Hello friends, I hope you all are doing well. Today we are going to have an in-depth discussion on the Characteristics of Embedded Systems. We have discussed What is Embedded Systems? & Types of Embedded Systems in detail, in our previous tutorial. So, I am hoping that you have a clear idea of Embedded Systems.
Today, we will discuss different characteristics which are found in almost every Embedded system. So, let’s get started:
Definition of Embedded Systems
We already know that an embedded system can be defined as,
- “A dedicated system specially designed to perform a designated function, with a microcontroller or a microprocessor as its chief component, along with a software embedded in computer hardware, is called an embedded system.”
Components of Embedded Systems
Let’s have a brief overview of the components of an embedded system, which would later help us determine its characteristics.
- A microcontroller or a microprocessor is the heart of the embedded system.
- Embedded software keeps the embedded system on its feet.
- Embedded Hardware, mechanical parts which serve to perform the designated function.
- I/O ports acting as a connecting link between the peripheral parts and the microcontroller or the microprocessor whichever is serving as the core of the system.
- And lastly, a timer to carry out the tasks timely!
Characteristics of Embedded Systems
Without any further delay, we will now discuss some of the general characteristics of an embedded system;
- Embedded systems can either be domain-specific or task-specific.
- An embedded system is designated to perform the dedicated task only, it cannot be made to perform several automated functions from different inputs.
- Let me give you a basic example, you can only wash clothes in a washing machine, it cannot cook food so this is a task-specific embedded system.
- Meanwhile, domain-specific embedded systems fall under certain domains or categories such as a mobile embedded system is a domain-specific embedded system.
2. Strict Design Parameters
- The design metrics are pre-defined for every system but they are configurable to a great extent, or we can say there is room for additions and extensions in systems other than embedded systems.
- But there is very little room for extensions and additions in an embedded because we have to fix everything on a single chip, that can perform its designated function independently, as we have already discussed the components of an embedded system you can understand this very well by now!
- An embedded system must be efficient enough to react and respond to the real-time environment.
- In certain real-time embedded systems, a system has to react according to the real-time situation and adjust accordingly such as the air conditioner works on the same principle.
- The cruise control of a car also works in a real-time response manner by reacting to the real-time situation hence managing the speed and brakes.
4. Microprocessor or Microcontroller based
- The Embedded system must have a microcontroller or microprocessor.
Features of A Microcontroller
A microcontroller is different from a microprocessor, and a microcontroller has the following features being listed below;
- Most of the time a microcontroller is used according to the system requirements, which comes in different sizes such as 6 bit, 8 bit, 16 bit and 32 bit.
- The microcontroller is composed of an external processor and internal memory along with I/O components.
- It consumes less power because everything is present internally on the chip. A lot of microcontrollers have a power-saving mode as well.
- It is easier to write a program on the microcontroller.
- Some of the most commonly used microcontrollers are Arduino, 8051 Microcontroller and PIC Microcontroller.
5. Exclusive Memory
- Embedded systems don’t have a secondary memory, their memory is present in embedded software in the form of ROM.
- Embedded systems can’t have their memories extended or configured, have you thought why? Let me tell you because they are not general-purpose computers we use normally! They are dedicated systems for special tasks!
6. Multi-Rate Operational System
- Some of the large-scale embedded systems are multi-rate operational systems i.e a large number of embedded systems are performing their dedicated functions independently to run a system.
- All the multi-rate operational, embedded systems are well articulated to work synchronously with each other.
- A car is such an example, many embedded systems work independently to keep a car on road. Yo.com.derstanding of this concept, there is an in-depth explanation of embedded systems working in a car along with many others examples!
7. Compact Design
- An embedded system is designed to compact and lightweight as everything is to be placed on a single chip to perform a task including the microcontroller, timer, I/O parts, and the embedded software as well.
8. Minimal Power Dissipation
- Embedded systems are designed in such a way to dissipate power at its minimal.
- The goal is to conserve power and prevent overheating of the system by adding in heat sinks and cooling fans, and sometimes a larger battery is used to run the system.
9. Sophisticated Functionality
- Embedded systems are highly advanced and developed these days, which are not aware of the sophisticated functionalities of mobile phones and tablets.
- They are designed to perfection keeping in view the needs and demands of the consumer market!
- Every other person wants to own an Apple iPhone, isn’t it? Just because of their sophisticated functionality!
10. Minimal User Interface
- Have a brief look at your air conditioner, your oven, or your washing machine, you might have noticed one thing in common, a minimal user interface.
- Embedded systems are designed with minimal user interface because users have almost nothing to do by themselves, you only have to provide the input or we can say instructions, the system is already fully automated to perform the designated task accordingly!
11. Safety factor
- A safety analysis is always necessarily carried out for the embedded systems to ensure the safety of the operator and the environment in case of any material damage or hazardous emissions from the system.
- An embedded system is designed in such a way to make it cost-effective, overall the circuit is small since everything is present on a single chip.
- A compact design and designated functionality make an embedded system less costly and high speed.
So, that was all about the characteristics of embedded systems, I have tried to cover almost every aspect, or maybe I have missed one or two, if you know any of the additional characteristics that I have missed, you can let me know in the comment section below!
Have a good day!