A microcontroller is a type of integrated circuit (IC) that is designed to control a specific task or set of tasks within a larger system. Unlike a microprocessor, which is designed to be a general-purpose computing device, a microcontroller is optimized for embedded applications that require real-time control and processing.

Microcontrollers typically contain a processor core, memory, input/output (I/O) ports, and various peripheral devices, all on a single chip. The processor core is usually a low-power, low-speed version of a microprocessor, such as an 8-bit or 16-bit processor. The memory on a microcontroller includes both volatile and non-volatile memory, such as random-access memory (RAM) and flash memory, respectively. The I/O ports are used to interface with external devices such as sensors, switches, and displays.

Microcontrollers are used in a wide range of applications, including automotive systems, medical devices, consumer electronics, and industrial automation. They are particularly well-suited for applications that require real-time control and processing, such as motor control, temperature sensing, and data acquisition.

One of the key advantages of microcontrollers is their low cost and small size. Because all of the necessary components are integrated onto a single chip, microcontrollers are much smaller and less expensive than other types of computing devices. This makes them ideal for use in small, battery-powered devices such as handheld calculators and remote controls.


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