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Video Marvell's Kinoma Create Keeps On Creating (Video) 14

Marvell is the parent company. Kinoma is the company Marvell bought in 2011 that "provides an open-source, cross-platform ECMAScript stack aimed at developing software for Internet of Things products and other embedded devices." They'll sell you a little hardware, too, which makes sense when you realize that parent company Marvell is big-time in the hardware business and will happily help you produce your IoT product -- for a fee, of course. Slashdot interviewed Peter Hoddie at last year's OSCON, so please consider this video an update. And before you ask: Peter says Kinoma is open source, from the bottom to the top -- to which we reply, "we like it like that."

Timothy Lord for Slashdot: Peter,

Peter: Sure. So, Kinoma Create was our first prototyping product and it was really designed and is still designed to bring more people into hardware making. So there's so much excitement and so many cool things going on at the intersection of hardware and software. We wanted to make hardware that was friendlier for people to work with, safer for them to use. And software that was easier to code, and so on the software side we've invested a lot in JavaScript. And since last year we actually open sourced our JavaScript engine, it’s called XS and it is available up on GitHub and it's optimized for size. So we can get it into small devices, IOT devices, embedded devices to help make them scriptable.

Slashdot: So you can take something you make using the Kinoma Create and then how do you translate into let’s say, an IOT device?

Peter: Yeah. So, when you start with Kinoma Create, you write some software, you wire in some sensors and one of the things we like to do is really just experiment with users, build things quickly and let users try it out, so we can see if our ideas are any good, because the engineering of making a real mass production product is really hard, but if you do that with the wrong idea you're dead. And so we test early, we test often. And then the great thing is our parent company is Marvell Semiconductor and so we sell chips to the biggest companies on the planet and so we can then take the work that you're doing here, both the hardware and the software and help you drive those through mass production to final delivery.

Slashdot: Now, speaking of much smaller devices, it’s not just IOT devices, you’ve actually introduced two different new things in the last year. Can you show what those are and explain?

Peter: Sure. So, Kinoma Create introduced last year was a mobile device, so battery powered and touchscreen. You've got two new devices here, the first one is Kinoma HD and that is this little stick you see back here, it’s an HDMI output, plugs into any TV and inside of that, is the same basic CPU that is actually inside a Google Chromecast, so we make that part for them. And what we've done is put it into a developer friendly package, so that out of the box it's ready for you to put your coat on and everything is JavaScriptble. So everything from the network to user interface, you all do that in scripts using our OpenSource library and it's a really fast processor, dual core 1.2 gigahertz, opengl accelerated, hardware codecs, so you can do video and podcast on here.

And we think it's really cool that you know we all have a TV with a spare HDMI Port in our house. And why shouldn't we be able to put what we want on there. So you know we're showing some home monitoring things here but you could write all kinds of different apps for it and the price is incredible, it's $25 on pre-order for delivery later this year and so you know anybody can really get started with that.

Slashdot: Does it come with a fairly friendly GUI? If you plug it into your television, what are you going to see?

Peter: So it really comes up and you know we're debating that inside the team right now. So right now it comes up and it's just ready for you to write code, so it sort of just sits there smiling, you know, the TV version of a blinking cursor waiting for you to do something, but I suspect by the time it ships it will be a little bit more interesting.

The second product is called Kinoma Element and it's this little box here and it’s a tiny little thing. This is a microcontroller based product. So this is kind of our IOT based product and inside of it I’ve got the bare board; it's a Marvell part, it’s a microcontroller here. EMW-300, it's a really cool part, it has the CPU, 200 megahertz ARM processor, has your RAM, so 0.5 megabyte of RAM, it's pretty good for an embedded device and it also has Wi-Fi on that same chip. So the only things you really need to add are flash memory and some electricity somewhere and you're good to go. So you can make really tiny devices with this and then we’ve set this up for people to build prototype. So we added 8 pin headers on both sides. They're fully configurable, so every pin can be power, every pin can be ground, and every pin can be like a GPIO, a lot o them can be analog or serial or i2c or SPI.

So we've actually connected these up to little tiny displays, we’ve connected these up to GPS receivers. It's got a USB port. And the main reason it's there is actually for power. So you can plug into it from your computer to generate power or you can plug a little battery pack on to it. And so these are even less expensive, these are $20 on preorder. And the idea is really you can scatter these around your house, right. So, you know, in this case we have one over here, where we hooked up a temperature sensor. And it's actually feeding data to Kinoma HD, so you can see the current temperature on the screen. And so you can collect lots of data or connect them to motors and control things from your TV, from your phone, from your computer and since there all these devices are WiFi by connected, they can talk to the cloud and they can talk to each other really easily.

Slashdot: Can you easily really manipulate what’s on there through a friendly interface of some kind, is there a, you know, what’s the default environment if somebody who wants to actually make a project?

Peter: We provide a couple of tools to do that, one is called Kinoma Studio, and that's built on Eclipse. And so you can use all the goodness of Eclipse to do that. It's actually pretty nice. It has a JavaScript debugger that's built in, so you can wirelessly debug these, and create a new TV, you can use a profiler as well. So if you're curious where your cycles are going, you can see that. And that's a free download. We also have command line tools, so you can set up your usual scripts and workflow however you like to do that. So we found – in fact we started out with just the integrated development environment and it was very binary response. Some people were like, this is great, it's the only way I want to work, and other people insisted on the command line -- which is probably a typical Slashdot reader. And so we listen to that and we added command line support late last year.

Slashdot: You mentioned that these are going to be available later this year? Is that correct, for both of thosesmallerproducts?

Peter: Yes.

Slashdot: How are they being tested, how many people do you have to actually do it right now?

Peter: There is a couple of ways we’re testing it, one is just with our commercial customers, so the chipsets and the kind of core operating systems in a lot of cases are actually in real products. So the chip inside Kinoma Element for example was the first chip approved for Apple home-kit compatibility, so Marvell is supplying a lot of people with that. We’ve done small runs of them for kind of initial bring up and we're starting to do bigger runs. So we'll start – we're moving from single units to dozens of units, and so as the summer progresses we'll be getting those out to people who are actively looking to do something. We've got a pre-order available, no payment required, just give us your email address, you will lock-in the price. And if people sign up for pre-order and they have an idea of something they'd like to try to build sooner and kind of help to shake it out, we'd love to hear about that with the understanding of course that it may be a little less stable than it will be when we're done.

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Marvell's Kinoma Create Keeps On Creating (Video)

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