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Sensing middleware expedites dev't of low-power sensing apps

10 Dec 2014

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The innovative technology features both a sensing middleware and sensing nodes.

The sensing middleware intercepts and handles requests for notification from applications, automatically reducing the power drain on wearables. First, the middleware monitors the connection status of the wearable device and acquires sensor information that can be used. When it receives a request from an application, it checks the request against the sensor information, and is able to determine the combination of active sensors that will involve the minimum amount of power based on the sensors' power consumption and communication frequency.

Sensing application development framework

Overview of sensing application development framework

It then instructs each wearable device to continue sensing processes based on the combination of active sensors. After being instructed, the wearable device will continue its sensing processes, and the smartphone will remain in low-power standby mode until it receives a report from the wearable device. This is how the middleware automatically selects low-power sensing methods based on an application's requests.

The sensing node is a firmware module in the wearable device that runs continuous sensing processes as instructed by the sensing middleware. Using sensors and a low-power processor in the wearable device, this is able to acquire sensor data, process it and perform conditional decisions, at low power to allow for long runtimes. The node can change its processing profile and perform a variety of sensing tasks as needed by the application in response to new instructions from the middleware.

This technology simplifies the process of developing applications that use continuous sensing, without requiring any specialised knowledge of sensing technologies or power management, and cuts the amount of work required to build solutions that use sensing by 90 per cent, while reducing power requirements by more than two-thirds. Additionally, a single application can support multiple similar wearable devices with no rewrites, as long as the sensing nodes are equipped with compatible firmware.

Until now, every low-power solution for wearable devices has required a one-off effort, but with this technology, the customising work required on the wearable end is dramatically reduced, which shortens development cycles and costs, and promises new solutions and uses for wearable devices.

Fujitsu Laboratories aims to offer practical implementation of this technology during fiscal 2015. Meanwhile, the company plans to release the interface specification for wearable devices to support this technology to device makers, and will promote development of supporting devices.

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