LONDON A consortium of European scientists is setting out to enable the billions of electronic devices in everyday use to be networked together for use in applications from healthcare and transport systems to manufacturing and disaster recovery.
RUNES (Reconfigurable Ubiquitous Networked Embedded Systems) is a research project supported by research funding from the European Community’s Sixth Framework Programme. It has 22 partners from six European countries, plus Australia and the US. Major industrial partners include Kodak and Ericsson.
The RUNES project aims to expand and simplify existing and future networks of devices and embedded systems and will create a standardised computing infrastructure that can adjust itself to different environments and different demands placed upon it.
The project has been motivated by several technology developments including the growth in power and reduction in cost of microprocessors, cheap and low-powered radio technologies like Bluetooth, and the rapid expansion of the Internet, as well as Europe’s sophisticated communication infrastructure and strength in embedded systems.
RUNES aims to assess and overcome barriers to exploitation of these technologies and to create standards which make it easier for programmers to develop practical and profitable applications.
Franck Boissiere, an EU project officer, said, “By joining up existing devices and creating opportunities for multiple new applications, we are enabling the era of wearable computers, smart homes and a whole new generation of health monitoring.”
One of the project’s main outcomes should be adaptive and intelligent middleware systems.
Steven Hailes, RUNES technical director and computer science lecturer at University College London, said, “Invisible, or pervasive, computing is already all around us – it’s the pervasive networked computing that is about to happen. The challenge now is to connect it altogether and find standard ways to get different types of devices working across different networks to perform different functions in an ‘always on’ way. That is what RUNES is setting out to do.”
It is a 32-month project scheduled to end in April 2007 and includes participation from Kodak, Sira (UK), University College London (UK), University of Lancaster (UK), Ericsson (Sweden & Hungary), Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft (Germany), ConnectBlue (Sweden), the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (Sweden), Virtutech (Sweden), LiPPERT Automationstechnik (Germany), Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan (Sweden), Rheinisch-Westfaelische Technische Hochskule AACHEN (Germany), Lund Institute of Technology (Sweden), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), University of Patras (Greece), Universita de Pisa (Italy), University of California, San Diego (USA), University of California, Berkely (USA), University of Queensland (Australia), Victoria University (Australia), and National ICT Australia.