MEANING OF EMBEDDED SYSTEM:A system is an arrangement in which all its unit assemble work together according to a set of rules. It can also be defined as a way of working, organizing or doing one or many tasks according to a fixed plan. For example, a watch is a time displaying system. Its components follow a set of rules to show time. If one of its parts fails, the watch will stop working. So, we can say, in a system, all its subcomponents depend on each other.

Embedded system as its name suggests in meaning of embedded system, Embedded means something that is attached to another thing. An embedded system can be thought of as a computer hardware system having software embedded in it. 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.

An embedded system is a microprocessor-based computer hardware system with software that is designed to perform a dedicated function, either as an independent system or as a part of a large system. At the core is an integrated circuit designed to carry out computation for real-time operations.

What is embedded system with example?

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. It has application software.

An embedded system has three components −

  • It has hardware.
  • It has application software.
  • It has Real Time Operating system (RTOS) that supervises the application software and provide mechanism to let the processor run a process as per scheduling by following a plan to control the latencies. RTOS defines the way the system works. It sets the rules during the execution of application program. A small-scale embedded system may not have RTOS.

So, we can define an embedded system as a Microcontroller based, software driven, reliable, real-time control system.

Characteristics of an Embedded System

  • Single-functioned− An embedded system usually performs a specialized operation and does the same repeatedly. For example: A pager always functions as a pager.
  • Tightly constrained− All computing systems have constraints on design metrics, but those on an embedded system can be especially tight. Design metrics is a measure of an implementation’s features such as its cost, size, power, and performance. It must be of a size to fit on a single chip, must perform fast enough to process data in real time and consume minimum power to extend battery life.
  • Reactive and Real time− Many embedded systems must continually react to changes in the system’s environment and must compute certain results in real time without any delay. Consider an example of a car cruise controller; it continually monitors and reacts to speed and brake sensors. It must compute acceleration or de-accelerations repeatedly within a limited time; a delayed computation can result in failure to control of the car.
  • Microprocessors based− It must be microprocessor or microcontroller based.
  • Memory− It must have a memory, as its software usually embeds in ROM. It does not need any secondary memories in the computer.
  • Connected− It must have connected peripherals to connect input and output devices.
  • HW-SW systems− Software is used for more features and flexibility. Hardware is used for performance and security.


  • Easily Customizable
  • Low power consumption
  • Low cost
  • Enhanced performance


  • High development effort
  • Larger time to market

Here are some standalone embedded technology examples:

  • Microwave ovens.
  • Washing machines.
  • Video game consoles.

Embedded systems are managed by microcontrollers or digital signal processors (DSP), application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC), field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), GPU technology, and gate arrays. These processing systems are integrated with components dedicated to handling electric and/or mechanical interfacing.

meaning of embedded system programming instructions, referred to as firmware, are stored in read-only memory or flash memory chips, running with limited computer hardware resources. Embedded systems connect with the outside world through peripherals, linking input and output devices.

Basic Structure of an Embedded System

The basic structure of an embedded system includes the following components:

  • Sensor: The sensor measures and converts the physical quantity to an electrical signal, which can then be read by an embedded systems engineer or any electronic instrument. A sensor stores the measured quantity to the memory.
  • A-D Converter: An analog-to-digital converter converts the analog signal sent by the sensor into a digital signal.
    Processor & ASICs: Processors assess the data to measure the output and store it to the memory.
  • D-A Converter: A digital-to-analog converter changes the digital data fed by the processor to analog data
  • Actuator: An actuator compares the output given by the D-A Converter to the actual output stored and stores the approved output.

Embedded Systems Examples

There are many things with embedded systems incorporated in the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as in machine to machine (M2M) devices. Exceptionally versatile and adaptable, embedded systems can be found in all smart devices today. It is difficult to find a single portion of modern life that doesn’t involve this technology. Here are some of the real-life examples of embedded system applications.

  • Central heating systems
  • GPS systems
  • Fitness trackers
  • Medical devices
  • Automotive systems
  • Transit and fare collection
  • ATMs
  • Factory robots
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Interactive kiosks