What is an Embedded Operating System?

Chip manufacturers for embedded systems include many well-known technology companies, such as Apple, IBM, Intel and Texas Instruments. The expected growth is partially due to the continued investment in artificial intelligence (AI), mobile computing and the need for chips designed for high-level processing. As the complexity of embedded systems grows, higher-level tools and operating systems are migrating into machinery where it makes sense.

embedded systems meaning

The link editor, also known as a ‘linker,’ is the component used to take one or more object files and integrate them to develop a single executable code. LEDs are widely used in electrical circuits to indicate whether the circuit functions correctly. The sensor reads external inputs, the converters make that input readable to the processor, and the processor turns that information into useful output for the embedded system. In the automotive sector, AUTOSAR is a standard architecture for embedded software. A number of companies manufacture and sell microcontrollers, including NXP Semiconductors, Renesas Electronics, Silicon Labs and Texas Instruments.

What is an Embedded System?

Often this type of system must do its work in a specific amount of time. If a set-top box got interrupted to do another task, you would see a bad picture on the TV, for example. A general purpose computer will often have short pauses while it does something else, it is not real-time. Embedded systems engage the physical world, where multiple things happen at once.

embedded systems meaning

Electronic circuits made using a PCB are more cost-effective and operationally efficient than wire wrap or point-to-point configurations. Timers are used in applications requiring the creation of a delay before the execution of a specific function by the embedded system. On the other hand, counters are used in applications where the number of times a specific event takes place needs to be tracked.

Operating systems

If you are thinking about a good career and you are good at your academics as well as learning, you must prefer an embedded system as a core part of any big development. An Embedded System is a system that has software embedded into computer-hardware, which makes a system dedicated for a variety of application or specific part of an application or product or part of a larger system. Network, or networked, embedded systems rely on wired or wireless networks and communication with web servers for output generation. Real-time embedded systems are further divided into soft real-time embedded systems and hard real-time embedded systems to account for the importance of output generation speed. Web applications are often used for managing hardware, although XML files and other output may be passed to a computer for display.

Now after getting what actual systems and embedded mean we can easily understand what are Embedded Systems. Middleware that has been tightly integrated and provided with a particular operating system distribution. Application software, which is the device’s application-specific software. An embedded system is a computational system (a computer-like device) set within another device or system—for example, a control unit embedded within a home appliance.

Classification of an Embedded System

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. It is a microcontroller or microprocessor-based system which is designed to perform a specific task in a better way. This is one that has a dedicated purpose software embedded in computer hardware. Microcontrollers are simply microprocessors with peripheral interfaces and integrated memory included. Microprocessors use separate integrated circuits for memory and peripherals instead of including them on the chip.

  • 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.
  • It does this by interpreting data it receives from its I/O peripherals using its central processor.
  • It is unusual to run a general-purpose operating system such as Linux, although a limited version of Linux is available for such devices, known as uCLinux.
  • Communications between processors and between one processor and other components are essential.
  • (But the programs are also smaller and do not check for things that are not used).

The bank computer verifies the data entered during the transaction and stores processed information. At the same time, the ATM uses embedded systems to process user inputs from the field and display the transaction data from the bank computer. The global positioning system (GPS) uses satellites and receivers to synchronize location, velocity, and time data to provide a navigation system the world can use. All ‘receivers’ (devices that receive GPS data) are integrated with embedded systems to enable the use of the global positioning system. However, most ready-made embedded systems boards are not PC-centered and do not use the ISA or PCI busses.

The three main components of embedded systems

The assembly language program is translated into HEX code for further processing. Once the code is written, the programmer is used to write the program on the chip. This component’s core function is the development of an executable program. Once the code is prepared in the text editor, the machine must understand it.

embedded systems meaning

The user interface is displayed in a web browser on a PC connected to the device. One of the first recognizably modern embedded systems was the Apollo Guidance Computer,[citation needed] developed ca. At the project’s inception, the Apollo guidance computer was considered the riskiest item in the Apollo project as it employed the then newly developed monolithic integrated circuits to reduce the computer’s size and weight.


Generally, they comprise a processor, power supply, and memory and communication ports. Embedded systems use the communication ports to transmit data between the processor and peripheral devices — often, other embedded systems — using a communication protocol. The processor interprets this data with the help of minimal software stored on the memory. The software is usually highly specific to the function that the embedded system serves. While embedded systems are computing systems, they can range from having no user interface (UI) — for example, on devices designed to perform a single task — to complex graphical user interfaces (GUIs), such as in mobile devices. User interfaces can include buttons, LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and touchscreen sensing.

Up counters count upward from the starting value to 0xFF, while down counters count downward to 0x00. The components of embedded systems consist of hardware and software elements that work embedded system definition together to enable the desired functionality of the system. Embedded systems consist of a processor, memory, and input/output units and have a specific function within a larger system.

Software components of embedded systems

Despite being an important part of embedded systems, software applications have their limitation such as limited memory and a short time frame to respond to input and the given output. Unlike standard computers that generally use an operating systems such as macOS, Windows or Linux, embedded software may use no operating system. When they do use one, a wide variety of operating systems can be chosen from, typically a real-time operating system.

Such systems are used in a wide variety of applications, ranging from common consumer electronic devices to automotive and avionic applications. A property common to all embedded systems is that they interact with the physical environment, often deriving their inputs from the surrounding environment. Due to the application domains such systems are used in, their behavior is often constrained by functional (such as the input–output relationship) as well as non-functional properties (such as execution time or energy consumption). This makes the testing and validation of such systems a challenging task. In this chapter, we discussed a few challenges and their solutions in the context of testing embedded systems.

On Testing Embedded Software

Both digital and analog inputs are accepted by them, and the output is produced to operate. An embedded system can be a small independent system or a large combinational system. It is a microcontroller-based control system used to perform a specific task of operation. In a nutshell, processing speed improves as the number of microcontroller bits increase. Now let’s move on to the embedded systems that can stand on their own, i.e., function without a host.






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