What is firmware?

Firmware is a small piece of software that makes hardware work as its manufacturer intended it to. It consists of programs written by software developers to make hardware devices “tick.” Without firmware, most of the electronic devices we use daily wouldn’t be able to work. They would not do anything.

For example, did you know that a simple traffic light has firmware on it? Yes, it does, and the firmware is what tells it to change the lights at regular intervals. Without firmware, the traffic light would be just a “stupid” mast, placed on the side of the road, doing nothing except looking bored. What is firmware in the case of less sophisticated hardware devices such as traffic lights, washing machines, card machines, surveillance cameras, and TVs? The firmware is all the software on them, also acting as their operating system and controlling everything about those devices’ functioning. Traffic lights need firmware to run.

We often tend to think about a hardware device as a device that is just hardware. And we assume that it just works by itself. However, almost none of the modern hardware devices would work without this particular software written directly onto them.