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Top notch Innovations in Embedded Control

Embedded systems - an amalgamation of hardware, software and technical features are a critical part of modern society. They are applied in several gadgets - cell phone, smart card, music player, router among others.

Modern embedded systems must be in line with real time computing needs. The critical features of an embedded system are:


 - Microcontrollers/digital signal processors (DSP).


 - Integrated chips.


 - Real time operating system (RTOS) - including board support package and device drivers.


 - Industry-specific protocols and interfaces.


 - Printed circuit board assembly.



In most instances, an embedded system needs mechanical assembly to hold various components and develop a product/embedded device.


There are critical variations in the design and utilization of embedded systems vis-à-vis normal computing devices. They execute a restricted group of pre-defined functions and have partial field configuration competencies. The packaging consisting of the embedded system is also uniform. These aspects ensure embedded systems are passive and transparent in functionality. But, there is a need for low cost, small physical footprint, insignificant electrical/electronic radiation and energy consumption. Again, they have to be robust and impermeable to outside electrical/electronic interference.


Hence, embedded systems have fewer resources at their disposal - memory, CPU, screen size, non availability of critical information, diskless operations. They must also have a wide array of competencies pertaining to hardware, embedded software, electronics and mechanical functions. Due to the increase in functionality, the finalization of a distinct technology, standard, functionality for any forthcoming product delivery is difficult for technical personnel.


Technological Trends


Multi-core Processors Wireless


8-bit controllers were popular over a period of time and continue to power several embedded applications. Advanced applications - imaging, rendering, and compression, multimedia require higher bandwidth and improved processing competencies, faster response time and effective algorithms. Therefore, processors with multiple cores with the ability to enhance the throughput of the application while decreasing the power consumption, operational cost and efficiency are required. Hence, semiconductor firms have launched a single chip consisting of multiple cores. Several gaming consoles and network processors utilize multicore processors.


The utilization of multi-core processors in embedded computing is still in the initial phase. Acceptance of the processors would be based on the time taken for the response of complete ecosystem to the technological standardization - debuggers, RTOS, compilers, integrated development environment (IDE) vendors and programming.




Embedded devices used to function as stand-alone systems for a long period. The introduction of wireless connectivity has transformed the scenario. Short-range wireless protocols - Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, near field communications (NFC) and long-range protocols - wireless local area network (WLAN), WiMAX, long term evolution (LTE) and cellular communications would be used frequently in the coming years. The advancements in wireless for utilization in embedded systems are in the following domain - system-on-chip (SoC) architecture, reduced power consumption and application of short range protocols.


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