Graphical User Interface as a Means of Interaction with Embedded Systems

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Living in the digital age, it is difficult to imagine day-to-day life without regular interaction between human and technology, embedded systems in particular. From banking ATM machines to in-car infotainment systems – consumers now rely on and expect the ease and convenience of intelligent embedded devices. Convenient human-machine interaction is possible due to graphical user interfaces (GUIs) – a software interface designed to standardize and simplify the use of computer programs.

The first GUI was designed by Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s, but it was not until the 1980s and the emergence of the Apple Macintosh that graphical user interfaces became popular. One of the reasons for their slow acceptance was the fact that they require considerable central processing unit power and a high-quality monitor, which until recently were prohibitively expensive.

As processor power has grown, so has a number of modern GUI features, like color, touch screens, 3D graphics, voice command, text-to-speech and gesture recognition. There has even appeared a new term – natural user interfaces (NUIs) – meaning specialized GUIs that operate using speech recognition and motion detection. As a result of this evolution, embedded designers strive to transform embedded technology by incorporating new, cutting-edge user interfaces to stay ahead of the curve.

Because there are many types of embedded devices available nowadays, GUIs should be designed for different types of users and by following a different set of standards. For example, in the development of medical devices for disabled people, it is crucial that speech technology is implemented and UI design is as easy as possible. On the contrary, human machine interface used to control and operate industrial systems is usually more complicated, which is explained by greater volumes of data, increased levels of automation, staffing proficiency issues, and expanded use of remote operations.

In our next blog posts, we will look in more detail at the specifics of effective UI development for various types of embedded systems in Industrial Automation, Internet-of-Things, and Medical Device industries, and provide best practices on creating appealing interface for all types of devices. Subscribe to our blog now so that you do not miss it!


  1. http://rtcmagazine.com/articles/view/102625
  2. http://techterms.com/definition/gui
  3. http://smallformfactors.opensystemsmedia.com/articles/effective-development-gui-tools-embedded-devices/

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