Easy question about embedded systems

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by jean28, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. jean28

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 5, 2012
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    Could someone give me a good formal definition of what an embedded system is? Is it a microprocessor? If not, then does every embedded system have a microprocessor in it? Could anyone give me some examples of what is and what is not an embedded system?
     
  2. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    That's a formal definition. Took me 5 seconds to query Wikipedia.

    You should try doing that too, it's a very useful resource.
     
  3. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    An Embedded system is also defined as:

    It tightens the specification up a bit from Wiki, but both are valid. This definition is a bit restraining, however. Things that come to mind are Coffee makers, toasters and other appliances, aircraft instruments, and some Christmas lights.

    Boils down to "User cannot modify internal operation of system". (expand by adding peripherals, edit code, etc)
     
  4. jean28

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 5, 2012
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    Does this mean that, say, the video card of a computer is an embedded system? If that is the case, does that mean than a video card has a microprocessor?
     
  5. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Video cards aren't exactly embedded, as the specifications for their CPUs and memory bandwidth are published so that users get an idea of speed. Very frequently, for certain operations, video cards are faster as processors than the system CPU would be at the same operation. However, the video card processors (massively parallel) need to be programmed in a different language. Example: Folding@Home: 3Ghz CPU calculates about 300 packets a day, while the GPU (video card version) calculates around 6,000 packets per day. This only works with "heavy math" operations, but works. Drawing faster than realtime 3D at 1920x1080 with 24 bit color takes far more processing power than any single CPU made today.

    A more apt example of an embedded system would be a computer mouse, which has a small uC in it to convert movement to USB signals.
     
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