iCricket: Enabling pervasive computing for Kids and programming novices

 

 

Synopsis

 

The iCricket is an embedded computing platform. It is an enabling technology that brings together computation, sensors, actuators along with a small board form factor making it a very useful Rapid Pervasive Application Development (RPAD) system. The iCricket can be programmed using the Logo language. The intuitiveness and universal presence of the Logo language makes the iCricket especially suitable for kids and programming novices who can leverage the iCricket technology to build cool applications and in the process learn important principles in computation. The ‘i’ in the iCricket indicates that the iCricket platform provides internet connectivity for its applications. The internet connectivity, we believe, will help the users explore their creativity in cyberspace too. The iCricket was built upon a previous work of Dr. Fred Martin, the Handy Cricket, during his stint at the MIT Media Lab.

 

 

Technology

 

Hardware

The iCricket is powered by a 16-bit ultra-low power RISC microcontroller, the TI-MSP430 running at 8 MHz. The internet connectivity is provided by the CS8900A – Ethernet Transceiver from Cirrus Logic. The hardware schematic file and board file package can be obtained here.

 

Work done during Spring 2005:

During the spring semester, we made a few changes to the board circuitry and ordered the 1.2 rev. of the iCricket hardware. There were 3 boards ordered. The changes made were:

 

Software

The iCricket software architecture comprises the iCricket Virtual Machine and the open-source uip HTTP client/server implementation. The desktop interface uses the conventional Handy Cricket IR serial interface to download code and monitor it online. The development environment is built around the MicroWorlds Logo programming environment. The iCricket platform API is a superset of the older Handy Cricket API. In addition to the necessary sensor-control programming interface, the iCricket API allows users to access internet connectivity in their code. The complete iCricket software package can be obtained here. This package includes both the iCricket VM source code (along with the uip implementation) along with the MicroWorlds Logo compiler and related files.

 

Work done during Spring 2005:

 

 

 

Other work done

 

Research papers

We discussed numerous papers during the spring semester to get a feel of the latest development in the field of ubiquitous/pervasive computing. The papers were as follows:

 

 

Preparation for the Algorithms quals

With guidance from Prof. Fred Martin, I was preparing for the Algorithms qualifier exams beginning in the middle of the semester. We have covered chapters 1 thru 5. I have been able to successfully solve most of the problems chosen by Prof. Fred Martin, to his satisfaction. We will continue this effort throughout the summer as well.

 

 

Author

Kallol Par (kpar@cs.uml.edu)