How can embedded systems generate force

Embedded System - Definition and Classification

We encounter an embedded system everywhere in daily life, mostly in the form of so-called firmware. The systems control, monitor and regulate various devices without the knowledge of the user.


Author: Roman Isheim, December 19, 2018, topic: Embedded System

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Embedded System - Definition

An embedded system (also called embedded system) is an electronic calculator or computer that is embedded (integrated) in a technical context. It is therefore a binary digital system or computer system. In an embedded system, the computer usually takes on control, regulation or monitoring functions. Furthermore, the computer is often responsible for some form of data or signal processing. An embedded system performs the service in a large number of application areas and devices, such as in aircraft, devices for entertainment electronics or medical technology, washing machines, televisions, refrigerators, routers, cell phones or motor vehicles. An embedded system is often specially adapted to a task. The counterpart to an embedded system is the self-contained system.

The first modern embedded system was the Apollo Guidance Computer. This was developed by the American engineer Charles Stark Draper in collaboration with the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory. Two of these systems were present on every flight to the moon. Although this system was still considered very risky at the time. However, the first embedded systems were already used in the Minuteman rocket. As a result, the embedded system was mass-produced. The application involved a path-search system, which enabled the rocket to maneuver independently after a one-time programming.


Classification of computer systems

Computer systems are divided into three different classes. These are (purely) transformational, reactive and interactive systems. The classification is mainly done by the way in which inputs are transformed into outputs.

(Purely) transformational systems

These systems only transform those inputs into outputs that have been completely available since the beginning of the system processing. If processing has not yet been scheduled, outputs are not available. As a result, it is not possible for the user or the process environment to interact with the system during processing.

Reactive systems

These systems dictate what to do. The computer system only reacts to external stimuli. The process environment synchronizes the computers.

Interactive systems

Interactive systems continuously interact and synchronize with their environment. So you don't only generate output when you terminate. It is important that this interaction is determined by the computer system and not by the process environment.



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Classification of embedded systems

An embedded system must always react to the surrounding process. The implementation is possible as an interactive as well as a reactive system. A reactive system design goes in the direction of real-time behavior, although it is not automatically real-time capable. Does compliance with time constraints become a main issue, i. H. If the violation of certain time limits becomes very critical in the sense of a risk to man and machine, then one speaks of real-time systems. In the case of an interactive system design, it must also be ensured that the interaction emanating from the computer also takes place in good time. If this is guaranteed, nothing stands in the way of an interactive system design.

Furthermore, embedded systems can be differentiated into further criteria. On the one hand in "continuous versus discrete". Here, the degree of continuity relates to both data values ​​and time. If both behaviors are included, one speaks of a “hybrid system”. Another criterion is "monolithic versus distributed". Initially, all embedded systems were monolithic. In the meantime, this is increasingly shifting towards distributed systems. The last criterion is "Safety-critical versus non-safety-critical". Safety-critical systems lead to a hazard for people and facilities if they fail. Many consumer products are not safety-critical, while aircraft construction, medical technology or automobiles are increasingly based on safety-critical embedded systems.