all know that lots of terrorist attacks are done. After the attack of 9/11 all the aircraft companies are in fear about the security system. At this time embedded system are very helpful in providing the incredible security system by which we can detect any type of weapon.

More over lot of entertainment is also provided to the passengers which also occurred due to the application of embedded system.


Embedded system also have applications in trains. We all are familier with the invention of bullet trains which travel at the speed of 500km/hr. these trains are so good and are totally computerized. Even these train can be drived without any driver as these trains can be controlled through a computer programming.

Moreover these electrical trains do not cause any pollution. So these trains are environment friendly. These electronics trains have high performance , low maintainance and low average cost and electric power. Power plant locomotive is far greater than other locomotive used like diesel etc. so electric locomotive can give higher output than diesel locomotive. Electric locomotive give very high efficieny even more than 90%. We can also increase efficiency more than 90% if we use regenerative brakes, by which kinetic energy can be reduced due to which power is regained bach at the same time.


Telecommunication is also one of the application of embedded system. In today's world we all are familier with the advantages of telecommunication . we all can talk to our relatives which are far away from us . telecommunications has give us many new features which are very helpful to us in day to day life.

Like call recording , call waiting , answering machine etc are very helpful in day to day life. Suppose we are not near the phone or we are busy due to which we can not attend the call so these answer machine will be very helpful. It will record the message if some one want to give to us in the absence of our.


Due to their small size and specific in their function, these embedded system are widely used in medicine, especially when used as a relatively large components. Currently ct scanners are introduced which are called computer tomography scanners which uses application specific integrated circuits which requires few inches. Photo diodes are yet another embedded system that are critical to CT scanners. Photodiode arrays are responsible for detecting different wavelength of light, a fundamental in ct technology.

MRT is more advanced and latest technology which is introduced in medical science recently. MGT is called magnetic resonance tomography. MRT requires the radia frequency signal and reception coils which respectively activate and receive the magnetic resonance signal in and place the patient under observation. The antenna which is used in magnetic resonance tomography are the example of medically applied embedded system. These embedded antenna are now more broadly used with the adoption of parallel acquisition technique for faster construction of images.









Microprocessor basically is a collection of on\off swiches put over silicon chip to perform different computation. Basic example of microprocessor is 8085.

Characterstics of microprocessor:

  1. It has high speed in order of 100mhz to 4 ghz
  2. In microprocessor we have high consumption af power
  3. Heat loss also occurred
  4. It has large architecture(32 bit and recently 64 bit)
  5. High cost
  6. i/o ports: lots of input output ports.


Sensors are electronic components which are used to measuer the property of the object.There are many type of sensors which are used at many places in day to day life.Some sensors detect the prorerty of object directly while some sensors detect the property of object indirectly by doing calculation or measurements. Sensors are mostly used by the engineers and scientists to do some research work/But these sensors can also be seen in day to day life like in some hotel there are sensor doors in which motion sensor is used. Temperature sensor is used in oven which we can see in our household.


MECHANICAL SENSORS:mechanical sensors uses mechanical methods to measure the property of objects. Although method is said to be electronic.One example ofmechanical sensor is strain gauge.

Types of mechanical sensors are:

§ Pressure sensors

§ Accelerometers

§ Potentiometers

§ Gas and Fluid flow meters

§ Humidity sensor

ELECTRICAL SENSOR:this type of sensor is used to measure the electrical and mechanical property of object. Like one example of electrical sensor is ohm meter which is used to measure resistance between two points.

Types of electric sensor include:

§ Voltmeter

§ Ammeter

§ Radar

§ Metal detector

§ Magneto meter

THERMAL SENSOR: Thermal sensors are used to measure the change in temperature. Like in ovens thermal sensor is used.

Types of thermal sensor include:

§ Thermometer

§ Thermocouples

§ Thermister

OPTICAL SENSOR: Optical sensor is very helpful in detecting the light waves. This could include light in the visible spectrum or outside the visible spectrum.

Type of Optical sensor includes:

§ Photo detector

§ Infrared detector

§ Fibreoptic sensor


These actuators are the final part of control system. These actuator receive a low power command signal and energy input signal to produce the require output. These are very important part in the embedded system which can not be neglected.


In embedded system we have 8-bit data bus and and 8  bit address bus , it means that we have 256 combinations.


As we all know that in embedded system we use different microcontrollers with the help of what we can design different projects. These projects are totally helpful in our day to day life. Like we can design a car in which we can give instructions that in which direction it will go. This is like some robotics. So here below given are some lists of projects which we can make with the help of embedded system.

  1. Colour intensity measurement
  2. Colour reflectance measurement
  3. Leaf moisture analyzer
  4. Access control system
  5. Data logger
  6. Bulglar alarm system
  7. Fire and smoke alarm system
  8. Autonomous robot
  9. Fluid flow measurement
  10. Baby incubator.



Some people blame and complaint very often that how bad their job or life is. But they did'nt realize that atlest they did'nt born blind. If we close our eyes for a minute then we will only see black  black all around. So how challenging is the life of a person who is born blind. He can not see and enjoys the beauties of life, blind people read by moving their fingers through braille dots from side to side. But Braille dots have some disadvantages that the person feels tired very soon because it use force pressing style to read.

With the invention of portable note-taker. A blind person can easily solve the above problems by using this portable note-taker . it is very small in size and enable blind person to add notes via Braille m-touch keypad, either to process , or to store words etc. this invention has become possible only due to invention of embedded system with the help of which we are getting things in Compaq form.