An embedded system is some combination of computer hardware and software, either fixed in capability or programmable, that is designed for a specific function or for specific functions within a larger system. Industrial machines, agricultural and process industry devices, automobiles, medical equipment, cameras, household appliances, airplanes, vending machines and toys as well as mobile devices are all possible locations for an embedded system.
Embedded systems are computing systems, but can range from having no user interface (UI) -- for example, on devices in which the embedded system is designed to perform a single task -- to complex graphical user interfaces (GUI), such as in mobile devices. User interfaces can include buttons, LEDs, touchscreen sensing and more. Some systems use remote user interfaces as well.