With over 90% of all microprocessors manufactured today using embedded systems and development, having a strong grasp of embedded hardware design and development is a necessity in moving ahead in Embedded system design and development.
But before we delve into Embedded hardware system design, let’s understand what an embedded system is.
What is an Embedded System?
An embedded system is a combination of hardware and software designed to do a specific function/functions. You could also look at it as a controller that’s part of a more extensive system. Embedded systems are used to control many devices, such as medical equipment, television, etc.
Every embedded system is based on the following combined systems:
- System On Chip (SOC)
An embedded system works with specific inputs that are processed by the system and then produce outputs.
Components of an Embedded System
The three essential components of an embedded system are:
- Embedded system hardware: Embedded systems need hardware and software to run on. Embedded systems are built with micro-controllers — a CPU or a processor with integrated memory. More people use micro-controllers because they use fewer external components; and microprocessors — CPUs that use external chips for memory and peripheral interfaces. They are used with a more elaborate or more extensive embedded system). The hardware of an embedded system has components such as:
- User interface
- Power supply
- Embedded system software: These are a set of codes written to carry out a specific function. Most embedded system software can run on micro-controllers. You can write this software in several ways. Some of the techniques include:
- Machine code: These codes are usually in hex codes and provides the fundamental instructions on how each processor would operate. Machine codes have been replaced with a programming language.
- Programming language: High-level programming languages such as C, C++, etc., are common in software development. A processor board holds the non-volatile memory. The code used in embedded systems is called firmware because any upgrade in the software requires a change in the memory.
There are limits that embedded system software is designed to observe. They are:
- The convenience of processor speed
- The convenience of processor memory
- During the continuous running of the system, it is necessary to limit power dissipation for events such as run, stop, wake up.
- Operating system: Embedded systems make use of Real-Time Operating Systems. These systems finish tasks and send in the result in real-time. The RPOS allows the device processor to run and controls the application software. An operating system is designed to run several applications within a specific time and consistently.
For every hardware system design and development, there is a dire need to select the right components for the design. In selecting the components, there is need for balance in the technical and non-technical components.
The technical components of Embedded Hardware design and development include:
- DC Electrical Characteristics
- Development tools
- Power consumption
- Reliability data
- Supporting circuit Elements
- AC electrical characteristics
- Operating Environment Requirements
The nontechnical components of embedded Hardware design and development include:
- Multiple sources
- Stage of production
Applications of Embedded Systems
Embedded systems are used in different industries for a host of things.
- In automobiles: They are used to make cruise control, motor control, car multimedia, robotics in an assembly line, E-com access, etc.
- Smart cards used in security systems, banking, and telephone
- Telecommunications: Networking, mobile computing, wireless communications, etc.
- They are in satellite and missiles.
With the proliferation of technology, embedded hardware design and development has continued to grow, encompassing a more extensive range of microcontrollers and microprocessors. As we move towards AI and the automation of work, higher grounds with regards to embedded systems and development would be scaled, and even higher ones created.