What Is Embedded System Design (ESD)?

An embedded system is a self-contained, microprocessor-based computer system typically implemented as a component of a larger electrical or mechanical system. At the core of the embedded system is an integrated circuit that performs computational tasks. Also included are hardware and software, both of which are designed to execute a specific, dedicated function. Embedded systems can be highly complex or relatively simple, depending on the task for which they were designed. They may include a single microcontroller or a suite of processors with linked peripherals and networks. They may have no interface or highly intricate GUIs. Embedded systems programming instructions are stored in read-only memory or flash memory chips.

Why Is Embedded System Design Important?

Today, there are billions of embedded system devices used across many industries including medical and industrial equipment, transportation systems, and military equipment. Many consumer devices from digital watches to kitchen appliances and automobiles also feature them. Embedded systems are small, fast, powerful, and designed for very specific use cases. While general purpose systems can perform multiple functions, they can be too costly for many applications, and may also fail to measure up to embedded systems’ reliability, low power consumption, minimal size, and other functional and performance features.

Designers that require dedicated function chips for their projects often select Arm’s Cortex-M architecture, while leveraging Arm’s Flexible Access to speed the design process, and Arm’s SystemReady compliance certification program to ensure hardware and firmware standards are met.

Arm offers online courses focused on ESD:

Rapid Embedded Systems Design and Programming

Efficient Embedded Systems Design and Programming

For more information, explore Arm’s textbook, “Embedded Systems Fundamentals with Arm Cortex-M based Microcontrollers: A Practical Approach.