Friday, September 6, 2013

Ixonos Embedded HTML5 Demonstrator

Recently, Ixonos has been working to demonstrate the feasibility of using HTML5 as a graphical user interface (GUI) platform on embedded devices.

A GUI needs to not only look good, but also to work well. A button press and consequent feedback must accurately reflect the internal state, and latency should be kept to a minimum overall. Broken abstractions abound when graphics design and technology implementation exist in separate silos - that's why our designers work hand-in-hand with developers. You cannot create a successful GUI by just thinking of it as a set of screenshots - it's also how it works!

Our demonstrator prototype embodies this principle, and provides an excellent open standards based platform for developing and demonstrating our capabilities as a design and software development "one stop" house.

The prototype runs on the Texas Instruments AM3359 Evaluation Module (EVM) connected to a multi-function sensor device represented by a TI Tiva C Series LaunchPad Evaluation Kit in combination with the TI Sensor Hub Booster Pack. Basically this particular prototype involves an ARM Cortex-A8 processor running at 720MHz and the InvenSense MPU-9150 MEMS chip (gyro, accelerometer, compass) combined with a Cortex-M4 microcontroller with USB connectivity. The purpose is to demonstrate a complete embedded system, from sensor I/O, to middleware and GUI.

The complete software stack consists of the following:
  • The Ixonos Embedded Linux BSP (Base Support Package)
  • Qt 5.1 framework
  • QWebView based web programming environment
  • Ixonos HTML5 canvas GUI libraries and web app
  • Ixonos data server, providing the web GUI with constant sensor updates via WebSockets
  • Ixonos "senact" library which provides an API for handling sensor and actuator communication
In the video below you can see one view from the demonstrator, involving the accelerometer and compass attached to a HTML5 Canvas widget. Enjoy.

One view from our HTML5 Demonstrator Prototype - accelerometer attached to the embedded TI AM3359 board, with an HTML5 Canvas-based compass widget.

From a business perspective, one needs to understand how to harness the relevant aspects of hardware and software for the task at hand. This is where Ixonos comes into play. We’ve created a low-footprint Linux platform, which runs a Webkit-based HTML5 runtime, with a plugin architecture that provides native functionality to portable web apps. Our motto is: "dream design deliver", and we live up to it through our interdisciplinary working mode, where low-level technology implementation meets high-level graphics design vision.

This is the first installment of our HTML5 prototype demonstrating the basics. In the future, more sensors/actuators will be added and our UX designers will add beautiful graphics to make it really shine.

Stay tuned for more blog entries on future versions of this prototype and the technologies behind it...

Martin Lund, System Architect - Ixonos
Mikael Laine, SW Specialist - Ixonos

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