What are Embedded Systems ? Explained to a 6 year old

mother-board-550x413 What are Embedded Systems ? Explained to a 6 year oldWant to know what are embedded systems ? Are you sure 😀 ? Well, thankfully you have come to the right place because embedded systems and related electronics are my passion.

Before diving into the topic of what are embedded systems I think it’s more important from an understanding point of view as to what are not embedded systems. Because once we know what something isn’t, it’s easier to understand what something actually is.

JayantiLal ChunniLal Analogy :

To make things even simpler, let’s take an example, say Jayanti Lal decides to start a company that packs and sells mineral drinking water. In the beginning obviously, most of the tasks ranging from calling the clients, managing the financials, updating inventory, maintaining machines and a whole myriad of tasks are performed by Jayanti only. Now with so much work in his hands and company making profit he decides to hire Chunni Lal who has a degree in finance so that he can handover the finance management responsibilities to him. His task in the company is very specific to managing just the financials and nothing else.

Defining Embedded Systems Technically:

The above example in its entirety very clearly demarcates and defines what an embedded system is and also mother-board-550x413 What are Embedded Systems ? Explained to a 6 year olddistinguishes it from a computing system. ChunniLal here is a classic example of a specialist embedded system who has a very dedicated task of maintaining the financials, he doesn’t need to make marketing decisions or maintain machines. JayantiLal, on the other hand is an example of a generalist computing system.

Embedded systems are those specialist systems that are designed to carry a very specific task in an arrangement, that is not necessarily to say they can do only that because there is generally a grey area in this definition because with the advent of tech boom you can very easily find and even design programmable systems that can perform more tasks simultaneously or as per need but, in general systems whose prime priority is fixated on performing one task more than the other is an example of embedded system.

Some examples that will depict clearly what embedded systems are :

mother-board-550x413 What are Embedded Systems ? Explained to a 6 year oldNow why embedded systems are useful is because if you have to measure flow rate of a fluid going through a pipe in say a power plant it doesn’t serve you right to deploy a full fledged computer system to do just that, the return of investment would be very poor given the parameters of cost and processing requirements. Having said that a control room in the same plant is a place that essentially needs an intelligent computer system because this junction not just measures or receives value but also has to perform tasks of controlling parameters, informing other concerned authorities etc.

A washing machine, camera, vending machines, AC, temperature measuring modules etc. are all examples of embedded systems. Also note how each most of these systems focus on real time execution of tasks. Some people consider Mobile phones as embedded systems too but I don’t myself agreeing with it because if the processing capabilities and speed is taken aside , the mobile phones are virtually computer systems though not strictly but still. An ebook reader such as Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo are very beautiful examples of an embedded system when compared to a mobile phone. In contrast to this the very old and reliable Nokia 1100 was a classic example of an embedded system compared to today’s smartphone.

Future of Embedded Technology :


The fact that we are shifting from desktops to laptops, from laptops to palmtop smartphones, from exercising to mother-board-550x413 What are Embedded Systems ? Explained to a 6 year oldbeing a couch potato  are indications as to how this field is taking over. You want to read an ebook but you also had so many other things to do, so Kindle was born so that you can take thousands of books along with you. You loved computers when they came out but sitting infront of them was tiring, right you wanted to lay down and play Prince Of Persia, smartphone was born. Holding a stop watch while exercising or running was so retro, and loo wearable technology is born.

This clearly indicates how technology is rapidly shifting from a generalist domain to a much specialist area which is a clear sign where embedded technology is headed.


Lucky for you I teach you how to create this type of technology with your own hand here

Special Note : I didn’t go too much into the technical details or the difference between controllers and processors here because here my aim was to make you feel what embedded systems actually are and what

role they have in your life. These technical details and all essential geek stuff about these you can find in my other post, Links below.

Hope you got a clear understanding of what are and what are not embedded systems. If you have any query about anything related to technology allow me to provide you with relevant help 🙂


Chao for now

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