If you are interested in trending technologies, you must have come across the term “Internet of Things”. It’s one of the most trending buzzwords of 2020. Whenever you read about the Internet of Things or IoT, you are sure to come across the term “Embedded Systems” as well. Well, to put in simple words, embedded systems are the backbone or skeleton of the Internet of Things and the devices based on IoT. In this article, we will explain the term “Embedded Systems” in a little more detail and simple terms.
An Embedded system is a system or some hardware that is programmed to perform a specific function. The function can be as simple as calculating time or as complicated as moving as an AI-powered self-driving car. Basically, an embedded system is designed in such a way that it performs one particular task in the most efficient way possible. The brain or the main functioning part of an embedded system is known as a microcontroller.
Microcontrollers are generally silicon-based chips or Integrated Circuits which do the processing, that is, take in data, process it, and then output the resulting data. This processing is done in microseconds or even less, so these devices are pretty fast. All the data is inputted and outputted in the form of electronic signals. There are a ton of microcontrollers available in the market but the AVR AtMega series is the most famous and the most commonly used one.
Apart from microcontrollers, there are several other parts in an Embedded System as well, but the main ones are – Sensors and Actuators. Let’s have a look at their functionality as well.
Sensors are basically the input devices that take input from the environment. The input can either be digital or analog. Analog sensors include sound sensors, humidity sensors, etc. whereas digital sensors include buttons, etc. Microcontrollers work on binary data, that is, HIGH(1) or LOW(0) which is typically digital data. Therefore, if analog sensors are used for taking input, a thing known as an Analog-to-Digital needs to be used for converting the analog data into digital data for processing.
Actuators are the output devices which provide the processed data to the user. This data can be digital as well as analog. For displaying the data in analog form, a thing known as a Digital-to-Analog converter needs to be used for converting the digital data into analog data. Some examples of actuators are monitor, LEDs, speaker, etc.
So, this was the basic component of an embedded system which is essentially the basic parts of an IoT device. The Internet of Things is a vast field and is progressing at a fast rate. There is no end to learning more of it and trying out these things. To read more about IoT and other related tech topics, please head over here.