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Are embedded systems the future of technology? Many systems engineers believe so.

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 are many and increasing rapidly. Examples include:

  • Robotic vacuum cleaners
  • Home security systems
  • Digital alarm clocks
  • GPS navigation devices
  • Parking lot ticket machines
  • Cash registers
  • Wi-Fi routers
  • Electronic toys
  • Automobile systems
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Heart rate monitors and pacemakers

Modern embedded systems are often based on microcontrollers — microprocessors with integrated memory and peripheral interfaces. A common standard class of dedicated processors is the digital signal processor (DSP).

Since the embedded system is dedicated to specific tasks, design engineers can optimize it to reduce the size and cost of the product and increase the reliability and performance. Some embedded systems are mass-produced, benefiting from economies of scale.

Embedded systems are designed to do some specific task, rather than be a general-purpose computer for multiple tasks.

Embedded systems are not always standalone devices. Many embedded systems consist of small parts within a larger device that serves a more general purpose. The Gibson Robot Guitar, for example, features an embedded system for tuning the strings, but the overall purpose of the Robot Guitar is–of course–to play music.  

Embedded systems range from no user interface at all, in systems dedicated only to one task, to complex graphical user interfaces that resemble modern computer desktop operating systems.

Want to learn more about embedded systems? Tonex offers two Embedded Systems Courses:

  1. Embedded Systems Engineering Certificate, a 4-day course that covers all aspects of developing reliable real-time embedded system including hardware and software.
  2. Embedded Linux Systems Overview, a 2-day class that provides participants with a solid understanding of Linux kernel and libraries and utilities for embedded applications. 

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

Additionally, Tonex offers nearly 400 classes, seminars and workshops in close to four dozen categories of systems engineering training.

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