To most people, embedded systems are not recognizable as computers. Instead, they are hidden inside everyday objects that surround us and help us in our lives. Embedded systems typically do not interface with the outside world through familiar personal computer interface devices such as a mouse, keyboard and graphic user interface. Instead, they interface with the outside world through unusual interfaces such as sensors, actuators and specialized communication links.
Real-time and embedded systems operate in constrained environments in which computer memory and processing power are limited. They often need to provide their services within strict time deadlines to their users and to the surrounding world. It is these memory, speed and timing constraints that dictate the use of real-time operating systems in embedded software.
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