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The types of devices such as microprocessor, microcontroller, processor, digital signal processor (DSP), amongst others, in a certain manner, are related to the same device – the ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit). Each processing device executes instructions, following a determined program applied to the inputs and shares architectural characteristics developed from the first microprocessors created in 1971. In the three decades after the development of the first microprocessor, huge developments and innovations have been made in this engineering field. Any of the terms used at the beginning of this section are correct to define a microprocessor, although each one has different characteristics and applications.

The definition of a microcontroller is somewhat difficult due to the constantly changing nature of the silicon industry. What we today consider a microcontroller with medium capabilities is several orders of magnitude more powerful, than the computer used on the first space missions. Nevertheless, some generalizations can be made as to what characterizes a microcontroller. Typically, microcontrollers are selected for embedded systems projects, i.e., control systems with a limited number of inputs and outputs where the controller is embedded into the system.

The programmable SoC (system-on-chip) concept started in 1972 with the 4-bit TMS1000 microcomputer developed by Texas Instruments (TI), and in those days it was ideal for applications such as calculators and ovens. This term was changed to Microcontroller Unit (MCU), which was more descriptive of a typical application. Nowadays, MCUs are at the heart of many physical systems, with higher levels of integration and processing power at lower power consumption.

The following list presents several qualities that define a microcontroller:

- Cost: Usually, the microcontrollers are high-volume, low cost devices;

- Clock frequency: Compared with other devices (microprocessors and DSPs), microcontrollers use a low clock frequency. Microcontrollers today can run up to 100 MHz/ 100 Million Instructions Per Second (MIPS)

- Power consumption: orders of magnitude lower than their DSP and MPU cousins;

- Bits: 4 bits (older devices) to 32 bits devices;

- Memory: Limited available memory, usually less than 1 MByte;

- Input/Output (I/O): Low to high (8-150) pin-out count.

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Questions & Answers

anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Teaching and classroom laboratories based on the “ez430” and "experimenter's board" msp430 microcontroller platforms and code composer essentials. OpenStax CNX. May 19, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10706/1.3
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