• JS on MCUs – Only Getting Better From Here

    Friday, June 6, 2014

    6/6/2014– Jon McKay

    As the boxes start rolling out of our fulfillment house, the “pre-order” button switches to a “buy now” button, and I shave my “no-shave shiptember” “beard”, it’s slowly dawning on me what an accomplishment our team has made.

    We’re certainly not done polishing, but I’m enormously impressed that the our team of six (plus 3 new interns!) was able to combine the useful qualities of a microcontroller, the internet, JavaScript, and Node.js onto a single device -each of which has already made a significant impact on the direction of technology.

    We owe a huge portion of our progress to the entire open source sphere, both hardware and software. We were fortunate enough to use code and hardware designs from the folks at Adafruit, Joyent, and the creators of hundreds of discrete NPM repos. So, thank you and feel free to make use of or contribute to our recently open-sourced code.

    The release of Tessel is only the start. We have a roadmap of features and improvements that we plan to release over the coming weeks when we’re not busy fixing bugs:

    WiFi Reliability & Wireless Code Pushing: At release, Tessel can be programmed over USB. In the next few weeks, we hope to introduce wireless code pushing so that users can push code to Tessel over the internet. We have already built out the backend server and security infrastructure; we just need to improve the reliability of our WiFi connections and finish writing the client code that runs on Tessel.

    Execution Speed: As you might expect, running an interpreted language on a microcontroller is pretty slow compared to a compiled language. The good news is that Tessel’s runtime is just about as slow and bulky as it ever will be. Programming microcontrollers with JavaScript is only going to get faster, lighter, and more reliable. We’ve got some tricks up our sleeves, primarily switching to a LuaJIT architecture, to drastically improve the speed of execution. It’s one of our top priorities as we prove out the viability of higher level languages on microcontrollers.

    Node Compatibility: The most common and applicable Node libraries will all be available on Tessel (Streams, HTTP, EventEmitter, etc.). However, some less applicable libraries are not yet available. We will add support for vm, child_process, readline, repl, tty, debugger, and zlib over time after shipping. We don’t plan to support the cluster (you’ve only one core) and domains library. You can follow our progress on our compatibility page and if you’re interested in helping out develop our open source software, shoot us an email (team@technical.io). We’d love the help.

    As a young company that has yet to hit it’s first birthday, feedback from the community is the most important factor in the direction of our company. If you see something you like, something you want changed, or something you want removed, please, please, please get in touch. We’re available on our Forums, Twitter, Email, or in person:

    1101 Cowper St
    Berkeley, CA 94702
    United States of America

    –Jon

    #jon mckay #update #updates #shipping #milestone #javascript #javascript on hardware #node #node.js #compatibility #speed #microcontroller #javascript on microcontrollers #wifi #wireless code #open source #open company #internet #iot

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