Embedded Hardware

Embedded Hardware System Details


An embedded system can be an independent system or it can be a part of a large system. An embedded system is a microcontroller or microprocessor based system which is designed to perform a specific task. For example, a fire alarm is an embedded system; it will sense only smoke. It has hardware.


An embedded system consists of a processor, memory, and input/output units and has a specific function within a larger system. Embedded systems have applications in the consumer, home entertainment, industrial, medical, automotive, commercial, telecommunication, military, and aerospace verticals.


Embedded systems are also called embedded computers. Generally speaking, they are small in form factor and drive specific computing tasks. While they are usually part of larger systems (thus the moniker ‘embedded’), they can serve as standalone devices too. Embedded systems are useful in applications with size, power, cost, or weight constraints.

  • Processor - The brain of the system, it carries out instructions and processes data. Embedded systems can use microprocessors or microcontrollers, depending on the complexity of the task. Microprocessors are more powerful and have more complex instruction sets, while microcontrollers are more compact and optimized for specific tasks.
  • Memory - Holds data and instructions for the processor. Embedded systems typically use two types of memory: RAM (Random Access Memory) for temporary storage of data and programs being used, and ROM (Read-Only Memory) for storing permanent data and instructions, such as the embedded system's program itself.
  • Input/Output (I/O) - Enables the system to interact with the outside world. Input devices like sensors and buttons provide data to the system, while output devices like LEDs, displays, and actuators carry out actions based on the processed data.


How do embedded systems work?

Embedded systems are computers. Therefore, like most other computers, they contain a combination of hardware and software such as microprocessors, microcontrollers, volatile and non-volatile memory, graphics processing units (GPUs), input/output communication interfaces and ports, power supplies, and system and application code. However, embedded systems have four main factors that differentiate them from a typical workstation or server: purpose, design, cost, and human involvement.

Like any other computer, embedded systems leverage printed circuit boards (PCBs) programmed with software that guides the hardware on operation and data management using memory and input/output communication interfaces. The result is the terminal production of output that is of value to the end user. As such, at a fundamental level, embedded systems are not too different from workstations and servers.





Types of embedded systems

When considering performance and functional requirements, embedded systems are categorized into real-time embedded systemsstandalone embedded systemsnetworked embedded systems, and mobile embedded systems.


  • Real-time embedded systems prioritize prompt output generation and can be classified as soft real-time (lenient deadlines) or hard real-time (strict deadlines).


  • Standalone embedded systems can function independently without a host computer.


  • Networked embedded systems rely on network connections and communication for output generation.


  • Mobile embedded systems refer to small, portable devices such as smartphones and laptops.


Date : 07 Oct, 2023

  • Embedded Hardware

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