An embedded computer is a computer that is built into other mechanical devices, such as dishwashers, microwaves, TV's, car engines etc.
Embedded Systems are often used as control systems - they monitor and control the physically machinery to get the outcome they want. For example in a Microwave they control how long the microwaves are activated for, the speed and direction of the rotating plate, the intensity of the microwave etc.
The advantages of using an embedded computer are:
- They can be dedicated to a single task This makes them:
- simpler to design
- cheaper to make
- more efficient than a multi purpose computer
The disadvantages are:
- They are usually located with in mechanical devices. This means they are:
- Harder to update
- Harder to fix when they go wrong (can't get to the device)
- Potentially vunerable to security breaches (if a flaw is discovered it can be very difficult to patch as they are hard to be updated)
Dishwasher Control Board (embedded computer)