Embedded Systems

Embedded Systems are computers that have been built into another device. This ‘mini-computer’ is usually dedicated to a specific purpose and has a much smaller job to do than a general purpose computer system. Some examples include dishwashers, microwaves and TVs.

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An embedded system is often used as a ‘control system’, meaning that they monitor and control hardware in order to achieve the desired result. For example…

In a dishwasher, an embedded system could control the water pumps and water release mechanisms, manage the various dishwasher cycles and control the thermostat to keep the water at an appropriate temperature


Because an embedded system is only used for a single task, when compared to a general purpose computer they are usually:

  • Easier to design
  • Cheaper to produce
  • More efficient at performing their task