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Smart Health: Intelligent, embedded systems offer new possibilities for medical care

Smart City: Improving the quality of life through sustainable mobility and clean energy production

Industry 4.0: Connecting people, machines and products directly with each other

Embedded systems of the future: future-proofing systems and supply chains

Embedded Systems Engineering

The Department of Computer Science (IIF) and the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) are institutes of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Freiburg and provide excellent environment for the interdisciplinary degree programme Embedded Systems Engineering, which combines Microsystems Engineering and Computer Science.

What are embedded systems?

Embedded Systems can be found in many electronic devices and machines. They combine hardware and software and control, regulate or monitor complex systems. The hardware components are based on microprocessors that are embedded in a technical system. The software components are operating systems or language platforms specially tailored to the use of the systems, that take over highly specialized tasks.

Embedded systems fulfil a specific task within a larger system in which they are embedded. They are complex systems that can:

  • perceive their environment with sensors
  • act through signals and actuators
  • and think via intelligent programming.

How do embedded systems work?

Embedded systems usually have a specific task for which they were developed. They usually cannot operate separately or independently of the larger system for which they were developed or in which they are embedded. The systems are very efficient because they usually only have a few functions and therefore operate with low power consumption and can also be accommodated in a very small space compared to other components.

Examples of embedded systems – systems that can already be found everywhere today and enable breakthrough technologies for the future!

Dishwashers and washing machines that save electricity and water, airbags that inflate in time, parking aids, speed controls or breakdown warnings that contribute to our safety, withdrawing money from ATMs or tracking one's fitness or location via smartphone or smartwatch - these are just a few examples of where embedded systems can already be found everywhere today. In industry, these systems ensure that plants become smarter, safer and more efficient. In the field of medicine, the pacemaker is the best-known example of an embedded system. Its functions depend on software, hardware and programming.

Embedded systems will gain in importance in the future and create breakthrough technologies: They can be used to develop diagnostic and therapeutic systems that enable personalized therapies through information technology support. Intelligent implants, complex systems consisting of sensors, actuators and signal processing, make it possible, for example, to assess the ingrowth of prostheses into the bone and to pursue personalized rehabilitation therapy by installing sensors. On the way to Industry 4.0, embedded systems enable the continuous optimization of digitalization and automation to make processes in industry smarter, use resources more efficiently and make industry more sustainable.


Embedded Systems Engineering: Helping to shape the digitalization of the future! 


Development of smart products for the future

Creating breakthrough new technologies by combining hardware and software to address social and economic challenges in health, mobility, security, energy and environment - for a safer, greener and more sustainable future!

Increase of quality of life, safety and comfort

Connecting physical and virtual objects globally (Internet of Things, IoT) and improving the health and safety of people through intelligent solutions or developing innovative solutions for the digital industry - no industry can do without embedded systems anymore!

Optimization of energy efficiency and sustainability

Improving work and production processes in industry to ensure resource and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes (Industry 4.0) or contribute to resource and energy optimization with wearables, smart homes or smart buildings.

Main areas of research

By combining computer science and engineering, highly specialized systems can be built that make our lives smarter, more sustainable, safer and more comfortable.

Digital medical device and health technologies

  • Wearables: Monitoring health and well-being through wearable sensors
  • Personalized medicine: Individual and effective use of medicines
  • Intelligent implants


Energy efficiency and sustainability

  • Digital energy solutions and higher energy efficiency
  • Distributed battery-free systems: Making cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) sustainable


Machine learning and embedded artificial intelligence

  • Improving gene therapies and antiviral drugs
  • Digitalization in robotics and industrial production (Industry 4.0)
  • Autonomous technologies that not only act programmatically, but behave according to the situation
  • Self-driving vehicles and intelligent assistance systems



Examples from research:

Smart home, smart buildings, Industry 4.0 und smart health: Software and mechanical components that can be intelligently networked will further boost and promote the growth of embedded systems. This makes embedded systems an innovation driver in almost all industries.

Wearable and point-of-care sensors for diagnostics, health, food and environmental monitoring Wireless embedded systems to support safety-critical applications in industrial automation
„Institute for Machine-Brain Interfacing Technology“ wird feierlich übergeben Einladung für Medienvertreter*innen zu Gesprächen über den Sonderforschungsbereich ECOSENSE
Human-machine interfaces for the treatment of neurological diseases Faster detection and prediction of critical changes in the ecosystem


You can find the whole range of current research at the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Microsystems Engineering here.


Study Embedded Systems Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering!

Why your studies with us at the Faculty of Engineering are worthwhile - 10 good reasons can be found here!


What do our students say?

Inka Schönfeld

„Embedded Systems Engineering in Freiburg is a great degree program because it is a seamless combination of computer science and microsystems engineering. You learn about the development of embedded systems from both the hardware and the software side. In addition, the degree program offers many opportunities to pursue personal interests.“

Inka Schönfeld, master student

Tibor von Gencsy

"What I particularly like about ESE is that the mix of microsystems engineering, electronics and computer science creates a very broad basis. That means you've heard it all before and developed a good understanding of hardware and software basics, and in the later semesters you can focus on the direction you enjoy most.

Personally, I like the computer science aspects best - but I'm also interested in how electrical circuits and sensors work and what their physical limits are. That’s why I'm glad I chose ESE, because this degree program combines both."

Tibor von Gencsy, bachelor student

Marco Söhnges

"I have always been very interested in computer science and physics.  What I find most exciting is the interaction between the two areas. Today, almost all electronic devices or machines have some kind of independent built-in computer. In the Embedded Systems Engineering degree program, I not only learned how these computers work, but also how they interact with the real world and environment.

Whether it's robots, aeroplanes, cars, mobile phones or modern refrigerators, the degree gave me a better understanding of the individual sensors and the entire system.

The flexible choice of subjects from higher semesters onwards makes it possible to choose courses from the fields of microsystems technology and computer science according to one's own interests.

So if you feel like discovering the real world with computer science and applying physical principles in an adventurous way, this is the place for you.

A beginner-friendly entry, competent professors and advanced technologies makes the Embedded Systems Engineering degree program at the Faculty of Engineering perfect."

Marco Söhnges, bachelor student


Verena gives insights into her everyday life as a first-year student in a short YouTube-Film.




Is engineering the right choice for me?

Test yourself!

What skills should I have?

Embedded Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary degree programme that combines microsystems engineering and computer science. You learn to understand the "language" of computer science and engineering and to develop and build highly specialized systems.

In order to show why these basics are necessary, there are application-oriented courses right from the start, such as the System Design Project. Here, the first-year students work together in small groups to build robots that drive autonomously.

The curriculum also includes a course in the cleanroom, where you can explore and experience the processes involved in the production of microchips for yourself.

Is Embedded Systems Engineering right for me?

You should already have a some interest in our topics.
With our Online Study Choice Assistant OSA Engineering Sciences, you can check whether Embedded Systems Engineering is for you. You can compare your expectations with the requirements of the degree programme and get information from professors and students:


Are you interested?

Get in touch with us!
Our student advisors are very much looking forward to getting in touch with you!


After high school graduation – Our bachelor degree programme

And afterwards –  Our master degree programme

Doctoral / PhD program and postdoctoral / habilitation programme