An embedded system is a controller with a dedicated function within a larger mechanical or electrical system, often with real-time computing constraints. It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts.
Embedded systems control many devices in common use today. Embedded systems range from portable devices such as digital watches and MP3 players, to large stationary installations like traffic lights, factory controllers, and largely complex systems like hybrid vehicles, MRI, and avionics. Complexity varies from low, with a single microcontroller chip, to very high with multiple units, peripherals and networks mounted inside a large chassis or enclosure.
Ninety-eight percent of all microprocessors manufactured are used in embedded systems.
Embedded system hardware can be microprocessor- or microcontroller-based. In either case, an integrated circuit is at the heart of the product that is generally designed to carry out computation for real-time operations. Microprocessors are visually indistinguishable from microcontrollers, but while the microprocessor only implements a central processing unit (CPU) and, thus, requires the addition of other components such as memory chips, microcontrollers are designed as self-contained systems.
Closely related to computer engineering, embedded systems engineering is a very exciting field of engineering where devices capable of interacting with the “real world” are designed and programmed.
Embedded systems date back to the 1960s. Charles Stark Draper developed an integrated circuit in 1961 to reduce the size and weight of the Apollo Guidance Computer, the digital system installed on the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module. The first computer to use ICs, it helped astronauts collect real-time flight data.
Additionally, Tonex offers nearly 400 classes, seminars and workshops in close to four dozen categories of systems engineering training.
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