A Microcontroller is a small and low-cost microcomputer, which is designed to perform the specific tasks of embedded systems like displaying microwave’s information, receiving remote signals etc.
The general microcontroller consists of the processor, the memory (RAM, ROM, EPROM), Serial ports, peripherals (timers, counters) etc.
Microcontrollers are divided into various categories based on memory, architecture, bits and instruction sets. Following is the list of their types
Bit − Based on bit configuration, the microcontroller is further divided into three categories.
16-bit microcontroller − This type of microcontroller is used to perform arithmetic and logical operations where higher accuracy and performance is required. For example, Intel 8096 is a 16-bit microcontroller.
32-bit microcontroller − This type of microcontroller is generally used in automatically controlled appliances like automatic operational machines, medical appliances, etc.
Memory − Based on the memory configuration, the microcontroller is further divided into two categories.
External memory microcontroller − This type of microcontroller is designed in such a way that they do not have a program memory on the chip. Hence, it is named as external memory microcontroller. For example − Intel 8031 microcontroller.
Embedded memory microcontroller − This type of microcontroller is designed in such a way that the microcontroller has all programs and data memory, counters and timers, interrupts, I/O ports are embedded on the chip. For example − Intel 8051 microcontroller.
Instruction Set − Based on the instruction set configuration, the microcontroller is further divided into two categories.
CISC − CISC stands fr complex instruction set computer. It allows the user to insert a single instruction as an alternative to many simple instructions.
RISC − RISC stands for Reduced Instruction Set Computers. It reduces the operational time by shortening the clock cycle per instruction.
Microcontrollers are widely used in various different devices such as
Light sensing and controlling devices like LED.
Temperature sensing and controlling devices like microwave oven, chimneys.
Fire detection and safety devices like Fire alarm.
Measuring devices like Volt Meter.
Digital Signal Processor (DSP) is actually a special-purpose CPU used for digital signal processing based applications. Once a signal is converted into digital data, using multiple different available algorithms (such as Fast Fourier Transform), its components can be isolated, analysed and rearranged more easily than in analogue form. It provides ultrafast instruction sequences, such as shift and add, and multiply and add, which are commonly used in mathintensive signal processing. DSP is having versatile application in multiple different fields, including biomedicine, sonar, radar, seismology, cell phones, fax machines, audio, digital TV, sound cards, modems, hard disks, imaging and communications, speech and music processing. It can also be used to create the concert hall and along with surround sound effects in stereo and home theatre equipments. As an example of common and popular DSP chip, we can consider TMS320C54X from Texas instruments.
Microprocessors, microcontrollers and DSP chips are having versatile applications. E.g. electronic toys, home appliances, business machines, variety of industrial applications, automotive electronics etc.