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Posts tagged ‘Adam Dunkels’

Out in the Open: The Little-Known Open Source OS That Rules the Internet of Things

Contiki-ipv6-rpl-cooja-simulationFrom Wired:

You can connect almost anything to a computer network. Light bulbs. Thermostats. Coffee makers. Even badgers. Yes, badgers.

Badgers spend a lot of time underground, which make it difficult for biologists and zoologists to track their whereabouts and activities. GPS, for example, doesn’t work well underground or in enclosed areas. But about five years ago, University of Oxford researchers Andrew Markham and Niki Trigonisolved that problem by inventing a wireless tracking system that can work underground. Their system is clever, but they didn’t do it alone. Like many other scientists, they turned to open source to avoid having to rebuild fundamental components from scratch. One building block they used is an open source operating system called Contiki.

“Contiki was a real enabler as it allowed us to do rapid prototyping and easily shift between different hardware platforms,” says Markham, now an associate professor at the University of Oxford.

Contiki isn’t nearly so well-known as Windows or OS X or even Linux, but for more than a decade, it has been the go-to operating system for hackers, academics, and companies building network-connected devices like sensors, trackers, and web-based automation systems. Developers love it because it’s lightweight, it’s free, and it’s mature. It provides a foundation for developers and entrepreneurs eager to bring us all the internet-connected gadgets the internet of things promises, without having to develop the underlying operating system those gadgets will need.

Perhaps the biggest thing Contiki has going for it is that it’s small. Really small. While Linux requires one megabyte of RAM, Contiki needs just a few kilobytes to run. Its inventor, Adam Dunkels, has managed to fit an entire operating system, including a graphical user interface, networking software, and a web browser into less than 30 kilobytes of space. That makes it much easier to run on small, low powered chips–exactly the sort of things used for connected devices–but it’s also been ported to many older systems like the Apple IIe and the Commodore 64.

Read the complete article here.

Thingsquare’s Contiki IoT workshop slides posted

From The Official Contiki OS Blog:

The first set of slides from the Thingsquare Contiki IoT workshop series have been posted.

The slides show how to connect a Contiki system to the Internet and make it interact with web services, how to build an IoT cloud service with node.js and Javascript, some of the next steps for Contiki 3.x, and some of the trade-offs in choosing a communication technology for your next IoT system. Slides for the three remaining days will be posted during the week.

via The Official Contiki OS Blog: Thingsquare’s Contiki IoT workshop slides posted.

New Ultra Low-power Internet of Things Kit for Smart Cities, Appliances

Internet of Things startup Thingsquare today announced the availability of the Thingsquare Internet of Things evaluation kit.  Unlike many Internet of Things solutions, the Thingsquare system does not depend on a gateway. Instead, all devices are connected directly to the Internet, using a wireless radio with much lower power consumption than WiFi. Using self-forming and self-healing mesh networking, the range of a Thingsquare system can be very large – a single network can cover an entire city.

Building on the success of existing Thingsquare-based systems, the new Thingsquare kit opens up a new range of applications, including street lighting, smart appliances, meter reading, and wireless sensing. The kit is built on the Texas Instruments (TI) low-power CC2538 2.4 GHz System-on-a-Chip (SoC), an IoT-ready integrated radio transceiver and ARM® Cortex™-M3 microcontroller.

“We are excited to see ready-made evaluation kits for the emerging IoT market,” said Oyvind Birkenes, general manager, Wireless Connectivity Solutions, TI. “The Thingsquare software with TI’s CC2538 SoC opens new application opportunities to further grow the Internet of Things.”

“With direct Internet-connectivity for the radio chips, the Thingsquare evaluation kit makes prototyping and building IoT applications faster than ever before,” said Thingsquare CEO Adam Dunkels. “The TI CC2538 SoC is a powerful platform that can be taken directly to production.”

The Thingsquare evaluation kit is available for immediate purchase for 795 EUR from the Thingsquare website.

The history of the internet of things includes a Swedish hockey team and LEGOs

adam_dunkelsThirteen years ago Adam Dunkels was trying to hook up a hockey team in Lulea, Sweden with sensors and cameras so coaches and fans could track helmet cams and players’ vital signs. It was an academic project but it was also an early example of the internet of things. The project was doomed to fail for a variety of reasons, but out of that experience came a lightweight code for connecting devices called Lightweight IP.

A later version of that code became the base for LEGO Mindstorms and a variety of other connected projects. But Dunkels realized that to truly build a platform for connected devices he needed even lighter weight code. So he built Contiki, an operating system of sorts of the internet of things. And now he’s commercializing all that he’s learned in a startup called ThingSquare. In the podcast we discuss the history of the internet of things and when we reached the tipping point that made the internet of things inevitable.

Listen to the podcast here.

World’s First Online Development Environment for the Internet of Things Announced

Thingsquare  announced Thingsquare Code, to help connect products such as light bulbs, thermostats, and smart city systems to smartphone apps. Thingsquare Code is the world’s first online interactive development environment (IDE) for the Internet of Things and works with a number of recent chips that target the emerging Internet of Things market, from leading chip vendors Texas Instruments and ST Microelectronics.

Thingsquare Code lets developers of Internet of Things products program their wireless chips from a web browser. Before Thingsquare Code, developing Internet of Things products used to be time-consuming and would require extensive expertise on behalf of the developer. With Thingsquare Code, developers can quickly prototype and validate their products, directly from their web browsers.

“The latest IP/6LoWPAN solutions for IoT applications from Texas Instruments (TI) will be ready for Thingsquare Code,” said Oyvind Birkenes, general manager, Wireless Connectivity Solutions, TI. “Thingsquare opens the door to developers from various disciplines to connect their products faster to the Internet. This is truly revolutionary.”

“Thingsquare Code already works with a number of microprocessor platforms, including the ARM Cortex M3 and the TI MSP430,” said Thingsquare chief architect Adam Dunkels. “With our secure cloud connectivity solution, devices can be programmed without cables and without having to install compiler toolchains, which is a large step forward for IoT programming.”

Thingsquare Code is currently available for beta testers and will be available for use with a number of wireless chips for the emerging Internet of Things market developed by Texas Instruments and ST Microelectronics.

More info here.

Contiki Regression Tests: 9 Hardware Platforms, 4 Processor Achitectures, 1021 Network Nodes

Contiki-ipv6-rpl-cooja-simulationContiki gets regression test framework from Thingsquare Mist with travis integration that lets us test every new commit on 9 hardware platforms, 4 processor architectures, and 1021 emulated network nodes.

Despite its size, Contiki a complex system with multiple layers of interrupts, processes, protothreads, serial port input and output functions, radio device drivers, power-saving duty cycling mechanisms, medium access control protocols, multiple network stacks, fragmentation techniques, self-healing network routing protocols, best-effort and reliable communication abstractions, and Internet application protocols. These run on a wide range of different microprocessor architectures, hardware devices, and is compiled with a variety of C compilers.

Typical Contiki systems also have extreme memory constraints and form large, unreliable wireless networks. How can we ensure that Contiki, with all these challenges, does what it is supposed to do?

Over the years, open source projects have tried different ways to ensure that the code always is stable across multiple platforms. A common approach has been to ask people to test the code on their own favorite hardware in good time before a release. This was the approach that Contiki took a few years ago. But the problem was that it is really hard to get good test coverage, particularly for systems that are inherently networked. Most testers won’t have access to large numbers of nodes and even if they have, tests are difficult to set up because of the size of networks that are needed for testing. Also, since people are more motivated to run tests near a release, there may potentially be large numbers of bugs that are found right before the release. It would be great to be able to find those bugs much earlier.

Many projects do nightly builds to ensure that the source code is kept sane. This is something we have done for a long time in Contiki: the code has been compiled with 5 different C compilers for 12 platforms. But this is not enough to catch problems with code correctness, as the functionality of the system is not tested. Testing the functionality is much more difficult, since it requires us to actually run the code.

Fortunately, Contiki provides a way to run automated tests in large networks with a fine-grained level of detail: Cooja, the Contiki network simulator. But taking this to a full regression test framework took a bit of work.

First, to make scripted simulation setups easier, Cooja author Fredrik Österlind wrote a test script framework for Cooja. Second, Github contributors Rémy Léone and Ilya Dmitrichenko developed a travis plugin for Contiki. And now Contiki gets a new regression test framework from Thingsquare Mist.

More info here.

Thingsquare Announces Software to Simplify the Internet of Things

Thingsquare, a pioneering provider of open-source software for the Internet of Things, today announced Thingsquare Mist, a standards-based mesh networking platform. Thingsquare Mist allows developers of smart lighting systems, smart cities, smart homes and smart buildings to quickly add Internet connectivity to their devices. A key feature of Thingsquare Mist is its ability to seamlessly connect Mist networks with existing networks based on the Internet Protocol (IP), without need for manual configuration.

“The Internet of Things market is growing quickly due to new low-cost hardware and manufacturing technology,” said Adam Dunkels, founder of Thingsquare and author of the Contiki operating system. “The Internet of Things needs open standards and straightforward software to move forward. Thingsquare Mist makes the Internet of Things dramatically easier to develop and deploy.” Thingsquare Mist uses open standards such as the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), IPv6 for low-power wireless networks (6lowpan), the Routing Protocol for Lossy networks (RPL), and the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Thingsquare Mist is open-source software and runs the open-source Contiki operating system on the devices. Key innovations in network protocols, over-the-air software update mechanisms, and network maintenance tools, makes Thingsquare Mist systems easy to develop, deploy, and operate.

Thingsquare is working with several leading hardware manufacturers to bring Thingsquare Mist to a wide range of hardware platforms. Thingsquare Mist is currently in private beta with a set of selected customers and will be available by Q1 2013.

Thingsquare is the leading provider of open-source software for the Internet of Things. Founded in 2012 with the aim to simplify the Internet of Things, Thingsquare provides standards-based software to a wide range of customers developing applications for smart lighting, smart cities and smart buildings.