Brussels, 08 Dec 2004
A new Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) project aims to expand and simplify existing and future networks of devices and embedded systems, enabling the billions of electronic devices in everyday use to be networked.
The project, RUNES (Reconfigurable Ubiquitous Networked Embedded System) brings together 22 partners from six European countries, the US and Australia in a bid to advance Europe's technological capabilities.
'We stand on the brink of a revolution, in which the worlds of the embedded system and the Internet will collide,' explains the RUNES consortium. 'This will lead to the construction of the first truly pervasive networked computer systems and thus open up a marketplace of a scale unparalleled in the history of technology.
'To realise this commercial potential requires a research and development programme focused on the creation of the infrastructure that actively promotes the efficient and inexpensive construction and management of novel services and applications that are predictable and intuitively usable, so as to fulfil the global user expectations for invisible computing,' adds the consortium.
The RUNES project represents the first major European effort in this area. Its goal is to build large-scale, widely distributed, heterogeneous networked embedded systems that interoperate and adapt to their environments. To achieve this, a standardised infrastructure is needed to favour the widespread use of network embedded systems.
As the consortium explains, only around two per cent of the billions of processors produced each year become the brains of personal computers; most go into embedded systems such as toys, traffic lights, phones and watches, portable computers and music devices. Cheap technologies such as Bluetooth and the rapid growth of the Internet, make it increasingly easy to network those devices and the market for networked embedded systems will no doubt grow dramatically. RUNES will, therefore, exploit those technologies, simplify and standardise, thus enabling programmers to develop useful and profitable applications.
It is hoped that RUNES will create significant new applications in healthcare, domestic security, transport systems, manufacturing, retail and disaster recovery.
'RUNES aims to provide an adaptive middleware platform, a common language that will simplify the application creation process,' explains the consortium. 'This will allow for a dramatic cut in the cost of new application development and a much faster time to market, transforming applications which are already technically possible into forms that are easy and straightforward for designers to use; and enabling applications which were previously unattainable. The project will also examine the potential uses and implications of the technology, develop demonstrator systems and design training courses to aid in dissemination of RUNES technology.'
'RUNES will affect how we live and do business,' concludes EU project officer Franck Boissière. 'By joining up existing devices and creating opportunities for multiple new applications, we are enabling the era of wearable computers, smart homes and a whole new generation of health monitoring.'
For more information about RUNES, please visit: