Embedded Computing Systems 101
What Is an Embedded System?
It’s first important to understand that embedded computing means different things to different manufacturers. Typically, embedded computing systems are essential to the operation of electronic devices and systems across a wide range of industries. They consist of both computer hardware and software components, which combined are designed to perform a specific task within a larger mechanical or electrical system. Hence why they are referred to as “embedded”.
How Do Embedded Systems Work?
Embedded systems are task-specific, meaning they are built to perform one task rather than a variety of tasks. While the exact design of a particular embedded system depends on its intended task, it typically contains a processor, a power supply, and memory and communication ports. The communication ports transmit data between the processor and any peripheral devices, the processor interprets the data using the integrated software, and the power supply powers the assembly.
The components within an embedded system can be broken down into hardware and software components. Hardware components include the processor (either a microprocessor or microcontroller that processes digital signals and stores them in memory), sensors (to convert physical sense data into electrical signals), analog-to-digital converters (to convert analog electrical signals to digital signals), digital-to-analog converters (to convert digital data to analog data), and actuators (to compare actual output to memory-stored data to choose the right one). Software components vary in complexity depending on the embedded system. However, industrial-grade embedded systems can use simple software with little memory capacity.
Types of Embedded Systems
Embedded systems can be categorized based on function. Some of the basic types available include:
- Standalone embedded systems. These systems are designed to perform specialized tasks without belonging to a host system. Examples include calculators and MP3 players.
- Mobile embedded systems. These systems are designed for portability. Examples include digital cameras.
- Networked embedded systems. These systems are designed to connect to a network and provide output data to other systems. Examples include point-of-sale (POS) systems and home security systems.
- Real-time embedded systems. These systems are designed to provide output within a defined time interval. Examples include braking systems and traffic control systems.
They can also be categorized by performance requirements:
- Small-scale embedded systems. These systems typically use up to an 8-bit microcontroller.
- Medium-scale embedded systems. These systems use a 16-bit or 32-bit microcontroller. They can use one or multiple units depending on the complexity of the system.
- Sophisticated-scale embedded systems. These systems may use complex software and hardware components.
Benefits of Embedded Systems
There are many benefits to using embedded systems. For example, they are highly customizable and low cost, which makes it easy and affordable to tailor them to exact functional and performance requirements. They also have low power consumption, which helps reduce energy costs for the overall system.
Applications of Embedded Systems
Embedded computing systems are found in the electronic devices and systems of a variety of industries. For example:
- In the healthcare industry, they are used for diagnostic and imaging devices, patient monitoring systems, and surgical and treatment tools.
- In the life sciences industry, they are used for bioinformatics, proteomics, and genome sequencing devices and systems.
- In the military and defense industry, they are used for autonomous and unmanned vehicles, C4ISR systems, and training and simulation systems.
- In the industrial automation industry, they are used for various manufacturing systems.
Embedded Computing System Solutions at Dedicated Computing
Given the critical role they play in many electronic devices and systems, it is essential to ensure embedded systems are designed and built correctly for the given tasks. That’s why you should partner with an experienced embedded systems provider. They will have the knowledge and skills to design and build an embedded system that fully meets your specifications and standards.
At Dedicated Computing, we are an original design manufacturer (ODM) of proprietary, highly engineered computing systems for blue chip original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers across the healthcare, life sciences, training & simulation, and industrial markets. We work closely with OEM clients to develop high-performance embedded systems optimized for their computational and performance requirements. They trust us to deliver products with reliable and long-lasting performance.
Our embedded product solutions include:
- Control Processing. These platforms handle the machine or motion control programming for your application, whether it involves simple positioning or highly complex, fast, and precise movements.
- Image Generation. These platforms accommodate the rapidly evolving specifications and standards for advanced visual-based systems, such as AI, engineering simulation, immersive VR, and real-time ray tracing.
- Data and Image Processing. These platforms support applications that require real-time feedback, such as surgeries and chemical processing cycles.
- Planning and Viewing. The platforms have separate planning and viewing stations that allow workers to monitor embedded imaging output without being physically next to the device. They ensure workplace safety when imaging equipment would otherwise expose employees to radiation, X-rays, or chemicals.
- Display Systems. These platforms visually display output data. Examples include touch All-in Ones (AIO), embedded displays, monitors, and panel PCs.
As these product solutions are tailored for each customer’s success, we offer the following services:
- Design & Engineering
- Hardware & Software Integration
- Certification Qualification
- Lifecycle Management
Why Partner With Dedicated Computing?
OEMs across the globe choose Dedicated Computing for their embedded systems needs. By partnering with us, they benefit from our:
- Market experience. We focus on four markets—healthcare, life sciences, military and commercial, and industrial automation. We systematically analyze each customer’s application requirements and restrictions to ensure we offer the best solution for their needs.
- Lifecycle management services. Our team has the knowledge to assist customers in managing the entire lifecycle of their products. We can help plan next-generation products, develop and manage complete top-to-bottom solutions, support EOL transitions, and more.
- Collaborative process. Each customer project has a dedicated team of experts managing their product life cycle.
- Extensive Service Offerings: We offer an extensive range of dedicated services from control processing and data processing to display systems and more.
- Design and engineering capabilities. Our engineers provide a range of design and engineering capabilities to support the product development process, including system configuration, performance testing, prototyping, and more.
- Certification management services. Certification and regulatory compliance are essential for OEMs as they distribute products across the globe. Our team provides testing services for a variety of global regulatory certifications, including UL, FCC, RoHS, REACH, CCC, CE, and ITAR.
- Quality and reliability. We provide customers with quarterly scorecards to track and measure performance in four key categories: operational excellence, innovation, supplier quality assurance, and commercial excellence.
Contact Us to Experience the Dedicated Difference Today
Our computing platforms power products from many of the world’s leading equipment manufacturers. If you need an embedded system solution for your next product, turn to the experts at Dedicated Computing! Whatever your industry or application, we can tailor our products and services to your unique needs. To learn more about our product and service offerings, contact us today. To discuss your system requirements with one of our team members, request a meeting.