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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Battling device mayhem with Mayhem - ITworld

Battling device mayhem with Mayhem

Interconnectivity project addresses the Internet of Things problem

By Brian Proffitt  Add a new comment

There's been a lot of talk about “the Internet of things”--the hypothetical, interconnected Web of physical objects that will communicate with each other and function as a unified force for good in our lives.

There's just one teeny, tiny problem: how exactly will all of these objects talk to each other? Who gets to design a way for, say, any coffeemaker to talk to any light sensor on the market to make coffee when the sun comes up?

The Outercurve Foundation is announcing today the acceptance of a new project into its ranks that could be a significant step towards solving this not-so-tiny problem of device interconnectedness.

The project is called Mayhem, a scripting system that's spinning out of the Applied Sciences Group at Microsoft. project into the newly-formed Innovators Gallery. The idea behind Mayhem is to enable users to interconnect services and devices within the Windows ecosystem.

At this point, the open source faithful might be wondering why they should care about any of this. Windows? Devices? Hang on, we're getting there.

First off, Mayhem is open source, and has been from its inception. According to Paul Dietz, Mayhem Project Leader, as soon as the team at the Applied Science Group started putting Mayhem together, they realized that in order to meet the challenge of hardware communication on a near-universal scale, they were going to have to rely on open source development practices.

What's also interesting about Mayhem is the way it works. Instead of trying to figure out how a bazillion devices can actually communicate with each other, Deitz explained that no actual data gets exchanged when Mayhem devices talk to each other--just a signal. Because Mayhem just deals with signals, it simplifies the communication enormously. Mayhem enables users to build whatever reaction they want based on the signal, Deitz explained.

So, in the example I outlined earlier (which actually came from Deitz), the coffeemaker doesn't have to know what the light sensor is saying; it just knows that when it gets a signal from the light sensor, it just has to start the reaction to the signal: brewing the coffee.


Interesting and a Simple Concept. I wonder just how Simple it is to Implement?


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