LONDON IBM has developed a software development kit for wireless sensor networks called Mote Runner and Memsic Inc., a provider of MEMS-with-CMOS chips, will offer Mote Runner on its Iris range of sensor motes.
Mote Runner, developed at IBM's Zurich research laboratories, is intended to help companies and governments use wireless sensor networks, which are notoriously difficult to program, IBM said. Mote Runner is an open platform that allows the connection and programming of sensor and actuator motes within a wireless sensor network (WSN).
The software is a run-time platform that is portable to a variety of mote hardware and is programmable in standard object-oriented programming languages. The software comes with development and integration tooling to allow the creation of applications for wireless sensor networks.
Mote Runner was invented to address several distinct challenges. These include the use of virtual machines in sensor networks, the provision of a flexible simulation environment and the use of a small footprint.
Mote Runner was designed to run on limited resources: an 8-bit processor, 8-kbytes of RAM and 64-kBytes of flash memory. In addition, Mote Runner can be used with energy harvesting techniques, to utilize solar power, for example, as a source of energy.
The use of a programming language such as Java, in combination with a virtual machine developed from the ground up for use in sensor networks, provides application portability while shielding developers from the complexities of the underlying hardware.
Mote Runner provides a web-based management dashboard, and an integrated development environment based on Eclipse, provide a platform for testing, debugging, and maintaining applications sensors. This enables advanced simulation prior to deploying motes in the field, eliminating most programming errors before deployment.
“Sensor networks are instrumental in creating a smarter planet, therefore it is critical to make them easy to program,” said Thorsten Kramp, IBM Research staff member and co-developer of Mote Runner. “We invented Mote Runner to enable developers to take advantage of the skills they have and apply them to programming wireless sensor networks.”
The Mote Runner software development kit is available free of charge for non-commercial use to universities and students and available as a 90-day evaluation trial for corporate users on the IBM alphaWorks website.
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