Although modern day technologies have now converged practically into embedded systems still there are people among us who still question what an embedded system is?
The field of embedded systems is a unique combination of softwar and hardware where the whole intelligence of the system is confined into the firmware of hardware residing indide hardware itself. Now what is firmware? Firmware is the software or intelligence portion of the systems which resides in the hardware, takes directions from hardware peripherals, processes information, takes decisions and issues control signals to actuate outputs. The formost effrot in designing embedded systems is to reduce the physical footprint of the system to fit it into the space and weight constrained applications. Another design goal is to keep the cost as low as possible. The advantage of embedding the intelligence into the small hardware is to make efficient and cost effective systems, basically, to make small ordinary things much more smarter than before.
The example of embedded systems are everywhere which we use on daily bases like cell phones, the control in washing machine, tv and tv remote etc. One distinctive difference between general purpose computers and embedded computers is that they are application specific. Also the embedded systens are “all in one” systems based on small computer, peripherals, sensors, indicators, actuators and everything necessary to carryout a specific task, to fulfil a certain objective.
Becuase of their nature, the embedded systems designers must understand both software as well as hardware. only electronics engineer can not design good embeded systems and a software-only guy is incompatible with this field. There are two models of job models followed by companies mainly based on their resources. The large companies have specialist of hardware and software so the engineers need not to design everything. This does not mean that they don’t need to be familiar with each other’s domain as they need to coordinate with each other constantly and regularly. In small companies, the same guy has to do everything. the hardware as well as the firmware (embedded software). Also there are many other things which need to done like casing designs or at least considerable effort in determining the right enclosure of the product and its overall shape.
All in all embedded systems is an interesting field but it is demanding at the same time.