The Macchina M2: an Arduino-Inspired Car Optimization Device

Macchina, a Minneapolis-based technology company, has developed a new way for owners to interact with their vehicles. Called the M2, the device is a Beta version of an inexpensive, open-source, and versatile development platform that access a vehicle’s internal computer. This access allows car owners to optimize vehicle performance, and to develop specific functions for their vehicle to perform.

Macchina’s M2 Beta has already raised over $ 30,500 on Kickstarter, surpassing their initial goal of $ 25,000.

The M2’s hardware closely resembles an Arduino Due, but it is 50 percent smaller. At a compact 2.22” x 1.60” x 0.62”, the M2 easily fits under a vehicle’s hood or dashboard. This unit has a modular design, which allows for easy and inexpensive upgrades.

The device’s hardware is divided into two boards: a processor board and an interface board. The processor board features a SAM3X8E Cortex M3 MCU, a High Speed SD card, RGB LEDs, a USB port, and a wireless DIGI XBee socket to connect to Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and more.

The interface board has two high-speed CAN interfaces, a single wire CAN interface, and LIN which contains older OBD protocols such as ISO 9141 and J1850. This diverse range of features allows the M2 to connect with nearly any vehicle manufactured after 1996.

The M2’s software uses the Arduino IDE, and Macchina itself has joined the Arduino AtHeart program. This program grants affiliated companies access to Arduino’s community-based software libraries. Macchina is committed to open – source software development, with a strong emphasis placed on user contributions.

To help their users contribute further in this process, Macchina has also released an M2 project help book along with their M2 units.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Digital Twins: Eclipse Ditto

The concept of a “digital twin” has been making popping up in the industry thanks to industrial giant GE. The concept is pretty simple – basically a twin is referring to a cloud-based model of a real-world physical asset.

The implications of this is that you are able to expose and interact with the inner workings of the device and its surrounding systems in real-time. This also provides the ability to introduce parameters against the model to improve its efficiency, etc before you deploy the changes in the real world.

Eclipse along with the support of Bosch SI are launching a new project called Ditto under a Eclipse Public License 1.0 to provide functionality to manage the state of Digital Twins.

Ditto addresses the following aspects in its scope:

  • Device-as-a-Service
    By exposing a unified resource-based API to interact with devices, the complexity of different device types and how devices are connected can be abstracted away. The device can then be turned inot a service and used in other services.
  • State management for Digital Twins
    Differ between reported (last known), desired (target) and current state (live) of devices, including support for synchronization and publishing of state changes.
  • Organize your set of Digital Twins
    Support finding and selecting sets of Digital Twins by providing search functionality on meta data and state data. That data is automatically indexed by Ditto which leads to fast search responses provided by the search API, even when there are millions of devices to search in.

Ditto Architecture

The Ditto project augments several of the other Eclipse IoT projects.

  • Eclipse Hono for the message exchange with devices
  • Eclipse Vorto for the modeling of device structures reflected by the Digital Twins
  • Eclipse Hawkbit for rolling out software updates based on meta-data of the Digital Twins
  • Eclipse Kapua as integration framework as easy quick-start for end-to-end IoT solutions leveraging the Digital Twins approach

Eclipse Ecosystem

The initial project contributions are set to go live in Q2 of this year with several microservices bundled as Docker images..

More details can be found on the Ditto project page.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Bitcoin IoT Startup Filament’s Funding Totals $16.9M

Bitcoin IoT startup Filament has completed a new funding round in which it raised $ 9.5M venture capital at an undisclosed valuation. It was announced on Feb 23, 2017. So far, the company has completed eight funding rounds that bring its total venture funding to $ 16.95M. The latest round was the biggest after $ 5M Series A funding that took place in May, 2015 led by Bullpen Capital. Other notable investors included Verizon Ventures and Samsung Ventures.

Filament helps industrial companies connect legacy infrastructure. It combines two of the most overhyped technologies, i.e. the Internet of things and block chain—to help oil platforms, farms, and mines monitor their state of infrastructure. The company does it through ‘Tap’, a rugged sensor package that lets its industrial customers wirelessly monitor and control devices or equipment. It also provides a product that it calls ‘The Patch’ which basically adds drop-in wireless connectivity on top of custom hardware.

The company aims to become a pioneer in industrial IoT by applying blockchain and cryptocurrencies to the world of interconnected devices. The fundamental difference Filament is trying to make is that rather than sending sensor data to the cloud, the ‘Tap’ will make transactions and accounting for networked devices happen on the devices themselves. This makes more economic sense to industrial companies that want to avoid the high cost associated to cloud computing and offsite data storage. A typical ‘Tap’ can send small amounts of data up to 9 miles to other ‘taps’ without having to connect with the internet.

Filament from Filament on Vimeo.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Crownstone: Smart Home Automation Technology

Crownstone is a smart addition to the electrical outlets that we already have that adds an arsenal of smart functionalities to your home.

The device functions by connecting with smartphones via Bluetooth technology, determining your location, and enacting any number of functions from turning off lights when you’re not in the room, disabling potentially hazardous appliances when no adults are present to supervise children.

Additionally, the Crownstone will automatically detect gadgets and appliances in your home, collect data on their power usage, and automatically make changes to save on energy.

A notable difference between Crownstone and other smart-home systems is that Crownstone doesn’t require a “hub,” or a central unit that controls all of the remote units. Instead, the user’s smart phone acts as the hub and communicates with all of the units via Bluetooth.

The Crownstone software is open source, like every software from DoBots, giving users the ability to experiment with app development for their own specific needs.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

ARM Acquires Mistbase and NextG-Com to Improve IoT Connectivity

In February 2017, the British technology company ARM (now opened by SoftBank) acquired Mistbase and NextG-Com, two companies involved in cellular technology and the development of NarrowBand-IoT, a low-power wide-area connectivity standard for M2M communication.

Mistbase, a Swedish IoT startup founded in 2015, aimed to develop a communication standard to enable wireless communication between devices that will be an expansion of the existing 4G LTE system.

NextG-Com is a British wireless technology development startup founded in 2008, which developed the first LTE protocol stack meant specifically to provide a cellular connectivity solution to the M2M industry in 2014.

The NB-IoT connectivity standard will unlock more scalable long-range IoT connectivity in a cost efficient manner, as mobile networks will only have to upgrade the existing LTE system.

ARM is utilizing the expertise of both of its acquisitions to offer its first fully integrated NB-IoT cellular modem, called the Cordio-N, combining newly acquired technologies with its latest energy efficient MCUs.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things