Kinoma Releases Two New IoT Prototyping Devices

Kinoma has released two new products aimed at helping developers prototype new Internet of Things (IoT) products. Launching at Solid in San Francisco today, Kinoma has released the Kinoma Element, an embedded product prototyping platform, and Kinoma HD, a USB-stick-sized, HDMI output plug that can turn any screen into a rich content streamer. Both products can communicate with data, apps, and content via APIs.

Peter Hoddie

Kinoma, a software and application strategy startup, merged with semiconductor maker Marvell to help grow the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) product range. The acquisition means that Marvell can complement its device and chip manufacturing with application and API expertise so that developers can scale products on the Marvell/Kinoma platform.

The two products Kinoma has released today join the Kinoma Create: a hardware prototyper that combines a board with up to 66 pins with a debugging and display tool that enables an application interface for potential products.

As part of Kinoma’s prototyping product range, the two new releases are:

Kinoma Element (priced at $19.95)

  • JavaScript-powered embedded product prototyping platform
  • Built around Marvell’s IMW300 wireless microcontroller system-on-chip
  • 200 MHz CPU
  • 512 KB of RAM
  • Wi-Fi to connect products to the cloud, to mobile, and to other IoT devices.

Kinoma HD (priced at $24.95)

  • Scriptable stick for developers who want to display visually rich content on digital displays.
  • HDMI output plugs
  • WiFi connectivity
  • Plug-and-play once slotted into a display’s full-sized HDMI port
  • USB power supply.

The goal of the two new products is to democratize IoT product creation. Kinoma Vice President, Peter Hoddie, sees three key enablers that the new products are leveraging: the use of JavaScript; having a WiFi device that can communicate using REST protocols; and the price point of under $30 for each of the two new products.

A JavaScript Foundation

To help foster product prototyping, Kinoma has chosen to align its IoT strategy around the JavaScript language and has created the KinomaJS framework.

Hoddie says JavaScript is the natural choice for IoT developers and Kinoma has already begun to implement the latest features of JavaScript 6 Edition in its products.

“JavaScript is currently working its way through the server space, but hasn’t yet had impact in the embedded space,” says Hoddie. “But the language has definitely evolved to the point where it is up to the job. Now that JavaScript 6 Edition is formally an international standard, we wanted to get in front of that.”

Hoddie sees the latest edition of JavaScript as much faster, and “much more modular”: two essential features that he believes assist developers build more concise, modular, large-scale systems that suit IoT functionality.

Kinoma has its own open source JavaScript framework, KinomaJS, which will be implemented to JavaScript 6 Edition standards by next quarter.

REST-based Communication

Hoddie says that the devices are WiFi-enabled, and can support a range of different communication methods, including web sockets to build a connection back to a browser, the CoAP protocol, and REST protocols. This makes the devices API-primed, a key characteristic to feed data in and out from a wide range of sources.

Hoddie describes one early adopter who has been using the Kinoma Create to monitor data relevant to hang-gliding. Sensors are placed at the edge of the hang glider and then APIs connect the sensor data collection to the Create box, which in turn, helps the hang glider make best use of thermal currents and wind factors to stay in the air, gliding for longer. Another hobbyist user has connected a range of sensor and fish tank equipment together via APIs for remote monitoring and control of a salt water aquarium.

“There are lots of components out there, and this device becomes the center of the universe. APIs are the way it connects to those components. We are not a cloud software company, we are not a sensor company. We make devices that use standard connections: you connect to the sensors and the actuators via API,” says Hoddie.

Hoddie sees the new Element and HD products as helping developers and makers continue to prototype, in the same way the Kinoma Create has been doing.

Price Point Makes Prototyping Crowdfunding Accessible

Hoddie believes that the Kinoma Element and HD products will let developers build and test a prototype that can then be put out to crowdfunding for expansion. “We are conditioned to think that consumer electronics is the purview of large electronics companies, but this is where the price of these products helps people move a lot faster. The next wave of innovation will come from people who are experimenting in their home. This is the moment of IoT evolution: we are taking all electrical devices and making them connected. It is a time when someone with a great idea can define what it means for a category to be digital.”

Hoddie also points to the Element’s 512 KB memory as a key driver that has brought Kinoma’s price point down to under $20. “The first place you have to start is memory. Memory is money. We can run on 512 KB, that we can squeeze all the memory on the same device as the CPU. The second money cost is power: we need to run on a very low current.”

ProgrammableWeb’s coverage of the Solid conference continues throughout the rest of the week.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.

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