Introduction to Embedded Systems | Explained as if to a 6 year old

Want to know what are embedded systems ?.

Are you sure ? ?.

Well, thankfully you have come to the right place because embedded systems and related electronics are something we talk about here with absolute zeal.

So lets dive right into what embedded systems actually are ?.

Note that this post will only provide introduction to embedded systems.

Go through these posts for advanced practical electronics.

Now before understanding what embedded systems are.

It is very important to know what systems are not embedded systems ?.

Because once we know what something isn’t, it’s easier to understand what something actually is.

JayantiLal & ChunniLal Analogy :

To make things even simpler, let’s take an example.

Say Jayanti Lal decides to start a company that packs and sells mineral drinking water.

In the beginning obviously, most of the tasks ranging from calling the clients, managing the financials and a whole myriad of tasks are performed by Jayanti only.

Now with so much work in his hands and company making profit, he decides to hire Chunni Lal.

He has a degree in finance so it was makes sense to handover the finance management responsibilities to him.

His task in the company is very specific to managing just the financials and nothing else.

Technical introduction to Embedded Systems:

The above example in its entirety very clearly demarcates and defines what an embedded system is.

ChunniLal here is a classic example of a specialist embedded system.introduction_embedded_systems_funny_dog

He has a very dedicated task of maintaining the financials.

He doesn’t need to make marketing decisions or maintain machines.

JayantiLal, on the other hand is an example of a generalist computing system.

In other words, embedded systems are those specialist systems that are designed to carry a very specific task in an arrangement.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they can do only that.

There is generally a grey area in this definition.

With rapidly evolving technology you can very easily find and even design programmable systems that can perform more tasks simultaneously.

In general, systems whose prime priority is on performing one task more than the other is an example of embedded system.

Real Life Examples For Embedded Systems:


Now why embedded systems are useful.

Lets say you have to measure flow rate of a fluid going through a pipe in a power plant.

It doesn’t serve you right to deploy a full fledged computer system to do just that.

The return of investment will be very poor looking at the parameters of cost and processing requirements.

Having said that a control room in the same plant is a place that essentially needs an intelligent computer system because this junction measures and also receives value.

In addition to that, it also has to perform tasks of controlling parameters, informing other concerned authorities etc.

A washing machine, camera, vending machines, AC, temperature measuring modules etc. are all examples of embedded systems.

Also note how each of these systems focus on real time execution of tasks.

Some people consider mobile phones as embedded systems too.

But observe that if you take the processing capabilities and speed is aside, mobile phones are virtually computer systems.

An ebook reader such as Kindle Paperwhite is a very beautiful example of embedded systems when compared to a mobile phone.

In contrast to this the very old and reliable Nokia 1100 is a classic example of an embedded system when today’s smartphone is put in perspective.

Future Of Embedded Technology :

The fact that we are shifting from desktops to laptops.

From laptops to palmtop.

From exercising to being a couch potato are indications as to how this field is taking over.

You wanted to read ebooks but you also had so many other things to do, so Kindle was born.introduction_embedded_systems_funny_batman

In a similar way, we fell in love with computers when they came out but sitting infront of them was tiring.

But doesn’t matter how tiring it got.

Our urge to play Prince of Persia whole day at the cost of a painful bum kept living.

Holding a stop watch while exercising or running was so retro, and therefore wearable technology was born.

The rapid movement from general systems to special system clearly depicts one very clear outlook.

We can be sure of seeing more and more modular/embedded systems in the future.

Therefore, I have made it a point to teach you how to create this type of technology with your own hand here.

Special Note : I didn’t go too much into the technical details or the difference between controllers and processors here.

Because this was just a brief introduction on embedded systems.

Here my aim was to make you feel what embedded systems actually are and what role they have in your life.

These technical details and all essential geek stuff about these you can find in my other posts.

Hope you were able to understand what embedded systems are and what they aren’t.

If you have any query about anything related to technology allow me to provide you with relevant help ?


Chao for now !!

Electronics Engineer | Former Deputy Manager | Self-Taught Digital Marketer.Owner & Admin Of A Network Of Blogs and Global E-Commerce Stores

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