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The Sentilla Perk

Posted by qmahmoud on August 19, 2008 at 9:13 AM PDT

Over the past few years there has been quite a lot of interest in wireless sensors and the applications of this technology in a variety of areas (e.g. environment, bridge control, etc). Researchers have been experimenting with platforms such as the TinyOS (known as the Berkeley Mote) in which applications are written in NesC. But with Java running on billions of devices, there has been a quest for a Java platform for wireless sensors and in 2007 Sun Microsystems released their "experimental" Sun Spot technology which is really neat. Also in 2007, Sentilla released an industrial-strength Java-based technology for wireless sensors, and if you attended JavaOne2008 you may have seen Sentilla hardware deployed all over the Moscone Center to track attendees.

What is it?

The Sentilla Perk (Pervasive Computing Kit) is a Java ME CLDC-compliant platform for developing cool applications for wireless sensors. I have been experimenting with the Perk and I am very impressed. The kit comes with 2 Sentilla computers (known as JCreates or Motes), a USB gateway, Sentilla's IDE, sample apps, and lots of documentation. A JCreate is a small wireless baterry-powered device; your applications communicate with the JCreates using the gateway that you connect to your development machine.

I was able to install the Sentilla Perk and test some applications on the JCreates in less than 10 minutes. I especially like the Sentilla IDE. It has a very intuitive user interface, but if you ever feel lost when you first start, try the "Welcome" page in the "Help" menu which I find very useful and novel!

Application Lifecycle

Developing applications for wireless sensors using the Sentilla platform is quite straightforward. You'll be able to create very cool applications with little coding. To give you a flavor of the effort involved in developing applications, consider the following snippet of code, which is actually a complete application that when run the two motes will start blinking. As you can see, the application lifecycle is just like any other Java application with a minor name change to the main() method.

public class MoteBlink {
  public static void motemain() throws InterruptedException {
     Leds leds = LedsDriver.create();
     while ( true) {
        leds.toggle(1);
        Thread.sleep(200);
     }
  }
}

If you are a developer, researcher, or a student interested in developing Java-based applications for wireless sensors, I recommend you get a copy of the Sentilla Perk. The introductory price of $199 is a great deal as the kit comes with the hardware and software tools to enable you develop novel pervasive computing applications. Get Sentilla Perk.

Sentilla Labs

Sentilla has just launched Sentilla Labs, which is a wonderful developer portal where you can find sample applications with full source code...you'll even find full description of the projects and what hardware you need and where to get it from. If you develop a cool application, you too can submit it and showcase it to the world. Q.

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Comments

I was just going to order one, but: - It doesn't run on Linux. - It's only available in the US.

Thank you Q...CH

Hello Q, just posted today about Perk too ;) at "http://weblogs.java.net/blog/brunogh/archive/2008/08/falling_in_love_1.html