Ever wondered how streetlights turn on automatically at dusk or what drives a digital watch? Although we encounter ‘embedded systems’ very regularly in our daily lives, we are seldom cognizant of their presence. When something is “electronic”, “digital” or “smart”, embedded systems are behind it.
Embedded systems are computer systems – combinations of hardware components and software – dedicated for a specific function. Visually, they appear as chips or boards embedded with minute circuitry and electronic components and connected to peripheral devices (sensors and actuators – like cameras or motors).
And what are robots then? Robots are mechanical systems in which various embedded systems, sensors and actuators are controlled and coordinated in order to provide more complex capabilities and replace human involvement.
Home appliances, wearable devices, and security systems… all use embedded systems. Along with robotics, they can be applied to almost any field – healthcare, automobiles, gadgets, security, and factories. The scope for innovation and new applications is limited only by one’s creativity and the laws of physics, of course. They are already ubiquitous and the applications are bound to increase exponentially in times to come.