What is an Embedded Operating System?

In medical scenarios, microcontrollers can regulate the operations of an artificial heart, kidney or other organs. One very specific application of a microcontroller is its use as a digital signal processor. Noise in this context means ambiguous values that cannot be readily translated into standard digital values. A microcontroller can use its ADC and DAC to convert the incoming noisy analog signal into an even outgoing digital signal.

An alternative view of concurrency that seems much better suited to embedded systems is implemented in synchronous/reactive languages [6] such as Esterel [7], which are used in safety-critical real-time applications. Although this approach leads to highly reliable programs, it is too static for some networked embedded systems. It requires that mutations be handled more as incremental compilation than as process scheduling, and incremental compilation for these languages proves to be challenging. We need an approach somewhere in between that of Esterel and that of today’s real-time operating systems, with the safety and predictability of Esterel and the adaptability of a real-time operating system. Embedded systems are employed in cars, planes, trains, space vehicles, machine tools, cameras, consumer electronics, office appliances, network appliances, cellphones, GPS navigation as well as robots and toys. Low-cost consumer products can use microcontroller chips that cost less than a dollar.


Desktop operating systems and network operating systems contain many applications. The simplest microcontrollers facilitate the operation of electromechanical systems found in everyday convenience items, such as ovens, refrigerators, toasters, mobile devices, key fobs, video game systems, televisions and lawn-watering systems. They are also common in office machines such as photocopiers, scanners, fax machines and printers, as well as Smart meters, ATMs and security systems. Embedded Systems are made for their specific tasks that require specific programming and designing.

embedded system definition

However, most ready-made embedded systems boards are not PC-centered and do not use the ISA or PCI busses. When a system-on-a-chip processor is involved, there may be little benefit to having a standardized bus connecting discrete components, and the environment for both hardware and software tools may be very different. An embedded operating system is a specialized operating system (OS) designed to perform a specific task for a device that is not a computer. The main job of an embedded OS is to run the code that allows the device to do its job. The embedded OS also makes the device’s hardware accessible to software that is running on top of the OS.

Characteristics of embedded systems

Some have real-time performance constraints that must be met, for reasons such as safety and usability; others may have low or no performance requirements, allowing the system hardware to be simplified to reduce costs. Embedded systems range in size from portable personal devices such as digital watches and MP3 players to bigger machines like home appliances, industrial assembly lines, robots, transport vehicles, traffic light controllers, and medical imaging systems. Often they constitute subsystems of other machines like avionics in aircraft and astrionics in spacecraft. Large installations like factories, pipelines and electrical grids rely on multiple embedded systems networked together.

The TMS1000 series, which became commercially available in 1974, contained a 4-bit processor, read-only memory (ROM) and random-access memory (RAM), and it cost around $2 apiece in bulk orders. Often, embedded systems are used in real-time operating environments and use a real-time operating system (RTOS) to communicate with the hardware. Near-real-time approaches are suitable at higher levels of chip capability, defined by designers who have increasingly decided the systems are generally fast enough and the tasks tolerant of slight variations in reaction. In these instances, stripped-down versions of the Linux operating system are commonly deployed, although other OSes have been pared down to run on embedded systems, including Embedded Java and Windows IoT (formerly Windows Embedded).

Demystifying Middleware in Embedded Systems

Finally, we have discussed future research directions related to embedded software testing. One of which was automated fault-localization and repairing of bugs related to non-functional properties. Another direction was related to the development of secure embedded systems. In particular, we explored the possibility of testing techniques to exploit the vulnerability toward side-channel attacks.

embedded system definition

Basically, A embedded system that relies upon and works via a network can be described as Network Embedded System. The demand for faster, efficient, and high-performing computers is increasing, the dimensions of the form factors that carry them forward decrease. Tutorials Point is a leading Ed Tech company striving to provide the best learning material on technical and non-technical subjects.

User interfaces[change change source]

Transportation systems from flight to automobiles increasingly use embedded systems. New airplanes contain advanced avionics such as inertial guidance systems and GPS receivers that also have considerable safety requirements. Various electric motors — brushless DC motors, induction motors and DC motors — use electronic motor controllers. Automobiles, electric vehicles, and hybrid vehicles increasingly use embedded systems to maximize efficiency and reduce pollution. Other automotive safety systems using embedded systems include anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC/ESP), traction control (TCS) and automatic four-wheel drive.

  • There are “ready-made” computer boards that can be used in some embedded systems.
  • A three-tier distributed architecture is designed through Java registrar and RMI interfaces, so that the execution in Java and Matlab can be separately interrupted and debugged.
  • A separate, frequently used approach is to run software on a PC that emulates the physical chip in software.
  • Like most network simulators such as ns-2, the PIECES simulator maintains a global event queue and triggers computational entities—principals, port agents, and groups—via timed events.
  • Various electric motors — brushless DC motors, induction motors and DC motors — use electronic motor controllers.

Unless restricted to external debugging, the programmer can typically load and run software through the tools, view the code running in the processor, and start or stop its operation. Some integrated systems (like VxWorks or Green Hills) have special features, like keeping track of how much space the software takes as it runs, what tasks are running, and when things happen. As embedded systems get bigger, things that used to be only on general-purpose computers or even mainframes are now becoming common on embedded systems.

Embedded System Program & Design

Reconciling the sequentiality of software and the concurrency of the real world is a key challenge in the design of embedded systems. Classical approaches to concurrency in software (threads, processes, semaphore synchronization, monitors for mutual exclusion, rendezvous, and remote procedure calls) provide a good foundation, but are insufficient by themselves. Most consumers are familiar with application software that provide functionality on a computer. However embedded software is often less visible, but no less complicated. Unlike application software, embedded software has fixed hardware requirements and capabilities, and addition of third-party hardware or software is strictly controlled. In embedded systems, the software typically resides in firmware, such as a flash memory or read-only memory (ROM) chip, in contrast to a general-purpose computer that loads its programs into random access memory (RAM) each time.

embedded system definition

With these details, they can be divided into distinct categories and further subcategories. Middleware that has been tightly integrated and provided with a particular operating embedded system definition system distribution. Application software, which is the device’s application-specific software. Or simply we can say something which is integrated or attached to another thing.

Choosing the right microcontroller

The core in embedded systems is an integrated circuit made to carry forward computation processes and operations in real-time. Many embedded systems might not have a user interface (UI) if they are programmed to carry out a specific task inside a device such as the computers that control an automobile’s tire pressure monitoring system or antilock brake system. Due to the lack of a human interface, these embedded systems use sensors to monitor specific features and can initiate an automated action in response to data received from the sensor.

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