BeagleBoard/GSoC/Ideas

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Welcome!

BeagleBoard.org hopes to be accepted as a mentoring organization in the Google Summer of Code for 2013! Below, we've collected project ideas for the 2013 GSoC.

Background

BeagleBoard.org is a volunteer organization that seeks to advance the state of open-source software on open-source hardware platforms capable of running high-level languages and operating systems (primarily Linux) in embedded environments. Born from taking mobile phone processors and putting them on low-cost boards to build affordable desktop computers, BeagleBoard.org has evolved to focus on the needs of the "maker" community with greater focus on the I/O needed for controlling motors and reading sensors to build things like robots, 3d printers, flying drones, in-car computer systems and much more. Past BeagleBoard.org GSoC projects included an RPC framework for heterogeneous processor communication, a transparent USB packet sniffer, ARM optimizations for XBMC, ARM optimizations for FFTs, make-shift pulse-width-modulation and RPC optimizations for OpenCV. BeagleBoard.org has benefited from sponsorship from Texas Instruments, CircuitCo, Digi-Key and others, but avoids any dependence on that sponsorship for sustaining the effort. The project has evolved over the past few years with over 100,000 boards in circulation with developers worldwide and strong roots in the Linaro, Yocto Project, Angstrom Distribution and Linux communities---and support for running most major Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Android, Fedora, Debian, ArchLinux, Gentoo, Buildroot and many more.

Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of cross-compiling before being accepted, but support for demonstration is available through the IRC channel that typically has approximately 150 online chatters logged on at any time, most with sufficient experience to explain the process.

Every accepted student will be sent a BeagleBone Black before the first week of coding for testing their project.

Additional hardware will be provided depending on need and value.

For more information, check out http://beagleboard.org and http://beagleboard.org/brief.

Students looking for ideas

Student proposals can encompass projects inspired from the following list of ideas or can include personal project ideas. Previous Google Summer of Code projects show that the key to success is being passionate about your project, so propose something that is extremely interesting to you, even if it is not on this list. We will be glad to help students develop ideas into projects via the BeagleBoard IRC or the BeagleBoard mailing list. There are many potential project ideas and we will match students to projects based on their interests and help scope the proposals to something that can be completed in the Summer of Code timeframe.

There are more than 300 existing projects listed at http://beagleboard.org/project. If you are interested in one of the projects listed on the BeagleBoard.org projects page, talk with the project members to see if there are any aspects of their projects that can be used to create a GSoC project. There are also several ideas on theECE497 class project idea list. You can also check out last year's idea page.

Mentors wondering where to help

Please start by registering your idea below by following the template provided with the existing examples. Furthermore, scroll down to the bottom and give everyone a bit of information about your expertise and availability by adding yourself to the table.

General requirements

All projects have the following basic requirements:

  1. The project must be registered on http://beagleboard.org/project.
  2. All newly generated materials must be released under an open source license.
  3. Individual students shall retain copyright on their works.
  4. Source code generated during the project must be released on github.com (to be cloned to github.com/beagleboard on successful completion).
  5. The registration on http://beagleboard.org/project must include an RSS feed with project announcements and updates at every milestone. Sources for the RSS feed should be blogger.com, wordpress.com, or some other established blog-hosting service with known reliability.
  6. To help you to break your project down into manageable chunks and also to help the project's mentors to better support your efforts, weekly project status reports should be e-mailed to the project's mentors and the organization administrator (Jason Kridner). Each status report should outline:
    1. What was accomplished that week,
    2. any issues that prevented that week's goals from being completed and
    3. your goals for the next week.
  7. Students will provide two recorded presentations, one near the beginning of the project summarizing their project goals and another in the wrap-up phase to summarize their accomplishments. Examples can be found on http://beagleboard.org/gsoc.
  8. Students will demonstrate their ability to cross-compile and utilize version control software by creating a "Hello World" application and generating a pull request to https://github.com/jadonk/gsoc-application/tree/master/ExampleEntryJasonKridner. For assistance, please visit http://beagleboard.org/chat or utilize the beagleboard-gsoc Google Group. The "Hello World" application must print your name and the date out in an ARM Linux environment. Freely available emulators may be used to test your application or you can ask anyone on the chat or mailing list to help you test.
  9. All projects will produce reusable software components and will not be "what–I-built-over-my-summer-vacation" projects. Including a hardware component is welcome, but the project *deliverable* will be software that may be utilized by a wide audience of the BeagleBoard community.

Ideas

There are several areas needing contributions:
Kernel: Improving the state of the Linux kernel including improved ARM/OMAP/Sitara platform support, simplifying the development of add-on hardware for embedded systems and exchanging hardware connectivity information with userspace.
Secondary processor support (RPC/gcc/etc.): Enabling usage of DSPs, PRUs, FPGAs, Cortex-M3s, Arduinos, MSP430 launchpads and other attached processing platforms.
Scripting libraries and web interfaces: Improving the Bonescript JavaScript library, web-based interface libraries, examples or alternatives in other languages.
Frameworks for open-hardware projects: Consolidating support for simplified home manufacturing (CNC, 3D printers, laser cutters, pick-and-place machines, etc.), drones/bots (ROS, IMU, video streaming, etc.) or other common tasks.
Optimizations to existing userspace applications/libraries: Optimizations to applications and libraries like XBMC to make them run better on resource constrained environments or to take advantage of more specialized processing elements.

Upstreaming Beagleboard.org Kernel Patches

The BeagleBone currently relies on a number of out-of-tree kernel patches in order to boot. These patches are maintained by Koen Kooi (CircuitCo) and come from many sources, including TI employees and various mailing lists. Getting more of these patches upstream would make it easier to boot a BeagleBone and also make use of a BeagleBone easier for users and kernel developers who need to track upstream kernel changes, or who otherwise need to be closer to the bleeding edge of Linux kernel development. The current patch set is maintained at github and contains scripts to easily patch an upstream kernel. The scripts in this repository are used to build the BeagleBoard.org kernels which ship with the Angstrom SD card images.

Goal: Push as many patches as possible to Linus's mainline kernel tree via the appropriate staging kernels for the subsystems involved.
Existing Project: The Mainline Linux Kernel, patches needing to be pushed
Hardware Skills: Able to read schematics, understand basic digital logic and monitor logic-level digital signals.
Software Skills: Able to write software in C, create patches to the Linux kernel and perform cross-compilation and testing.
Possible mentors: Matt Porter, Matt Ranostay, Koen Kooi, Alan Ott

IIO debugging tools

Quick background: IIO is the new way of doing sensors but being a newer interface, it lacks tools for debugging. This project is to produce sometools to debug drivers. There are several ways this project can happen:
1. We can implement userland tools that read IIO data similar to the evtest tool.
2. We can implement a event handler for the IIO driver. This way existing tools and code can be used. There was references from another mailing list (probally LKML) talking about this.

Goal:
Existing Project:
Hardware Skills:
Software Skills:
Possible mentors:

node-webkit based cross-platform getting-started app

Features:

  • Provide instructions for getting up-and-running with the board based (incorporate the Getting Started Guide)
  • Automatically discover boards on the LAN using mDNS and predetermined IP addresses
  • Act as a browser to interact with the board, including performing SSH and SCP
  • Discover the latest SD card images from multiple distributions
  • Bootload the board with a USB-mass-storage-class application
  • Program SD cards through the board or a USB adapter
  • Program on-board eMMC

Goal: Provide a downloadable application for Linux, Windows and Mac that enables unexperienced users to get going enough to start learning about using Linux and the embedded I/O.
Existing Project: Incomplete node webkit app for the BeagleBone Getting Started guide
Hardware Skills: N/A
Software Skills: Able to write software in JavaScript and work with node.js modules
Possible mentors: Jason Kridner

OpenEmbedded support for npm packages for node.js

Using npm for packages works well for grabbing most recent versions of things, but it doesn't work well to make sure you are getting tested versions built for your platform, it doesn't integrate with the native package manager, it is a huge security hole and it generally is a mess for distributions. OpenEmbedded provides a great vehicle for creating distributions that can professionally support deploying node.js packages rather than relying on a tool that is really only geared for prototyping.

  • Create a bitbake 'npm' class
  • Cross-build native code using node-waf, node-gyp and nw-gyp
  • Create dependencies using package.json

Goal:
Existing Project:
Hardware Skills:
Software Skills:
Possible mentors:

Bonescript web pages with live-running examples and documentation

Goal:
Existing Project:
Hardware Skills:
Software Skills:
Possible mentors:

Integrate support libraries into Angstrom

Many BeagleBone and embedded Linux support libraries in various programming languages exist as projects that aren't included in the distro shipped with BeagleBoard and BeagleBone. These need bitbake recipes added to meta-beagleboard such that they can be easily downloaded and incorporated into the shipping distro.

  • Python PyBBIO
  • Ruby beaglebone-ruby
  • Perl bonelib

Goal:
Existing Project:
Hardware Skills:
Software Skills:
Possible mentors:

SYSFS entries for IIO and PWM

IIO and PWM provide mechanisms for sampling touch screens, performing general purpose A/D conversions to read sensors, generating voltage levels and driving motors. The Linux kernel SYSFS mechanism provides a simplified mechanism for userspace applications to set parameters and read/write data values.

Goal: Push patches to Linux mainline providing SYSFS entries for IIO and PWM useful for building a demo robot
Existing project: http://github.com/beagleboard/kernel
Hardware skills: Able to read schematics, understand basic digital logic and monitor logic-level digital signals
Software skills: Able to write software in C, create patches to the Linux kernel and perform cross-compilation
Possible mentors: TBD

Using BeagleBone PRUs to control CNC and 3D printer stepper motor Drivers

This project is to write code for the PRU (realtime processors on the AM335x used in the Beagle Bone) so that it can generate multiple step and direction outputs based on a queue of commands in real time. This needs to be done in real time so the acceleration and coordination of multiple stepper motors can be controlled and coordinated. A step/dir signal is commonly used in a lot of stepper motor drivers. While it is possible to generate stepper phase information from the PRU, it is also undesireable from a testing stand point. An example of a reason for doing this is controlling the X/Y directions of the head of a 3D printer so that it can generate precise curves. While similar code has been done, it is not done in a real time fashion so it is difficult to add coordination between motors and/or maintain a known acceleration.

The result of this code should be something interfaceable to a control system like the non realtime portions of the Linux CNC project (formerly the EMC project). But as a demo, this same code should also demonstrate a node.js functionality such as a "G-code" interpreter. This node.js portion can be considered a second project due to the different skill sets required. Goal: create code to use the AM335x PRUs to generate multiple step and direction outputs for reprap and CNC applications
Existing project: Pru Documentation, UIO Driver documentation
Hardware skills: Able to read schematics, understand basic digital logic and monitor logic-level digital signals
Software skills: Assembly and C coding. Node.js for g-code interpretation
Possible mentors: Tom King

PRU upstreaming

Remove HWMOD dependency requirement for PRU along with adding device tree bindings so it can be upstreamed into Linus's tree.

Goal: Push patches to Linux mainline providing support for the AM335x PRU
Existing project: https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git/
Hardware skills: Able to read schematics, understand basic digital logic and monitor logic-level digital signals
Software skills: Able to write software in C, create patches to the Linux kernel and perform cross-compilation
Possible mentors: TBD

PRU firmware loader

Allow "firmware" which are really compile PRU applications to be loaded directly on PRU cores and executed using the request_firmware() functionality of the Linux Kernel. This should also be Cape Manager to load PRU cape specific applications.

Ideal workflow:

  • Cape detected that uses the PRU
    • Setup pinmux
  • Find the respective firmware file for PRU core (or both cores) /lib/firmware/cape_A020_pru0.bin
  • Load onto PRU and begin execution.

Goal: Push patches to Linux mainline providing support to loading firmware on PRU cores and executing
Existing project: https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git/
Hardware skills: Able to read schematics, understand basic digital logic and monitor logic-level digital signals
Software skills: Able to write software in C, create patches to the Linux kernel and perform cross-compilation
Possible mentors: Matt Ranostay, Matt Porter

PRU virtual machine

Based on Chris Roger's URAPI work to provide a virtual machine for typical Arduino functions that can be accessed from LabView, build a virtual machine to enable PRU programming from Bonescript. The virtual machine is a simple interpreter that loops over the command to perform delay, pinMode, attachInterrupt, analogRead, analogWrite, digitalRead and digitalWrite functions. A simple conditional goto is resolved at load-time and a minimal set of variables are available for use. Support will need to be included for simple expressions, but the pre-parser can break them down ahead of time. Introspection in JavaScript should be used to convert a minimal function definition into source to be fed to a parser and passed to the interpreter on the PRU via shared memory.

Goal: Implement a URAPI interpreter that off-loads hard real-time tasks from Bonescript onto the PRU and include that in the Bonescript project
Existing projects: http://github.com/beagleboard/am335x_pru_package, http://github.com/jadonk/bonescript, Chris' Arduino implementation
Hardware skills: Able to read schematics, understand basic digital logic and monitor logic-level digital signals
Software skills: Able to write software in JavaScript and assembly
Possible mentors: Jason Kridner

Android-based boot host

Boot your BeagleBone using your Android phone. Combined with the Android Accessory Development Kit code available for BeagleBone and an application to help code/run small applications, this gives you a complete development environment that is easy to distribute to other users.

Goal:
Existing Project:
Hardware Skills:
Software Skills:
Possible mentors:

Android under Angstrom

Some people want to play Angry Birds or run other Android apps on their BeagleBoard/BeagleBone. Of course, you could use the Rowboat Android project as-is, but then you'd have to give up all of their typical Linux/X11 applications available in Angstrom. This project would use an Android-enabled kernel and a combination of both Angstrom and Android file systems. The input and display methods required for Android would need to be adjusted to run in on a virtual terminal and chroot/chvt would be used to invoke the various user space windows.

This has essentially been done once as part of Always Innovating's Super-Jumbo demo running Ubuntu, Angstrom, ChromeOS and Android simultaneously. The fundamental challenge is getting it reproducible and integrated into the OpenEmbedded build system for Angstrom and then starting to minimize the wasted file space by sharing libraries. Eventually, even making Android applications run in a window is desired.

Goal: Run Android applications under Angstrom and toggle back-and-forth using CTRL-ALT-Fn key presses.
Existing projects: http://arowboat.org, http://www.angstrom-distribution.org
Hardware skills: Minimal
Software skills: Able to write software in C and Java, experience with X11 and Android
Possible mentors: TBD

Mentors

Previous mentors

Name IRC nickname Native language Other languages Timezone Software help Hardware help Focus projects
Jason Kridner jkridner English - US Eastern JavaScript, C, u-boot wiring, timing diagrams, basic debug Bonescript development
Vladimir Pantelic av500 German English, Serbian CET Experienced on most areas of Embedded Linux, Multimedia Schematic Review + Design Embedded Linux, Linux Multimedia, Android
Matt Ranostay mranostay English (U.S. Midwestern Dialect) None US Pacific Time Experienced on most areas of Embedded Linux or Systems Schematic Review + Design ARM/AM335x Kernel Development
Philip Balister Crofton - - - - - -
Russ Dill Russ English None US Pacific Time Experienced on most areas of Embedded Linux or Systems Schematic Review + Design ARM/AM335x Kernel Development
Matt Porter mdp English (U.S. Midwestern Dialect) None US Eastern Embedded Linux Firmware/Kernel and system level design. Designing Linux drivers to make the best use of existing infrastructure. Schematic Review + Design ARM/AM335x/OMAP/PRU U-Boot and Kernel/Driver Development
Koen Kooi koen Dutch English CET Experienced on most areas of Embedded Linux, buildsystems - -
Tom King ka6sox English None US Pacific Time Experienced on most areas of Embedded Linux or Systems Schematic Review + Design, Board Layout ARM/AM335x Kernel Development
Jayneil Dalal jayneil English Hindi, Gujarati US Central Time Basic Embedded Linux, Documentation - Application based hw/sw projects on the Beaglebone
Laine Walker-Avina Ceriand English - US Pacific C, Assembly, Buildroot, Reprap USB protocol & logic analyzers, Various JTAG probes, 3d printer OpenOCD, bootloaders, Linux kernel, Reprap firmware
Alan Ott alan_o American English (Central Florida Dialect) American English (Midwestern Dialect) US Eastern (EDT) Linux Kernel, Firmware Breadboard wire-jamming 802.15.4 Wireless, USB
Hunyue Yau ds2 English - US Pacific Android, C, Linux, scripting Yes -
Tom Rini Tartarus English - US Eastern C, u-boot, OpenEmbedded - U-Boot or OpenEmbedded development
Luis Gustavo Lira lglira Spanish English GMT/UTC -5 Embedded Linux, C, Android Design, Debug, Wiring Projects on the BeagleBone
Derek Molloy molloyd - GMT (London) C++, Java, Embedded C/C++ Digital Circuits, Interfacing to Sensors Beaglebone Applications, Linux Multimedia, Embedded Linux