March 26, 2015
Few events come close to the pure energy of SXSW, and this year was no exception. Innovators of all stripes descended on Austin, TX for round-the-clock opportunities to network, promote ideas, and access the latest and greatest in technology, media, science, and education.
Selling a lot of Kinoma Create devices was just icing on the cake
The tradeshow was also an opportunity to connect in person with the early adopters who supported our Indiegogo campaign (kicked off at last year’s SXSW). They were reinvigorated by all the demos, and our recent news of open sourcing the KinomaJS application framework.
Internet of Things more of a ‘thing’ this year
We’ve positioned Kinoma Create as the IoT construction kit from the very beginning, including at last year’s SXSW. An overwhelming impression from this year’s event is that the IoT is vastly more recognized now as a concept, and an opportunity to make our world smarter and more efficient.
The Kinoma Create demos were the focus of our booth, and they illustrated the various ways connected devices could be programmed, built and managed. Everything from NFC, CoAP, beacons, sensors, and ZigBee were used to connect and control robots, security systems, home automation, games, and more.
The call of the classroom
More than expected, Kinoma Create attracted educators, computer club organizers, and parents who are looking for new ways to help new-comers advance their skills with connected electronics programming, and making. This year’s SXSW was further proof that Kinoma Create has a place in the classroom.
Hardware & IoT Meetup
SXSW is so much about the evening activities. A standout for us this year was Tech Breakfast’s Hardware & IoT Meetup. A couple of us dashed over to the brand-spanking-new JW Marriott for this product show & tell. Kinoma Create clearly connected with the room full of startups. Peter was interviewed by the Technology Editor of Mashable immediately after his presentation.
Visits by luminaries of tech
We were delighted to give a tour of Kinoma Create to Megan Smith, United States Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President. She’s having a great influence on Pennsylvania Avenue, as evidenced by a Maker Faire being held on the White House lawn, and President Obama participating in a national Hour of Code. She really took to Kinoma Create as a means to get more people making.
Writer, speaker, futurist, design instructor, and SXSW regular Bruce Sterling stopped by our booth, taking in all the demos. It was a great chance to catch him up on all things Kinoma Create, especially since the crowdfunding campaign caught his attention last year.
Message amplified on social media
Though it seemed at times everyone was at SXSW, that was not the case. So it was fantastic to track all the activity on social media that got the word out on our presence beyond Austin. Here are some favorites:
March 8, 2015
Dr. Andy Carle, Kinoma’s User Experience Architect, was invited to speak at the IoT Silicon Valley meetup, which is held in the Hacker Dojo space in Mountain View. This particular group is very active and well attended, so we were delighted to be asked to share some thoughts on what the IoT industry should be thinking about.
Andy delivered a talk title, “Hardware Prototyping for Software Developers,” sharing an approach to designing IoT products that improves your ability to rapidly prototype, user test early, and to create final products with manufacturability and profitability in mind.
To see more on this meetup, along with full description of talk, check out IoT Silicon Valley’s website.
We were encouraged by how many questions Andy received after the talk, covering a wide range of topics: graphical languages, memory compression, open source, the BOM, and running devices off a solar cell. The audience was very engaged in the topic of prototyping IoT devices, especially with Kinoma Create.
IoT Silicon Valley is a group of very driven, creative, and intelligent people. We’re looking forward to their next event, and hope to see you there!
March 7, 2015
Greetings fellow Creators! This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend MakeMIT, a 15+ hour hardware hackathon and prototyping competition hosted by MIT. The annual competition is open to undergraduate students with participating teams chosen by lottery. Prizes worth $5,000 are awarded to the top three teams and the top 10 teams are invited back the following weekend to refine their designs. Kinoma was an event sponsor, providing Kinoma Create hardware and mentoring during the hackathon.
The hackathon then officially began! Students were encouraged to visit the sponsor booths, and to attend workshops to learn more about the various products before selecting their project hardware and sensors. In addition to Kinoma Create, students had access to other development platforms including Arduino, Intel Edison and Raspberry Pi. Sensor development kits included Kinect V2, Oculus Rift and Myo Armband, to name a few. The students were provided an amazing array of materials and tools to work with.
Over the course of the day, the intensity, energy and noise level in the space rose as students bustled about working through their projects, submitting 3D printer jobs, and using acrylic laser cutters and various power tools to build out their designs.
I had the privilege to work and engage with many talented students from MIT, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Tufts, and other universities. It was a truly fulfilling experience. We worked together to build a number of prototypes combining Kinoma Create with sensors and hardware to implement their designs.
Several teams built cool devices despite being introduced to Kinoma Create the day of the event. A little mentoring, together with our sample code and sensor libraries, helped.
One team built a Bonsai tree care system that combines Kinoma Create, Arduino and sensors/motors to monitor the moisture level, adjust feeding and light levels. Louvers at the top are motor controlled to filter the light. Kinoma Create provides the ability to play media/sound using the built-in speaker and display an interactive interface on the LCD. The team leveraged these features to display an animated face that channels the Bonsai tree’s health by “speaking” to the owner, e.g. “I was getting quite thirsty so thank you for watering!”
Another team developed a theft avoidance and tracking system for safe stowing of purses and bags in public places. The hack combines a Kinoma Create with an accelerometer, GPS, audible alarm, and companion mobile app to provide for robust security and tracking. The accelerometer detects the bag being moved unexpectedly and triggers an alarm. The GPS coordinates are then published using a PubNub channel that is monitored by an iPhone app. The iPhone app, developed in Kinoma Studio, displays the bag location using Google Maps. The team developed the entire app using Kinoma Studio for Linux and the built-in Kinoma Create and sensor simulators.
The hacking competition was declared over at 12:30 AM and we enjoyed an exposition of the various hacks as the judges made their decisions. At the end of the event, the hacking space was reconfigured for the awards ceremony and we were treated to short demonstrations by the winning teams.
I thoroughly enjoyed participating at MakeMIT and very much look forward to returning next year. I encourage you to check out the MakeMIT Twitter feed for photos of the winning teams/hacks as well as this BetaBoston article on the event.
Brian Friedkin has been designing and engineering software for over thirty years. As a Principal Engineer at Apple, Brian was a member of the small engineering team that brought QuickTime to Windows. Brian is a co-founder of Kinoma, which was acquired by Marvell in 2010. At Marvell, Brian works in the Kinoma platform team on a variety of projects and supports the developer forum as BrianKinoma. Brian has created consumer-level multi-platform applications, and embedded real-time software, for key industry players including Palm, SONY, Seiko Instruments and HP.
March 2, 2015
This morning, we announced that KinomaJS is now available as open source. We’re using the Apache license and hosting our repository on GitHub. Our press release describes the benefits to the customers of Marvell Semiconductor and the Internet of Things industry as a whole.
In this blog post, I talk about what it means to developers using KinomaJS, especially our Kinoma Create customers, and share some background on our open source effort.
KinomaJS for embedded and IoT
- Memory is much more limited, which impacts the size of both scripts and runtime code
- Flash storage space is also limited, so much less code overall can be deployed
- The CPU is usually much less powerful than mobile, desktop, or server
- Code portability is a bigger challenge because many of these devices still use an RTOS with limited runtime capabilities
- Much longer term stability is a requirement because devices run for months without a restart
Second, this code is mature. We didn’t come up with the idea for KinomaJS last month, or even last year. The ideas and code have been evolving for over a decade, refined and honed by building real products for our customers and ourselves. We know commercial grade consumer electronics can be built with this technology because we’ve done just that. Over and over.
That said, KinomaJS is constantly evolving. We add new functionality regularly. We rewrite code that has become stale because of industry advances, or because of an idea for how to make it work better.
Finally, KinomaJS is backed by Marvell Semiconductor, a leading fabless semiconductor company that provides silicon for the biggest names in the technology business. The Kinoma Team is part of Marvell, and Marvell is fully behind our efforts, so much so that our President and co-founder Weili Dai will be giving a keynote at Mobile World Congress on March 3 to personally explain why this is so important to our company. And KinomaJS isn’t a side-project or spin-off effort of the Kinoma Team. It is at the center of all the work we do.
Why are we open sourcing it now?
We’ve wanted to do this for a while. The stars aligned to do it now. So we are. There’s never a perfect time for that. There are parts of the code that we know could be better. As engineers we’re pleased to have a reason to improve those. Now that our source code is open source, it becomes one of our products, not just an internal tool for building other products. We’re excited to work on improving our source code, with input from developers like you, just as we regularly make improvements to our more traditional products in response to our feedback from our users.
What does that mean to Kinoma Create developers?
If you are building projects for Kinoma Create, you have the option to read through our code to see what powers the KinomaJS apps you write. That can give you insights on how to use KinomaJS more effectively. If you ever wanted to add a native function to your KinomaJS app to speed up an operation, now you can.
It also means that as you move from prototyping to production, you have all the source code you need to customize KinomaJS for your product. You can trim unused modules, and add additional pieces needed in your project.
We hope it also means that KinomaJS will improve more rapidly, as more developers become familiar with the code, how to use it effectively, and contribute their ideas and expertise to improving it. A good place to start learning about the codebase is my Tech Note “Introducing the KinomaJS Open Source Implementation.”
What is in there?
This open source release of KinomaJS contains everything we consider the core, plus the extensions and modules that we have found to be most commonly needed when building products.
This open source release doesn’t contain the products we have built on top of KinomaJS. So, for example, you won’t find the source code to our mobile Kinoma Connect app for iOS and Android, or to the shell and apps built into Kinoma Create. But, you can use this KinomaJS release to build your own stand-alone apps for Kinoma Create, iOS, and Android.
Today is just our first open source release for KinomaJS. We are open to including additional extensions and modules in the future. Exactly what those will be is going to depend on how KinomaJS grows, and part of that depends on you—your input, your contributions, and the projects you build with KinomaJS.
February 22, 2015
Welcome to the Kinoma Studio for Linux Preview. This is the first public release of Kinoma Studio on Linux. As much as possible, it shares the same capabilities as Kinoma Studio on Mac OS X and Windows. The great diversity of Linux distributions and configurations makes it impossible for us to verify Kinoma Studio for Linux on every system.
We are providing this preview release so that you can try it on your system and share the results with us. We want to hear the good news (it works!) along with the problems you run into. Let us know on the Kinoma Studio section of the Kinoma Forum. The engineers and test team responsible for Kinoma Studio will respond to you there.
Read on for more details on Linux distributions that we have successfully tested Kinoma Studio for Linux on, and installation instructions.
Kinoma Studio has been tested and is known to work on:
* Ubuntu 14.04
* Debian 7.6
* Fedora 20
Kinoma Studio is available for 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Linux.
Preparing your system
Kinoma Studio requires Java. It runs best on Oracle Java 8; it also runs on Oracle Java 7. Install the 32 or 64 bit version of Java depending on whether you installed the 32 or 64 bit version of Kinoma Studio. Java can be installed using your package manager, or by following these instructions.
The Kinoma simulator requires 32 bit libraries to be installed when run on 64 bit Linux. The following commands install the necessary packages on Ubuntu 14.04:
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libc6:i386 libstdc++6:i386 libasound2:i386 libgtk-3-0:i386 libcanberra-gtk3-module:i386 gtk3-engines-unico:i386 unity-gtk3-module:i386
Installing WebKit is strongly recommended: it is required to access example code and documentation within Kinoma Studio. The following command installs WebKit for Ubuntu 14.04:
sudo apt-get install libwebkitgtk-1.0-0
Installing Kinoma Studio for Linux
To install Kinoma Studio, extract the downloaded archive to a directory on your computer. Kinoma Studio cannot be run directly from the archive, or from a directory that does not have write permissions.
When the Kinoma Create Simulator launches, portions of the display area are sometimes missing. This can be fixed by resizing the Simulator window.
Kinoma Studio for Linux does not have a custom application icon.