Characteristics Of Embedded Systems

With the knowledge I gain over 18 years in Industrial exposure, I am sharing my understanding of the embedded system with you. If anyone of you want to gain deeper knowledge in the embedded system then I will suggest you go through the practical and hands-on training in an embedded systems institute which makes you an embedded professional.
Here I want to share with you the characteristic of the embedded system, it will help you understand the embedded system better and deeper.
Here is I listed 10 important points which will tell you the characteristic of the embedded system, and how beautiful embedded system is. Here I want to tell you there are many – more characteristic are available which can be further explored.

1) Embedded Product Design for Infinite Life

Yes, I am not joking, all embedded products are designed to infinite life periods. In every embedded system, we are having
While (1)
{
// infinite loop
}
The meaning of this loop is embedded firmware will work forever. It means an embedded device is designed to be run for always/forever. Although the life of hardware is limited and after some time hardware is started degrading its performance while software (firmware) keeps working with full potential.

2) Self-Reset

Normally embedded device is developed to work in autonomous mode, it means no human will be available near to them. The example of such type of application is Energy meters, temperature monitor units, remote monitoring units, Windmill controllers. Consider in such type of embedded device if we got some error and firmware stops working then humans can’t reach there and reset the device.

In such a case normally we are using a time called watchdog timer, this timer help to reset the whole system if the system stuck some unwanted location. Actually during normal operation devices are keeps feeding the watchdog timer, so watchdog timer keeps running, but if our firmware stuck some unwanted loop then the firmware will not able to reset the watchdog timer. In this case, the watchdog timer will reset the whole system and try to recover the system automatically.

3) Real-time Processing Capability

Embedded system comes with real-time processing capabilities, it means the as soon as the signal is available will be processed and action will be taken accordingly. In some of the real-time application, timing is very critical. Let’s see some of the examples of real-time applications. Detecting rash driving on highways, war field spying robots, Health monitoring systems, etc. You can see in all of the above examples time is very critical, the embedded device needs to process the signal in almost real-time. Even a single mistake will ruin the purpose of the device. But fortunately, embedded systems are capable to process signals in real-time and take action faster.

4) Embedded Having Face Mask for User

This points only developer can understand while working in the embedded system we are having many things/data/signals which we are not showing to the user as it is. We as a developer having some other data with us, but to the user, we show some other thing. Normally to the user, we show in the human-readable format. This human-readable format gives clarity in operation and understanding of the machine, while actually, we may have very complex data with us.
Just for example if we want to display 1 on 7-segment display then actual we are writing 0x06 on the port to display one. So now you can see with this simple example that for 1 to display we are showing 0x06. This feature gives liberty to the developer that we can layout our world the ways we want.

5) Learn Once Use Lifetimes

This is a very beautiful feature of an embedded system, you just need to learn once and you can use that knowledge for the rest of your life. I will explain this in detail consider if you are working in JAVA/C#/JaveScript/etc any high-level programming language then with 6-12 months. you will get a new version of language itself or altogether a new language. So it means you need to keep learning continuously and upgrade your knowledge. But in the embedded system we are having a facility that if once we learn practically then you can use that knowledge as it is for the rest of your life. Here in Professional Training Institute, we focus on practical and hands-on training in the embedded systems, that gives stable carrier to our student.

6) Having Capability to Match Real Lifetime

In many embedded applications, we are having a requirement to take action on exactly 10:00 AM or 6:00 PM, etc. So it means any delay in time will lead to missing the purpose of the device itself. In such an application, we need to generate or maintain time inside of embedded devices such that this time matches exactly the same as real-world time.

In most of the applications, we are using RTC chip – real-time clock to do this activity, but in some embedded applications using internal timer we are calculating time, in such an embedded device we need to write very optimize code so that we can calculate real-time from firmware. Calculating time with firmware is fun.

7) Software Behaviour

Software behavior is always the same but hardware can change its behavior. The behavior of embedded firmware will always same, it means the ways firmware is working the first time then next time and every time firmware will work the same ways. So as an embedded developer we should be always confident behavior of embedded firmware. But hardware can change its behavior, over a period of time hardware degraded. Due to the degraded hardware, we face behavior changes. As a human being whenever any program occurs we directly doubt our work, but as per my experience, the most common cause of the error is a connection/wring/environment, etc. Which means neither hardware nor software is giving problems.

8) Encryption Algorithm Make Embedded Safe From Hackers

Embedded system is porn to hacking, in much critical application hacker are trying to theft data. In the current world, data is costlier than gold. But fortunately, in the embedded system we are having encryption algorithms like (SHA, DES, AES, MD5, etc.). By using Encryption algorithm users are able to save the embedded system from hackers. The above algorithm is very hard to hack, and almost zero practical hacking attempts got succeed till now.

9) Detection and Reporting of Hardware and Software Failure

This is a very advanced feature in new embedded systems. We are able to detect the possible error in hardware or software based on the past learning of machine. Here I will give one example, EEPROM is having a limited write cycle, so while writing software we can limit and count our EEPROM write. So even before it occurs our device is safe. Still consider we can save some know signature bytes in the memory like 0xAA5500AA on some know location. Periodically read and verify the signature bytes, it will let firmware know that EEPROM is in good condition and is able to save data. We are having many other methods like ti-redundancy check, in this methods, we save our data into three locations, and before using read all three and compare at-least two data should match, then only we consider data is valid. Almost all computers are having a power-on self-test, in this computer try to detect hardware availability as well and normal functionality. Similar functionality is implemented in an embedded system as well.

10) ASIC Help to Reduce Hardware and Software

Now a day we are having special IC for the special purpose of work, it is called as ASIC – application-specific integrated chip. The advance of ASIC is it helps to reduce the hardware and software. Most of the work of hardware and software will be converted into IC format and companies creating special ICs. such as ICs is having many advantages like

  • Reduce cost
  • Small in size
  • Fast development
  • Less chance of copying the data.

Here I had listed some of the characteristics of the embedded system, we at professional training institute focus on practical and hands-on embedded system training in Bangalore. We are having an embedded system training institute in Bangalore, we also provide training in Linux device driver and Embedded Linux. Contact us for more details.