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5 Top Open-source features and API for embedded systems and edge

· 5 min read
Nicolas Lorenzi

5 Top Open-source features and API for embedded systems and edge

Open source has opened the gate to a new way of thinking in the embedded domain. Breaking away from the monolithic vision to focus on microservices is a choice that has many advantages.

Many open-source projects have emerged due to the lack of existing solutions on the market, often at the initiative of developers who suffered from the lack of functionalities in peripherals and embedded systems.

Edge devices are present in our environment and are focused on optimizing dependency, sustainability, and the relation between cloud resources. As this domain is constantly evolving, choosing open-source features allows everyone to adapt the code to their needs and to benefit from the latest updates from the community. The Linux project is an excellent example.

Some domains can use open-source features to develop their embedded projects: industry focused on data management, IoT, cloud industries, etc.

Let's talk about 5 top open-source features and APIs for embedded systems and edge.

1. Bootloader for embedded systems

As we mentioned earlier, we can use microservice thinking to optimize our embedded systems, and where some people used to talk about containers (like Docker), we talk about nodes. A node comprises different hardware components around an MCU connected to the system. Each node can host several services, such as a DC motor, a LED, or a controller. A node is usually situated on an electronic board, but several nodes can be on the same board.

The Bootloader feature allows developers to quickly update the firmware of any node in an embedded system or device. Knowing every part of your system, programming tools, or drivers is unnecessary. A bootloader can quickly update your application software between your different boards.

Why is using a bootloader an advantage in the embedded field?

The bootloader makes it possible to quickly update an application software between the different nodes of a system.

It allows the installation of new services and applications on the system, which can be done in several ways: via USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Serial Port.

Bootloader can be used on different embedded systems and boards.

As a result, a bootloader allows selective updates of features in a complex system, instead of one general update that can be greedy in time and resources. This enables the methodologies of CI/CD in embedded systems.

If you want to know more about the bootloader, please visit our documentation.

2. A gate between embedded/edge boards and the cloud: Why use an API gate for embedded systems?

an API gate allows developers to create an interface to manage different boards in an embedded system. It makes it possible to control the various boards in a system and to develop new services and applications.

Each board usually has a specific function, such as monitoring a temperature sensor or controlling a DC motor.

With the API gate, developers can easily connect different boards to create an interface. This allows them to manage the various boards in a system and develop new services and applications. API gate can be used on different embedded systems and boards.

As we explain in our documentation, the default behavior of the gate is optimized for a system that has only drivers and controls all behavior through a remote computer.

  1. On power-up, the gate detects the network discovery to find a pipe service (optional).
  2. The gate waits to receive a discovery message from the pipe.
  3. The gate performs a new discovery in response to the discovery command and creates a formatted routing table to send back to the pipe.
  4. The gate then determines the time required to convert the entire network values to the selected format (optional).
  5. The gate sets up all network services to send their values back at the optimal frequency (optional).
  6. The gate generates formatted data with this optimal frequency and sends commands coming from the pipe.

A new embedded community allows you to be informed about the embedded ecosystem and to share your knowledge with other developers: https://discord.gg/luos

3. Timestamp for embedded systems

The timestamp is an essential feature in the embedded field. It allows developers to track an event's time and synchronize the different boards of a system.

Tracking an event is essential when we use different nodes in one system. Timestamp allows us to know if an event is triggered at the right time. If something happens in your system that causes a bug or a significant defect, you will be able to monitor the status before and after a specific event. Seeing and testing this event in different configurations will allow you to quickly fix a bug without impacting your entire system.

This event-tracking may be even more relevant when we develop cloud-based devices. As the used components are dependent on many external factors, such as the mere presence of an internet connection, it is essential or even necessary for the engineers in charge of development to ensure the hit in a test environment before going into production. Once in production, this allows for continuous integration.

Having these event's logs can help support teams to understand, identify, and correct the problem more quickly in a support or user assistance context.

Find the features listed in this article in our Luos engine library on GitHub: https://github.com/Luos-io/luos_engine

4. Monitoring your embedded system

Monitoring is a critical feature in the embedded field. It allows developers to monitor the different boards in a system and ensure that the system is working correctly. Monitoring can be done in several ways, such as via a USB port, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Serial Port.

With the monitoring feature, developers can easily access and monitor different boards and visualize them to manage their system in one interface. Monitoring can improve security in your system by identifying potential threats and by providing information to help you fix them. When you face an event, you can use this feature to trigger a new action.

In the cloud, you can use this feature to monitor your system from anywhere in the world. Cloud device development engineers can easily trigger and identify the network impact on the cloud product before launch.

5. Open-source HAL for embedded systems

A HAL is a feature that allows developers to easily create an interface between different hardware and software components. HAL makes it possible to easily connect other hardware and software components to create an interface. This allows developers to easily create new services and applications.

A HAL can be used on different embedded systems and boards. Making an open-source HAL allows developers to quickly adapt the code to their needs and benefit from the community's latest updates.

All these open-source features are freely available on our GitHub repository: https://github.com/Luos-io/luos_engine

Bonus: JSON API interacts with your embedded system

Making open-source JSON API allows developers to quickly adapt the code to their needs and benefit from the community's latest updates. Many programming languages widely use JSON formatted data. Gate services allow you to convert any information into JSON objects so that traditional programming languages can easily interact with your device.

The use of the JSON language makes it easy to develop new services and applications: discover more on our documentation.

Added bonus: find and interact with thousands of embedded and edge developers on open-source features or tools in our Discord community: https://discord.gg/luos

Conclusion

Open-source has enabled to a new way of thinking in the embedded domain. Breaking away from the monolithic vision to focus on microservices is a choice that has many advantages.

Many open-source projects have emerged due to the lack of existing solutions on the market, often at the initiative of developers who suffered from the lack of functionality in peripherals and embedded systems.

We have seen in this article the main open-source features available for embedded systems. These features are essential for developers working in the embedded field.

We invite you to discover our features in our Luos engine library on GitHub: https://github.com/Luos-io/luos_engine

Don't hesitate to join our Discord server to be informed about the embedded ecosystem and share your knowledge with other developers!

Discover our open-source project focused on embedded and edge devices. Many features await you.

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