Evolution of Embedded Systems

Embedded systems evolved with general-purpose computer systems. They were at the forefront of the use and justification of computer products, the closest to the field. This is where the theories are making or breaking. In the past, most of the embedded research and development was identified with real-time systems and industrial settings, but things have been changing since. With wider deployment of computers, the need for embedded systems has increased. We can recognize this in almost any facet of our lives: embedded systems are in most house appliances, cars, electrical devices, and industrial devices and tools. This seems to be a long-lasting trend in front of us, of the same or larger impact and disruption than the appearance of the Web. Being widespread poses some hard requirements on embedded systems. They must be as reliable and robust as other house appliances; as easy to use and as available; connected with other devices, requiring adherence to standards of some kind; and low cost—consequently their development will be defined on a strictly economical basis.

Some of the earlier requirements might not be as relevant in the embedded space. The requirements might have to adjust, making trade-offs, such as size versus flexibility, robustness versus richness of functionality, and power consumption versus performance. The producers of the particular systems will define the exact trade-offs, resulting in a fractured market. Every producer has system software of some kind, typically home-brewed or adapted from one of the many embedded operating systems. The impact of the many embedded systems produced reflects on the minimization of the software cost. If there are a million embedded systems produced, each one of them worth a few tens of dollars, it is unacceptable that the cost of software is of any significance. The cost in this space is largely dominated by hardware and the savings for hardware are also extremely strict. Because there are potentially numerous versions and variations of embedded systems, the compensability of hardware and software is of extreme importance. Connecting embedded devices will extend the scalability limits of today’s systems even beyond the Internet’s global scale. One user can have hundreds and thousands of embedded devices, disrupting traditional networking and, in particular, addressing techniques. Furthermore, it would not be possible or economically viable to connect all these devices by traditional wired technologies; therefore, wireless will become an attractive alternative, opening up new research and development areas.

What are the other long-term trends and impacts of this technology turn? What other implications does it pose to the current computer science and technology? This and other questions are addressed by six renowned researchers in this field. With this last department issue, we thank you for traveling with us through the trend wars in the past year.

Source: www.hpl.hp.com


Embedded Systems: An Introduction

Definitions: “Embedded Systems are devices which are used to control, monitor or assist the operation of an equipment, machinery or plant”. The term “control” defines the main function of Embedded System because their purpose is to control an aspect of a physical system such as pressure, temperature and so on. Also the term “monitor” defines the progress of activities.

An embedded device can range from a relatively simple product for ex. a toaster to complex mission critical applications such as those used in avionics. A typical embedded device will have both hardware and software components. The hardware could be micro components such as embedded microprocessor or microcontroller. Microcontroller is relatively small, has a on­chip memory, an I/O controller and other supported modules to do processing and controlling tasks. The software consists of applications that perform dedicated tasks and may run on Real time operating system which will be explained later in this unit.

Embedded System may be either an independent system or a part of a large system. It is specialized computer system but not a general purpose workstation like a desktop or a computer. Such kind of systems is housed on a single microprocessor board with programs which are stored in ROM (Read Only Memory). Embedded system is usually a compact, portable and mass produced electronic devices. In the early days, embedded systems were designed using microprocessors like 8085. But nowadays, we are using a wide range of processors from other manufacturers.

Almost all modern electronic devices use some sort of embedded system technology inside them and we always come across such devices: DVD players, air conditioners, printers, attendance machines, hand phone, digital camera, ATM machines and many more.

Source: Internet

Career in Embedded Technology

Many software professionals are now going for a career in embedded systems, the latest wave in technology. The communications industry is at an all – time high with embedded technology playing a crucial role in its advancement.

Professionals trained in embedded systems technologies happen to be a rare commodity in the recruitment market place. The demand for embedded systems engineers for product development and application will continue to grow in the years to come.

Embedded Technology is a combination of computer hardware, software and additional mechanisms, an embedded device is one in which the software is hidden in the hardware on which it runs. Embedded systems are designed to perform a specific function within a given time frame.

Embedded devices are found inside (besides PCs or workstations) in anything electronic that seems intelligent such as handheld devices like personal digital assistants PDAs, toys, automobiles, mobile phones, microwave ovens, music systems, digital cameras, access cards, TVs, MP3 players, ATMs, traffic signals and numerous other gadgets that we come across in our every day life.

Some other interesting scenarios in which embedded systems can be used are; Heating and lighting systems, which sense their surroundings and help minimize power consumption; Embedded software allows your washing machine to choose speed according to the type of cloth, gives thinking power to the microwave, acts like a music conductor in the car engine and pushes rocket launches into space.

Embedded systems are similar to memory chips with applications pre-loaded onto them. Once programmed, the software cannot be changed and this is what makes it different from Personal Computer. There is a lack of technical talent is this highly evolving and developing area.

Source: www.winentrance.com