Updated: 08/16/2021 by Computer Hope

Embedded may refer to any of the following:

1. With HTML (hypertext markup language), the <embed> tag designates an area for interactive content (plug-in) or an external application.

2. With computer hardware and software, embedded describes an independent object, software, or hardware that does not need an external program or device to run. An example is an embedded operating system.

An embedded system or special-purpose computer has a processor and memory with input and output capability that's part of a larger system. For example, all modern cars have several embedded systems designed to control a specific car part (e.g., cruise control).

Unlike a general-purpose computer and specialized computer, special-purpose computers are designed for a specific task, making them easier to develop and manufacture, and are cheaper.

Examples of embedded systems

Below are examples of where embedded systems are found. These examples are only a small fraction of devices using an embedded system. Today, if the device you're using has any intelligence, it's using an embedded system.

  • ATMs
  • Cars
  • Cash registers
  • Cell phones and Smartphones
  • DVD (digital versatile disc) and Blu-ray players
  • Home appliances, like dishwashers, microwaves, refrigerators, and washing machines
  • Manufacturing robots
  • Medical equipment
  • Printers, copiers, and fax machines
  • Security cameras
  • Smoke detectors
  • Televisions
  • Traffic lights
  • Ventilating systems

Embedded Linux, Embedded object, Handheld computer, Hardware terms, Operating system terms, RTOS, Software terms