Embedded systems are special-purpose computers built into devices not generally considered to be computers. For example, the computers in vehicles, wireless sensors, medical devices, wearable fitness devices, and smartphones are embedded systems. The embedded systems market is growing 50% faster than that for general-purpose computing.
Designing embedded systems is a huge challenge because they have so many requirements: they often need to be tiny, high-performance, inexpensive, reliable, and last a long time on poor power sources, all while sensing and influencing their surroundings. Computer engineering research in this area covers the entire “stack,” from transistors and circuits to operating system and applications.