Embedded Computer Systems

Written by Stephanie Bilberry
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The use of embedded computer systems has burgeoned in the past decade. There's hardly an area of manufacturing and industry that doesn't use them somehow. It's no exaggeration to say that our lives have become easier, faster and safer with the advantage of machinery and systems that are regulated by the computer chip.

Often the technology for embedded systems is developed by whole teams of experts, each of them with a broad knowledge of the different fields that come into play with each project. A common configuration used with embedded technology is the application specific integrated circuit. This is sometimes referred to as the "system on a chip."

Keeping Costs Down

There are basically two major issues with any embedded computer system: cost and power consumption. The microprocessors used in embedded systems rarely have a lot of memory. Slower processors are commonly used as there is no great need for speed with this type of technology, unlike traditional computers. These two strategies cut costs quite effectively.

Although there are many types of interface for embedded systems, typically there is no keyboard, no disk drive and no operating system per se. There is often no screen either, although increasingly touch screens are being used to operate such systems. Rather, embedded systems are often controlled by means of switches and/or control loop software. Sometimes, outside control is unnecessary as the system is designed to work without human interface.

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