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This paper presents a survey on embedded systems design and applications. Several platforms for embedded systems, including microcontrollers, microprocessors, field-programmable gate arrays, digital signal processors, and application-specific integrated circuits are discussed and compared. A survey of embedded system-based industrial applications is presented. Examples of real-life design decisions specific to development of such systems are also presented. The carefully selected three design case study examples include industrial control of wind tunnel with emphasis on actuator control, a mobile robot navigation system with emphasis on integration and synchronization of several subsystems, and optimized implementation of computationally intensive control system on a small microcontroller system.