Embedded system functionality allows electronic devices to have far greater capabilities than ever deemed possible if only using hardware methodology. Advances in computer technology are exposing more instances of embedded technology in a far greater number of electronic devices.
Embedded hardware development and software development systems can be found in small processes with objects such as timers to items that are much more complex including a gamer’s console as well as a massive factory or other types of industrial processes.
An embedded system is not similar to a PC or any type of computer which will run various programs or fulfill multiple different tasks. It is simply concentrated on a specific duty or application.
What Makes Up Embedded System
By definition, an embedded system is any type of computer system that is not deemed a computer but is contained within a product. Embedded systems consist of two main elements.
Embedded System Hardware
An embedded system is going to require embedded hardware development in order to function properly as would any electronic system. The hardware surrounds a microprocessor/microcontroller. This hardware is going to provide input/output or I/O interfaces along with user interface, memory, as well as display.
During embedded hardware development, choices are made between whether to use a microprocessor or a microcontroller. A microcontroller is basically a CPU or central processor unit which means a processor that has peripheral devices or integrated memory. With these, fewer external components are necessary and they tend to be used more often.
A microprocessor also has a CPU but its memory will use external chips as well as peripheral interfaces. This will need more components on the board but also allows for much more expansion along with the choice of precise peripherals, and so on. This is used in instances of the larger embedded systems.
Embedded System Software
Embedded software development allows the software to perform a particular function within an electronic device. The software is generally written in a format that is of a high level and then compiled down in order to submit the code which will be placed inside a nonvolatile memory encased in the hardware.
The software is one of the key aspects of the embedded system which is used to operate the microcontroller and can be written in various ways such as machine code or with a programming language. The most basic code is machine code for the processor unit. It is typically in hex code and offers general instruction for the processor’s individual operations. On this day, this type of code is not often used for embedded systems.
High-level programming languages are often used to overcome the labor-intensive and time-consuming work of writing machine code which has a tendency to be difficult in understanding as well as debugging. Languages commonly are oftentimes C++ as well as C and so on.
The embedded system’s code which is called firmware is generally stored on a type of non-volatile memory which is held within the processor board. The overall idea is that this code or firmware is not updated in the manner that software is, encapsulated in the embedded system, and is not changeable by the user. The software can be updated, but this would entail completely changing out the memory card where the firmware is located.