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Zephyr in the Wild: Real-World Applications and Use Cases (videos)

By June 18, 2024July 1st, 2024No Comments
Embedded Open source summit, North America 2024

The Embedded Open Source Summit took place from April 16-18 in Seattle, Washington, alongside the Open Source Summit North America. The Zephyr Developer Summit was part of the EOSS, aimed at developers using or considering Zephyr in embedded products. This year, we concentrated on supporting topics relevant to Zephyr users, upstream contributors, and maintainers.

More than 860 individuals from 721 organizations across 46 countries registered for the EOSS conference. The Zephyr track featured over 50 technical sessions, both in-person and on-demand, focusing on users, upstream developers, and maintainers.

Videos from the Zephyr Developer Summit are available on the Zephyr Project YouTube channel. We will highlight a few videos each week in a blog for easy access.

Embedded Open source summit, North America 2024

Today, we’re featuring 

Build Wireless Products Faster with Zephyr and MicroPython – Ryan Erickson, Ezurio

In his talk Ryan Erickson from Ezurio, formerly Laird Connectivity, introduces the Canvas Software Suite, a platform designed to streamline the development of IoT products. This suite leverages Zephyr RTOS and MicroPython to simplify the development process, allowing users to focus on business logic rather than low-level firmware details. By integrating MicroPython within a Zephyr thread, Canvas enables access to Zephyr’s robust subsystems, including BLE, networking, and TLS security, through Python APIs.

Erickson outlines the architecture of Canvas, emphasizing how Zephyr forms the core while MicroPython acts as a module, thus benefiting from Zephyr’s extensive features and certifications. He discusses the tools available, such as a Visual Studio Code extension for coding and debugging, a desktop application for graphical data representation, and a mobile app for over-the-air updates.

Ryan also highlights key supported products, including the BLE and UWB-enabled Sera NXO40 module and the Sentrius MG100 Gateway, which integrates BLE and cellular capabilities. He provides an overview of the development process, explaining how Canvas simplifies file system management, driver integration, and connectivity through Python-based scripting.

The talk demonstrates the practical application of these tools, showcasing the ease of creating BLE peripherals and central applications with minimal code. Ryan also addresses future enhancements, such as true threading in MicroPython, flexible firmware updates, and encrypted file systems, reinforcing the platform’s commitment to making IoT development more accessible and efficient. 

OCPP: Zephyr RTOS as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) by Saravanan Sekar, Linumiz

In the talk “OCPP: Zephyr RTOS as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)” at the Zephyr Project Developer Summit, Saravanan Sekar from Linumiz discusses the application of Zephyr RTOS in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Saravanan highlights the growing need for a robust charging network due to the increasing adoption of electric vehicles. The talk focuses on the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), an open, interoperable protocol that facilitates communication between Charge Point Operators (CPOs) and EVSEs, thereby enhancing the EV charging ecosystem.

He explains how Zephyr RTOS is well-suited for managing EVSEs due to its support for multiple network interfaces (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, modem) and native implementations of TCP/IP stacks. Zephyr’s modular architecture allows for flexible integration of various components, such as energy meters and RFID readers, essential for charging operations.

The presentation delves into the OCPP, detailing its significance in public and private charging infrastructures. He outlines the core profiles and messages defined by OCPP 1.6, such as boot notifications, authorization, start/stop transactions, and meter value reporting. He also explains the structure and flow of OCPP messages, emphasizing their role in ensuring accurate billing and efficient energy management.

Additionally, Sekar introduces the native implementation of the OCPP stack in Zephyr, showcasing its consumer API for application-level integration. He illustrates the practical use of Zephyr in EVSE through example workflows, including user authorization, transaction management, and interaction with central management systems.

The talk concludes with a note on the current state and future enhancements of the OCPP stack in Zephyr, including plans for TLS support and compatibility with newer OCPP versions. 

Beefy ML: Ultra-Low Power Algorithms on Cattle – Jordan Yates, CSIRO

In this talk “Beefy ML: Ultra-Low Power Algorithms on Cattle” by Jordan Yates from CSIRO discusses the innovative application of machine learning (ML) on cattle to monitor feed intake using ultra-low power algorithms. The session explores the design, implementation, and validation of a system that utilizes accelerometer data to estimate cattle grazing behaviors, contributing to more efficient cattle farming practices and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Jordan explains that the project involves two main hardware components: a research collar and a commercial ear tag, both running on Zephyr RTOS. The research collar, used for data collection and validation, features solar power, GPS tracking, and an SD card for logging data. The ear tag, designed for practical deployment, is lightweight, solar-powered, and capable of direct satellite communication.

The session highlights the challenges of data acquisition and annotation, detailing the use of walk-over weighing bridges, video recording, and manual observations to create training datasets. The data processing pipeline involves pre-processing, ML model training with PyTorch, and implementation using CMSIS DSP for embedded execution. The algorithms optimized for low-power Cortex M4F processors run in milliseconds, making them suitable for continuous operation on resource-constrained devices.

Jordan discusses the practical aspects of deploying these ML algorithms, including the complexities of dealing with uncooperative test subjects (cattle), varying sensor placements, and environmental conditions. The system’s performance is validated through extensive testing, achieving reliable classification of cattle behaviors such as grazing, ruminating, and drinking.

The talk concludes with a discussion on the future potential of integrating additional sensors, such as microphones and environmental data, to enhance the system’s accuracy. 

Connecting Zephyr Devices at Scale Using Open Source Solutions – Julien Vermillard, Tado

In his talk “Connecting Zephyr Devices at Scale Using Open Source Solutions” at the Zephyr Developer Summit, Julien Vermillard from Tado explores the integration of Zephyr’s built-in CoAP and LWM2M clients with open source projects like Eclipse Leshan and Californium to manage cloud-connected low-power devices efficiently. The session delves into the nuances of CoAP, a protocol designed for constrained networks, highlighting its unique combination of reliability and application request-response mechanisms within a compact binary format.

Julien contrasts two network architectures: cellular LPWAN solutions (LTE-M/NB-IoT) and Matter/Thread for smart home thermostats. He explains how CoAP’s blockwise transfer and DTLS security are tailored for low-power, high-latency environments. The presentation also covers practical challenges such as maintaining device connections across NAT routers, managing firmware updates efficiently, and ensuring secure and reliable communication.

He provides insights from real-world deployments, emphasizing the importance of using open source solutions for long-term maintainability and flexibility. He demonstrates the capabilities of the Eclipse Leshan server for managing LWM2M clients, showing how devices register, report telemetry, and receive configuration updates.

Key takeaways include strategies for minimizing battery consumption in low-power devices, the trade-offs between interoperability and power efficiency, and the practicalities of deploying large-scale IoT solutions with open-source tools. 

How to Integrate My (Proprietary) Code in Zephyr – Iuliana Prodan, NXP

In her talk “How to Integrate My (Proprietary) Code in Zephyr” at the Zephyr Developer Summit, Iuliana Prodan from NXP explores methods to incorporate proprietary code into the Zephyr operating system, which is designed for embedded devices ranging from small microcontrollers to sophisticated embedded systems. The session covers the Zephyr project structure, licensing requirements, and the prerequisites for application development.

Iuliana explains how to build and integrate third-party static libraries within the Zephyr build system, using the Cadence HiFi 4 DSP as a case study. She demonstrates how to import external code directly into the Zephyr repository, how to use Zephyr’s external module mechanism, and how to manage binary blobs for proprietary libraries. The talk includes practical examples, such as the creation of an application that leverages the Cadence Nature DSP library, and discusses the necessary steps for out-of-tree device driver integration.

Additionally, Iuliana shares insights on toolchains, highlighting the Zephyr SDK and the use of custom toolchains, and details the integration process of Sound Open Firmware (SOF) with Zephyr. SOF, an open source audio DSP firmware, transitioned from a standalone project using the Xtensa OS to leveraging Zephyr’s kernel API and device drivers. This migration showcases the flexibility and power of the Zephyr build system.

The presentation emphasizes the importance of adhering to Zephyr’s licensing and documentation practices and provides a comprehensive overview of how developers can effectively incorporate proprietary code while maintaining compliance with open source requirements. The session concludes with a Q&A, addressing topics such as the process of converting SOF drivers to Zephyr and the handling of external modules.

Enabling Real-Time Secure Connectivity to the Industrial Edge with Single-Pair Ethernet and Zephyr – Jason Murphy, Analog Devices

In his presentation “Enabling Real-Time Secure Connectivity to the Industrial Edge with Single-Pair Ethernet and Zephyr”, Jason Murphy from Analog Devices explores the transformative potential of Single-Pair Ethernet (SPE) and Zephyr OS in industrial IoT applications. Jason begins by introducing 10BASE-T1L SPE, highlighting its capability to replace low-speed fieldbus installations with high data rate links while supporting modern cybersecurity standards. SPE extends IP connectivity to field devices over twisted pair cabling, reducing installation costs and eliminating data islands between OT and IT systems.

He emphasizes the importance of software in enabling Ethernet connectivity in resource-constrained embedded devices, discussing how Zephyr OS provides a comprehensive networking stack supporting essential protocols like TCP/IP, MQTT, and TLS. He also explains the implementation of SPE in Zephyr, detailing the necessary hardware and software configurations, and highlighting Zephyr’s real-time performance, resource efficiency, and security capabilities.

The talk includes practical insights on the integration of Analog Devices’ SPE transceivers into Zephyr, showcasing the use of the ADIN1110 MAC-PHY and ADIN2111 two-port switch. He provides a walkthrough of the development process, from platform selection and device tree configuration to application development, demonstrating how Zephyr’s networking stack facilitates the rapid development of secure, real-time Ethernet-connected industrial edge devices.

He concludes with an overview of a sample application developed using Zephyr and SPE, illustrating the ease of achieving secure, real-time connectivity in industrial environments. Jason underscores Zephyr’s suitability for industrial IoT applications, encouraging developers to consider SPE and Zephyr for their next projects to enable robust, secure connectivity at the edge.

Key takeaways include the advantages of SPE for long-range Ethernet connectivity, the critical role of software in enabling SPE, and Zephyr’s capabilities in supporting secure, real-time Ethernet-connected devices. 

Watch the rest of the Zephyr Developer Summit videos here. The schedule and links to the PPT presentations can be found here. Photos from the EOSS can be found here.

For more information about the 2024 event, stay tuned by subscribing to the Zephyr quarterly newsletter or connect with us on @ZephyrIoT, Zephyr Project LinkedIn or the Zephyr Discord Channel to talk with community and TSC members.

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