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Simplifying sensor hubs with open source platform

08 Apr 2014  | Susan Rambo

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Sensor Platforms Inc. (SPI) joins the bandwagon by altering its internal sensor platform and turning it into an open-source platform for sensor hubs. SPI's Open Source Platform (OSP) aims to simplify sensor hubs and data collection, with ARM taking part in the plan.

The framework is designed for "sensor data acquisition, communication and interpretation" and, SPI says in a white paper, that it is compatible with any CPU architecture or real-time operating system.

"OSP is really important in addressing software complexity," said Willard Tu, director of Embedded Segment Marketing at ARM, in a call with EE Times.

OSP is a framework of algorithms for putting disparate sensors and microprocessors from different manufacturers together to enable them to work together on complex tasks, such as contextual, sensing, pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR), in low power. Developers will be able to use some of the higher-level sensor interpretation that SPI has in its FreeMotion Library. The intention is to help OEMs avoid the complications of dealing with sensors and sensor hubs. No purchase of FreeMotion is needed.

"We've been using this in-house for years," said Jim Steele, VP of Engineering, Sensor Platforms, in an interview with EE Times.

"Until now, the use of sensors and sensor hubs in mobile devices has been fragmented and ad hoc," said Steele in a press release. "OSP encourages developers to focus on creating innovative applications for sensors rather than reinventing the wheel for each sensor interface. It also enables OEMs to provide context-awareness to the Android HAL, which is important for the always-on demands of Android KitKat and Android Wear."

 Sensor hubs made easy?

Figure 1: Sensor hubs made easy? Android reserves a user space for the developer's intellectual property. (Source: SPI)

OSP reserves user space

Figure 2: Open Sensor Platform also reserves a user space for the developers' IP. (Source: SPI)

The first source code release will be on GitHub on May 12. In the meantime, ARM is verifying. OSP's code will be managed under Apache Licence, Version 2.0.

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