IBM announces free software dev kit for sensors

IBM has today announced a new software development kit called Mote Runner, which it says will allow users to easily connect sensor and actuator motes in a wireless sensor network.

Mote Runner, says IBM, is a high-performance, low-footprint run-time platform that can connect to a vast array of mote hardware and can employ any of the standard object-orientated programming languages, such as Java. It also comes packed with a development and integration tool system to allow easy creation and management of applications for wireless sensor networks.

The kit can be used for many different things, including increasing understanding of internal and external systems for a business, improving performance of systems, development of applications to monitor temperature, water systems, etc., simulation of sensor networks, and then remote access to the networks once the are actually employed.

An added benefit of Mote Runner is how little system resources it requires to run. It only needs an 8-bit processor, 8 kilobytes of RAM, and 64 kilobytes of flash memory. This setup has been likened to a PC in the 1970s, so modern users should be able to run it very smoothly. The kit can also be powered by solar energy due to support of energy harvesting techniques.

Mote Runner is available for free to universities and students providing there is no commercial use of the product. IBM is also offering corporate users a 90-day free trial on its alphaWorks website, along with free support for the software development kit through alphaWorks.

“Sensor networks are instrumental in creating a smarter planet, therefore it is critical to make them easy to program,” said Thorsten Kramp, co-developer of the kit. “We invented Mote Runner to enable developers to take advantage of the skills they have and apply them to programming wireless sensor networks. This should proliferate the use of sensor networks around the world.”

Mote Runner