09 - Embedded Systems

 1. Read the excerpt below on embedded systems and fill in the blanks.
An embedded system is a computer system with a dedicated function 
___________ a larger mechanical or electrical system, often with 
real-time computing constraints.

How it works

It is embedded as part of a complete device often including 
hardware and mechanical parts. Embedded systems control many devices 
in common use today.

Interesting Fact
Ninety-eight percent of all microprocessors are manufactured as 
components of embedded systems



  within or inside


 2. The image below shows one of the first ever embedded systems. Read the excerpt below and decide if it is true.
Embedded systems range from no user interface at all, in systems 
dedicated only to one task, to complex graphical user interfaces 
that resemble modern computer desktop operating systems



 3. The washing machine has an embedded system. One example of its function is that the:

  microcontroller displays the status of the machine in the display

  power switch can be powered on or off

  drum spins

  mouth of the washing machine accepts soap capsules

 4. Modern embedded systems are often based on _________________________ (i.e. CPUs with integrated memory or peripheral interfaces)

  mini sensors




 5. Transportation systems from flight to automobiles increasingly use embedded systems. An example would be:

  New airplanes contain advanced avionics such as inertial guidance systems and GPS receivers

  Metallic paint signs

  Mobile phones used by flight passengers

  Wheels on the vehicle

 6. Embedded systems and sensors work together to provide one of the most important aspects of technology (and the current 'Internet of things'). What is a sensor?

  A device that is touch-sensitive

  A device that senses feelings and emotions

  A sensor is a device designed to measure some physical quantity in its environment

  A device that can 'see' with electronic eyes

 7. In the example below, analyse the types of sensors and uses. Where might a pressure sensor be used?

  Burglar alarm systems or automatic doors

  Satellite navigation systems

  Thermostats in heated filaments

  detecting light shining on plants

 8. The measurements taken by most sensors is analogue. (this is changing though!). Computers can only under digital data. What is the solution?

  A computer programmer is required to translate every analogue signal (wave) into Binary

  The only solution is to create a digital sensor

  A converter is needed that converts analogue signals into digital (analogue to digital converter ADC)

  There is no solution

 9. An actuator is often part of a computer control system. It is a mechanical device or motor that carries out the action or decision made by the embedded computer. An example would be....

  the lens of a digital camera moving in and out depending on the zoom specified

  actuators of a printer recognising there is no paper in the feeder tray

  DVD player may recognise when something is blocking the ejection tray

  All of the above are acceptable examples.

 10. Once an actuator has carried out its task, it sends data back to the embedded computer which decides what to do next. This is called 'negative feedback'. An example of this would be:
#When there is no paper in the printer tray

>>The actuators of the printer pick this up
>>They feedback to the embedded computer system in the printer
that there is no paper
>>The embedded computer in the printer can stop the printer from
continuing to print.



 11. Which of the following is NOT an advantage of an embedded system?
Small, so they are faster to load
Low cost as compared to whole PC
Higher power consumption as compared to ordinary computer
Easy to manage
They have strongly built and constituted operating ranges which
means they work effectivelyin a large temperature range. 





 12. An embedded system is more robust than a general purpose computer as they have no moving parts and are no a single circuit board. This makes them less likely to malfunciton.



 13. An embedded system is built with lots of different tasks in mind (it isn't specific to one task). This makes it very efficient to run.



 14. Which of the following are disadvantages of an embedded system?
If the embedded system goes down the whole system may stop working

An embedded system uses less power than an ordinary computer

Embedded computers are small - this is a huge disadvantage as 
it would be better for them to be large (e.g. so the can fit 
in the space in a washing machine)

They require specialist skills to program and create as they are
so specific to their task - this is time consuming and costly

Difficult to transfer data from one system to another

Difficult to upgrade and repair (as needs specialist support)





 15. The following video is extremely relevant for the future of technology. It refers to a concept called:

  The Internet of things

  Thingish sensors

  Embedded living

  The internet