February 9, 2014

Rise of efficient embedded systems is helping us live better life

Few days back I was talking to my father about installing a surveillance cameras' based security system in premises of our restaurant. And I wondered how our lives have changed due to penetration of electronics and embedded systems in our life. Almost a decade and more back we used to personally keep vigil at our restaurant as it on an important pilgrimage route. Now my father can keep vigil on our entire premises using cameras and mobile phones. He isn't into technical stuff ,so asked naively if we can have motion detection in it. "Yes" was my answer.

This small things, like washing machines, microwaves, mobiles, cars, refrigerators,thermostats, Direct to Home satellite TV, etc all have embedded systems and are changing our lives a lot.

Basically Embedded system in an electronic device which is microprocessor based and has a dedicated operating system to run. This Operating system of embedded systems is designed in such a way that it performs very specific tasks in given a time-frame.

A classic example to explain embedded systems is a mobile phone. Mobile has functions like calling, receiving, screen brightness, data connectivity , ringtones,  camera , music player etc . Each of this function has dedicated small microchip or embedded processor and controls a very specific function like data connectivity or ringtones settings etc. This happens all simultaneously , hence it is called working in  "Real Time". Embedded system is a intelligent system but well it is not a computer.

Major Parts of Embedded systems.

  • Embedded Hardware. The caricature of the device or Microprocessors.
  • Embedded Software : The Software to run processes of each of the functions. usually written in ROM(Read only Memory)
  • RTOS(Real Time Operating System): Upper layer of software which helps in execution of processes and gives command which process should work in which way.
Embedded systems are installed in many of the electronics devices from washing machines, to warplanes to satellites. and yes they can be found on moon and mars too, in the rovers like NASA's Curiosity rover.

Our lives are being saved by embedded systems, they are controlling the artificial pacemakers , modern artificial limbs giving gift of beautiful life to thousands . You probably might have heard how mini-camera based capsules are used in diagnosis. If not please Google 'Wireless Capsule Endoscopy'. Embedded systems are helping weather scientists to keep watch on typhoons, cyclone, tsunamis etc. 

Smart cars are becoming reality day by day which will help reduce accidents. Companies like ford are testing cooperative adaptive cruise control(CACC) to reduce accidents and deliver safe travel.
Schools are using touch screen based projectors, screens for teaching, problem solving, stimulation and modelling of experiments.

The way our lives are changing due to embedded systems it will keep on going. In next two decades embedded systems are going to be in almost all devices around us public transports, cars, bikes, retail shops, banks, malls, schools, homes,offices,wearable devices. Just looking at the exhaustive list and the tremendous efforts put forward by different organisations to bring them to our life it is safe to say that Embedded Systems will be one of the most sought after fields of study and hence would require a lot of talented minds.
Fig : as shown in Digit Magazine Fast-track

In words of writers at digit magazine "Embedded systems is more like an amalgamation of almost all cool technologies  of today - Software Programming, Digital Electronics, Mobile Computing,Wearable Computing, Augmented Reality and hence would require a base knowledge of all the above mentioned fields, especially Digital Electronics."

An Embedded system engineer will be dealing with revolutionary, often complicated, and innovative electronics hence should check for good courses to succeed  in this field.
I have found out that university of Cambridge has some of the best courses for electronics and embedded system .
If you are looking to go to UK check out this website by British Council  www.knowledgeisgreat.in

Image courtesy :


Sunday said...

There is no doubting the fact that embedded system has made significant impact in lives. They would continue to be because we virtually live on them.

There are so many examples out there. I agree that these mechanisms would continue to help us make better decisions in the future!

In kingged.com - the social bookmarking and content aggregation website for Internet marketers, this post was shared and I have also left the above comment.

Sunday - kingged.com contributor


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