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Posts tagged ‘Contiki’

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.

Thingsquare IoT and Contiki courses – now online too

For spring 2014, the Thingsquare IoT development and Contiki programming course program has been expanded with both a new on-site workshop on advanced Contiki programming and a new set of online courses.

Check out the Thingsquare online courses here and the two-day workshop training courses here.

The courses are intended for developers and decision makers who want to hit the ground running when planning or developing their connected products. If you want to build the next Nest, these courses are for you!

The online courses are intended to broaden the amount of people who can attend the Thingsquare courses, to get more people up and running.

The two-day workshop courses are running as usual in Stockholm, Sweden. Register quickly to get the early-bird discount!

Contiki-based Products at CES 2014

From The Official Contiki OS Blog:

Held in January every year in Las Vegas and with some 160000 attendees, the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, is by far the largest event in the consumer electronics industry. Products are launched, announcements are made, and the press goes wild.

At CES 2014, a number of products and systems based on Contiki were shown:

WigWag

WigWag is a system for building intelligent environments that had a successful Kickstarter funding campaign in 2013.

Thingsquare

Thingsquare was there to show the Contiki-based Thingsquare cloud IoT system. Check out this video where Texas Instruments demonstrates the Thingsquare system.

LIFX

The LIFX WiFi bulbs were also represented.

tado°

tado° is an app that lets you set the comfort of your home directly from your smartphone. Read more about tado° at CES 2014 here.

Self-powered Contiki Power Sensor Wins IPSO 2013 Challenge

30Need to know how much power that flows through a specific power cord, and see the information directly on your smartphone? That’s exactly what the Contiki-based winner of the IPSO 2013 challenge does. Just clip on the sensor on cord and see the data from anywhere in the world – the sensor sends the measurements wirelessly and securely across the Internet. Best of all: no batteries need to be replaced, ever, as the sensor is completely self-powered.

The wireless power sensor, developed by Redwire Consulting, Boston, MA, won the IPSO 2013 Challenge last week. Aside the fame and recognition, winning the competition also included a $10000 USD check.

The sensor that is clipped-on to an power cord measures the current flowing through the wire and sends the data wirelessly to a cloud server, hosted at lowpan.com. By using Contiki and its IPv6 stack, the sensor can send its readings directly to the cloud, without having any protocol translator boxes involved.

IPSO 2013 Challenge chairman Nick Ashworth said “The innovation, simplicity and end-to-end utilization of IP technology made this entry stand out to the judges.”

The Redwire system was not the only Contiki-based system to compete in the IPSO 2013 challenge. The full list of entries can be found here.

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.

A new beginning for Contiki!

From contiki-developers mailing list:

Hi all,

big things are about to happen. Change is coming to Contiki.

As some of you already know, I have together with Fredrik Österlind and
Roger Bergdahl founded a company called Thingsquare (http://thingsquare.com)
to build a business around Contiki and its ecosystem by developing a set of
Contiki-based software products for the emerging marked of connected
devices. We are now working full time on this.

For Contiki, this means changes.

* Contiki will remain open source and thriving. This will not change.

* Contiki has been decaying for some time now. Releases have been far and
few between. Patches have been difficult to get through. It is time for
change: we plan to (finally!) establish a development model for Contiki.
The new model will allow contributions to Contiki to be reviewed, merged,
tested, and committed to the Contiki code at a completely new scale. So
hold your patches for now! A development system is coming.

* Contiki releases have been ad hoc. Wouldn't it be great with a structured
release cycle? We aim to fix this.

* While the technology behind Contiki has been great, marketing has not. We
on this list all know about Contiki, but what about all the others? They
need to know about it too! It is time to ramp up how we communicate Contiki.

Changes are coming - stay tuned!

Best regards,

/adam

PS: we just added a newsletter to the Thingsquare website! Sign up for all
the latest news: http://thingsquare.com/