An embedded system could be thought of as a computer system, which has a dedicated function within a mechanical or electrical system, these come often with a real time computing system. These are systems that are embedded as a part of the entire system and more often include hardware or mechanical parts. This by contrast a general purpose computer such as general purpose computers, for example a personal computer. These are designed such that they are flexible to meet the wide range of the end user products. These embedded systems control many devices in daily use now a days.
The modern day embedded systems are now based mainly on the micro controllers but still the use of ordinary microprocessors is quite common, especially in more complex systems. However in both cases the processor used for the purpose may range from general purpose computers to very specialised computers also. A common standard class of the dedicated processors produced are Digital signal processors or DSPs.
However the key characteristic of an embedded system is however always dedicated by the task at hand or the function that it will serve. As these are designed for specific tasks, the design engineers can optimize the product to reduce the size and improve the efficiency. These things are also produced in mass in many places. These are a bit common and help in the economy.
Now, Embedded systems physically can range from portable devices to largely complex devices. Examples of portable devices where embedded systems are used- Digital watches, Mp3 palyers, I pods. Large devices containing mechanical parts- traffic lights, factory controllers, etc.
Embedded systems are commonly found in almost all places today from consumer cooking, automotive, industrial, medical, and commercial and many more. Other than them, telecommunication systems also employ embedded systems. These range from the telephone switches to network cell phones. They are also used in the routers.
Embedded systems used in consumer electronics include:
Personal Digital Assistants.
Printers at work and home
Amongst the household appliances the uses are:
Also used In Industrial Applications in advanced HVAC systems:
This is done to more accurately control and maintain the temperature of the system and surrounding. They also use networked thermostats for more efficient control over the temperature.
Uses in Transportation systems:
They are used in advanced avionics such as the inertial guidance systems, GPS receivers, and also in safety requirements.