The Real Meaning of an Extreme Embedded System

An extreme embedded system is a professionally designed computer system with a dedicated function that has either an electrical or a mechanical system. Extreme embedded systems have some real time constraints on computing. The system is also embedded as a complete device with mechanical parts and hardware devices. By contrast, a personal computer is designed to be very flexible in meeting a wider user needs. Extreme embedded systems control many activities today that are in common use.

Close-up of Electronic Circuit Board with Processor

Modern embedded systems are based on microcontrollers, which are CPUs with integrated peripheral interfaces and memory. But most ordinary microprocessors that use peripheral interface circuits and external chips for memory are still very common especially in more extreme embedded systems. In either case of embedded systems, the processors may range from more specialized of computations to general purpose ones or even some that are customized for particular designs at hand. Digital signal processor is an example of a common standard class of a dedicated processor.

The key characteristic of an extreme embedded systems are their dedication to handle a specific task. These particular features enable design engineers to optimize it with the sole purpose of increasing its performance and reliability while reducing the cost and size of the product. Some embedded systems benefit from the economies of scale since they are mass-produced.

In more physical terms, embedded systems range from larger complex systems such as Avionics, hybrid vehicles, MRI; relatively large stationary installations such as factory controllers and traffic lights to portable devices such as MP3 players and digital watches. Complexity of an embedded system varies from very simple ones with a one microcontroller chip to the more extreme embedded systems with multiple peripherals, units and networks attached inside a large enclosure or chassis.

Embedded systems are mostly found in cooking, consumer, automotive, industrial, commercial, medical, and military applications. Consumer extreme embedded systems include personal digital assistants, mobile phones, digital cameras, DVD players and many more while medical profession has a vital sign monitoring embedded systems.