Characteristics Of Embedded System

(updated 14/09/2014)

After knew the definition of embedded system, we can step forward to see the characteristics of embedded system. In case this is your first visit to this blog, please consider to see the previous articles: the definition of embedded system and visual contact with embedded system as background.

Ok, let's back to the topic of this article. These are some characteristics of embedded system.

Characteristic #1 - A combination of hardware and software
This is the current characteristic of embedded system and as result of the advance of science and technology. In the past, embedded system, as other computing systems, is build totally from hardware. But today, some parts of the hardware have been replaced by software. Software also adds intelligence into embedded system, such as in current smart devices.

Characteristic #2 - Limited time
Embedded system works almost in real time. It means that embedded system processes input information and deliver the output as fast as possible. Of course there is time delay between input and output. But the delay is quite small and usually has maximum time limit.

To be able to work in this limited time delay, embedded system only processes certain information which is not too complex for it. But again, this complexity grows with the advance of science and technology. More and more complex information now can be processed by embedded system within its time limitation.

Characteristic #3 - Limited power
Sometimes embedded system works in environment where power source is not always available, such as in remote devices, portable devices and mobile devices. In this condition, embedded system will sleep to conserve its power as long as possible, works only as needed and using power as minimum as possible.

Characteristic #4 - Limited space
Embedded system used in small or portable devices has limited space that shared with other components inside. In this case, the design of embedded system uses either less number or smaller size of hardware. The hardware embedded system could have most functions needed by this device or could be shared between hardware and software of embedded system.

Characteristic #5 - Limited functions
Embedded system virtually can be used for any purpose. But with any limits which are available in implementation, it is then only used for specific purpose. To do this, embedded system only uses limited number of functions which are enough for its purpose.

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