Tracing Zephyr applications with SEGGER SystemView

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New addition to Zephyr is support for tracing hooks and system-wide support for frameworks and host tools using the tracing feature. Zephyr did have a sample demonstrating SystemView, however it was not available as a global feature and was limited to the sample application. It also required the system event logger feature which was limited in many ways.

The video shows how to trace any application in Zephyr by just adding a configuration option to the application configuration file. Obviously it works only with boards that support SEGGER RTT and JLink, but should work over other interfaces, something we have not tested yet.

Using the same tracing hooks the plan is to support other tracing tools like Percepio Tracealyzer, Trace Compass and others.

View the Tracing with SEGGER SystemView and Zephyr video here.

This post originally ran on Anas Nashif’s personal blog. Read more from Anas here.


A Preview of My Linaro Connect Keynote

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Attending conferences is one of my favorite parts of being a Developer Advocate. There is something special about the combination of informal hallway discussions and a thoughtfully designed program that creates an environment where partnerships and collaborations flourish. These events provide incredible learning, networking and collaboration opportunities and give projects like Zephyr an opportunity to demonstrate our technology and community to a wider audience.

All summer, I have been looking forward to next week’s Linaro Connect 2018 where I will be presenting a keynote discussing the mechanics and methodology behind one of the fastest growing communities in the IoT ecosystem – the Zephyr Project. It was such an honor to be asked to speak about my experience building and participating in open source communities as part of Community Day on Friday, September 21 at 8:45 am. Leading into the event, I wanted to take moment to give a sneak peek into what I will be talking about and why.

My journey here was unexpected but a wonderful surprise. I am part of the growing community of people joining the embedded and IoT ecosystem from other parts of the technology industry. What attracted me was a desire to invent and the understanding that all the tools and knowledge I needed to build the things I wanted were readily available. When I began building, I quickly discovered what most new developers find, its not that simple. While I didn’t find any one tool that solved all my issues out of the box, I found something better. I found a community of like-minded people who were all talking about and working on the features and functionality that mattered to me. I found a structure I could participate in and I found a tool that empowered me to create. I found the Zephyr Community.

Here are a few of the guiding principles I’ll discuss that are foundational to the Zephyr Project, which had a tangible impact on my experience, and empowered me to build embedded and IoT devices.

  • Documentation opens doors
  • Technical diversity can drive other types of diversity
  • Effective collaboration requires dedicated effort
  • Community infrastructure isn’t optional
  • Transparency and governance matters

If you want to hear more, you can register for Linaro Connect here. Click here for more about my keynote. We’ll post slides and videos as available. If you are attending the event, please feel free to tag us in your social media posts @TheaClay and @ZephyrIoT.

Introducing the Zephyr reel Board

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During the February 2018 Embedded World conference in Germany, we started toying with the idea of producing a custom Zephyr development board to highlight some of the main features of the project. We were inspired by badge boards with an electronic ink display worn on lanyards by employees of PHYTEC Messtechnik GmbH,  regular contributors to the Zephyr project in areas including USB, 802.15.4, and Bluetooth.

After the show closed its doors and everyone else was busy dismantling their show booths, Zephyr team members gathered at PHYTEC’s booth. We started brainstorming details for a board that would be produced and sponsored by PHYTEC specifically for Zephyr developers. Deciding the SoC was easy enough. We picked the Nordic nRF52840 since Bluetooth and 802.15.4 support was natively available in Zephyr. We discussed further details such as sensors, buttons, battery, and form factor. Thanks to the vast expertise PHYTEC has in this area, and their demonstrated experience producing boards in this badge form factor, it was just a matter of getting approvals and agreement on the final details. Five months later, and after further design and implementation discussions, we can happily announce a successful first production run of the board.

The reel board is an evaluation board developed by PHYTEC Messtechnik GmbH in cooperation with the Zephyr Project for the Zephyr Hackathon – “Get Connected”,  taking place during the OpenIOT summit in Edinburgh, Thursday, October 25.

The reel board goes beyond a simple evaluation board with environmental sensors and buttons. It is also equipped with an Electrophoretic (electronic ink) display, Bluetooth connectivity, and a built-in debug adapter based on the DAPLink firmware and NXP MK20DX128VFM5 SoC.

The reel board makes it easy to evaluate the Zephyr OS with its various connectivity capabilities that can support use cases including:

  • a battery powered sensor node
  • a low power, low-cost human-machine interface (HMI) for remote control or environmental sensor monitoring
  • a temperature and humidity monitor on your table
  • a product, name, or price tag
  • an interactive lanyard badge for meetings and conferences


reel Board front (Credit: Phytec Messtechnik)


reel Board back (Credit: Phytec Messtechnik)

Basic support for the board is included in the Zephyr 1.13 release planned for early September 2018. Additional documentation and details and can be found in the Zephyr reel board documentation.

Many thanks to PHYTEC Messtechnik GmbH for supporting the Zephyr project and making the reel board a reality.

The Bluetooth Mesh Developer Study Guide

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Guest blog by Martin Woolley, Bluetooth SIG Developer Relations Manager

The Bluetooth mesh specification was adopted in the summer of 2017 and represents a milestone of major importance for Bluetooth technology as it enters its 20th year of existence in 2018.

Bluetooth mesh allows networks of thousands of Bluetooth devices to be created so that every device and system in a large building can be monitored and controlled, for example.

Smart buildings, smart commercial lighting and smart industry are amongst the sectors and applications which will exploit Bluetooth mesh.

For developers, Bluetooth mesh represents an opportunity to learn something new and get involved with a technology which will be widely adopted and make an impact in all sorts of ways. So, to help developers learn about Bluetooth mesh, we’ve created the Bluetooth Mesh Study Guide.

Hands-on Learning

The Bluetooth Mesh Study Guide is a self-study resource which succinctly explains key Bluetooth mesh concepts and terms. But it goes much further than that, recognizing that for developers, there’s no substitute for hands-on experience and no more satisfying a way to learn than to roll up your sleeves and create something.

Working your way through the selection of coding exercises, the guide gives you the opportunity to develop a working mesh network, with devices acting as on/off switches, dimmer controls and as a simple light. You’ll learn about a variety of Bluetooth mesh models and cement your understanding by implementing these models using the SDK for the Zephyr RTOS, which is available for use with a wide variety of boards.

Zephyr was chosen as the platform to base this developer resource upon because it has excellent support for both Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) GATT and GAP and the newer Bluetooth mesh. The APIs are easy to learn, are well documented and there’s a good selection of Zephyr sample projects, including a couple for Bluetooth mesh. The fact that it is essentially vendor agnostic and available for such a wide variety of boards was also important in making this selection.

The Bluetooth Mesh Developer Study Guide bases its hands-on exercises on BBC micro:bits, but with minor changes, the code could be used on other boards. The micro:bit was chosen because it has buttons, a built-in LED display and it’s priced at the more affordable end of the pricing spectrum. We want this resource to be accessible to as many developers as possible.

Over to You

Download the Bluetooth mesh developer study guide today and become a Bluetooth mesh developer!

Also, if you’re attending Bluetoothworld on September 18-19, don’t miss my “Bring Your Own Laptop” developer workshops. I’ll cover basic mesh theory and then a hands-on coding exercise using Zephyr and micro:bits. Learn more:


The Bluetooth Mesh Developer Study Guide:

Bluetooth Mesh papers and presentation videos: