Made in IBM Labs: IBM Unveils Software to Expand Use of Wireless Sensor Networks and Further Smarter Systems Globally

New Software Enables Developers to More Easily Create and Use Sensor Networks

ROSEMONT, Ill. - 09 Jun 2010: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new software development kit to expand the ability of companies and governments to harness sensors and digital devices to design and build intelligent products and systems.  The software, available as a free download, aims to increase the global adoption of wireless sensor networks by making them easier to program and use. The announcement was made at the 2010 Sensors Expo & Conference.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100609/NY18252 )

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100609/NY18252 )

To make wireless sensor networks easier to program and exploit, IBM has created a new software development kit – called Mote Runner - which provides an open and programmer-friendly platform to connect sensor and actuator motes within a wireless sensor network (WSN). Motes -- also known as wireless sensor nodes -- gather sensory information, such as temperature, movement, or light, and communicate that data across a network of wireless sensors.

Separately, IBM also announced today that MEMSIC Inc (Nasdaq: MEMS), a leading micro-electromechanical systems and sensor solution provider, will offer Mote Runner on IRIS, one of its most popular sensors.

With the cost of transistors ($0.00001 each) plummeting as density increases, companies and governments are working to take advantage of transistor-rich wireless sensor networks and analytics to:

However, many wireless sensor networks used to monitor and react to physical or environmental conditions are proprietary and difficult to program, therefore limiting the ability of companies, governments and universities to take advantage of them. Mote Runner addresses these challenges.

For example, Mote Runner could help a building management company deploy sensors throughout a high rise building. The technology would:

"Sensors play an important role in interconnected systems and are critical to helping business leaders understand both what is happening in a system, and what will happen next," said Charles Lickel, vice president for IBM Software Research. "IBM is focused on empowering our clients to use sensors to instantly monitor constantly changing dynamics and apply analytics to understand and act upon these dynamics. Enabling clients to easily program and use sensor networks is core to creating smarter systems, and the new developer tools we are unveiling today will advance our clients' ability to drive new intelligence into their businesses."

Software systems are the centerpiece of smart grids, for example, integrating multiple independent products and complex systems to perform their critical functions. Smart meters, smart appliances and smart homes, all containing embedded software, will be interconnected with numerous back-end software applications to create significant new value for consumers, businesses, and the public.

About Mote Runner

Created by IBM Research scientists, Mote Runner is a high-performance, low-footprint run-time platform that is portable to a broad range of mote hardware and programmable in standard object-oriented programming languages, together with development and integration tooling to easily create and manage applications for wireless sensor networks.

"Sensor networks are instrumental in creating a smarter planet, so it is critical to make them easy to program," comments Thorsten Kramp, computer scientist, IBM Research. "We invented Mote Runner to enable developers to take advantage of the skills they have and apply them to programming wireless sensor networks. This should proliferate the use of sensor networks around the world."

Mote Runner was invented to address several distinct challenges:

Available on IBM alphaWorks

To encourage exploration, the Mote Runner software development kit is available free of charge for non-commercial use to universities and students and available as a 90-day evaluation trial for corporate users on the IBM alphaWorks website at www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/moterunner.  Free support is provided on the IBM alphaWorks website.

About IBM

For more information see http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet

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