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What Are Embedded Computing Systems?

Embedded Computing


Embedded computing systems are used every day, yet they are often overlooked and misunderstood. They are essential to the functioning of a huge array of products and applications, from consumer electronics to industrial devices. In fact, the stability of these embedded computing systems is essential to the appropriate functioning of significant aerospace, medical, and communication applications. What exactly are embedded computing systems? Here are the facts you need to know.


Embedded computing systems are task-specific.

Embedded computing systems are made up of both hardware and software, and they are designed to perform one specific task. The confusion that often comes into play with embedded computing systems is that people sometimes mistake the embedded system with the broader computer system of which it is a component. Some embedded systems are programmable, while others are not. They rely on microcontrollers, microprocessors, digital signal processors, and other uniquely designed processors.


Traffic signals and digital watches are two clear examples of embedded computing systems. The discrepancies come into play when considering devices that blur the line, like mobile phones. Mobile phones can be considered both embedded computing systems and full computing systems. As such, the identity of what can and can’t be termed an embedded system is in flux, but the idea of systems being task-specific is something that is unlikely to change.


Efficiency and reliability are the top two characteristics of embedded systems.

Embedded computing systems have to be efficient and they have to be reliable. Some systems, such as those used in braking systems, are also time sensitive, in that they have to complete their task in a set amount of time. Because embedded systems generally can’t be accessed and programmed by users, they have to work efficiently and reliably for extended periods of time without any kind of intervention.


There are multiple categories of embedded computing systems.

Since embedded computing systems are used in so many ways, it is not surprising that there are multiple design categories. Standalone systems don’t require a host system and simply need input and output lines—for example, music players are standalone systems. Real-time embedded computing systems adhere to time constraints, such as the previously mentioned braking systems. Networked embedded computing systems are controlled by a central network. A home security system with multiple components is an example of a networked system. Lastly, mobile embedded systems are used for mobile communication devices, including tablets and smartphones.


At Delkin, our rugged controlled storage devices are integral to embedded computing systems that require industrial grade memory solutions. Learn more about different flash memory options by contacting our product team today.