If you’re not familiar with embedded systems and their applications, you may be wondering what the fuss is about and why these systems are becoming more prevalent.
Boiled down to the basics, an embedded system is a computer system, that is a processor, some memory, and most importantly, some input/output device that is embedded into a larger system. Think about your car for a second. You know it has a ‘computer’ in it. But it’s not your run-of-the-mill PC in there, but rather a highly specialized embedded computer system.
We consulted ADL Embedded Solutions Inc, one of the premier makers of such systems where else one could expect to find their machines and similar devices.
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Automotive/Traffic Monitoring Applications
Apart from the abovementioned integrated onboard car computers, embedded computer systems have found their application in numerous other parts of the traffic ecosystem.
One of the more widely known and widely used systems is traffic light monitoring. These systems essentially count the traffic and suggest changing the light to the main controller.
Self-driving cars seem to be a reality that is quickly coming our way. Of course, it is only possible thanks to the immensely powerful and quick embedded computers which are able to assess the situation on the road in real-time – a true testament to how effective these devices can really be.
Smart Home Systems
One of the biggest and most lucrative embedded device industries nowadays are the IoT smart home devices. Chances are that you have one at your home. If you use a smart lock or a smart thermostat, or any other device which is connected to the internet and can be controlled via the internet or your phone –congratulations, you’re a part of the embedded computer crowd.
The reason people enjoy these devices is really simple – they are hugely convenient and easy to use; and they make our lives better.
Even though most people don’t need to know much about this topic, embedded computers are absolutely critical to the vast majority of our industrial systems. Any process which is automated needs to contain this kind of a system both to function normally and to report the diagnostics to the central computer.
Hazardous occupations such as mining and deep-sea oil drilling have been made much safer and more scalable thanks to these rugged embedded systems.
Another industry where embedded systems are critical are the large-scale utilities such as power plants and water management systems. These computers report on the health of individual parts of the system, and if they detect any problem, the main computer is alerted and any errors can be fixed.
This is especially important in places where people can’t reach or aren’t safe, like inside a nuclear reactor, or in water pipes which are laid underground. Simply being able to assess the overall health of individual parts of the system without having to inspect it manually is a great time and money saver.
The field of medicine relies on electronic devices more and more to facilitate and speed up many processes which may help save the lives of patients and help them get better sooner.
Recently, thanks to the pandemic of the coronavirus, more attention was shed on ventilators, devices that assist breathing. At the core of these devices lies an embedded computer. The same applies to various imaging devices like MRI and PET scanners, as well as in vital sign monitoring devices.
The more you delve into this topic, the clearer it becomes that every facet of the human industry has been touched by these integrated computer systems. Not only do they make our lives simpler and safer, in some cases, but they can also be the sole reason why some of our achievements are even possible.