BeagleBoard/GSoC/Ideas

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Welcome!

BeagleBoard.org has been accepted as a mentoring organization in the Google Summer of Code for 2010!! Students will be applying startign March 29 and we still need several more mentors to register before then.

Background
For a quick view of how the BeagleBoard relates to the open source development community, take a listen to Mans and Koen's interview with the Linux Outlaws. The BeagleBoard is a popular open-source hardware project utilizing the first broadly available ARM Cortex-A8 processor. Over 10,000 people are experimenting with the BeagleBoard today to bring their ideas for the future of everywhere-computing to life and you can be one of them.

Because the BeagleBoard:

  • utilizes a complex SoC with 3 primary processing cores,
    • one for general-purpose activities such as running Linux and applications (ARM Cortex-A8),
    • one for running real-time signal processing algorithms (C64x+ VLIW fixed-point DSP), and
    • one for rendering 3D graphics (Imagination SGX), and
  • is specifically designed for low-power (typically running under 2W at full processing load), and
  • has a very small foot-print that includes standard peripheral expansion like USB,

there are many opportunities to explore challenges in computer science in areas of

  • optimal execution of applications/algorithms on additional instruction set architectures like ARM or C6000,
  • splitting tasks appropriately between processing cores to minimize task execution time and power consumption, and
  • integrating computation into new form-factors.

Students and mentors
Student proposals can create projects from the following ideas or propose their own project based on their own ideas. From reading about previous Google Summer of Code projects, the key to success is being passionate about your project, so propose something that is extremely interesting to you, even if it not on the list. We will be glad to help students develop ideas into projects on the BeagleBoard IRC or the BeagleBoard mailing list. There are many more ideas of what can be done and we will match projects to students interest and help scope the proposal to something that can be completed in the Summer of Code time-frame.

There are more than 100 exiting projects list at http://beagleboard.org/project. If you are interested in one of those projects, talk with the project members to see if there are any aspects of their projects with which they can help you contribute. There are also several ideas on the ECE597 class project idea list.

General requirements

All projects have the following basic requirements:

  • The project must be registered on http://beagleboard.org/project.
  • All newly generated materials must be released under an open source license.
  • Individual students shall retain copyright on their works.
  • Source code generated during the project must be released on gitorious.org, github.com, repo.or.cz, sourceforge, code.google.com, gforge.ti.com, or omapzoom.org.
  • 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.
  • To help you to break your project down into manageable chunks and also 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:
    • what was accomplished that week,
    • any issues that prevented that week's goals from being completed, and
    • your goals for the next week.

Fundamental infrastructure projects

These projects fundamentally improve support of existing open source projects for ARM-based devices in general and the BeagleBoard in specific, bringing the broad body of high-level open source applications into smaller, lower-cost, lower-power systems that can go anywhere.

JTAG debugging

Implement, configure and document a complete open source based JTAG debugging development chain for ARM Cortex A8 in OMAP3 used on Beagle Board. This includes final port of open source JTAG software OpenOCD for OMAP3 on Beagle, and then configure and document all software (and hardware) components involved. This could look like:

ARM Cortex A8 <-> OMAP3 <-> BeagleBoard <-> Flyswatter (*) <-> OpenOCD <-> GDB <-> Eclipse (CDT)

(*) Note: Flyswatter is used as example JTAG dongle here. All OpenOCD JTAG dongles able to deal with 1.8V and configure EMUx pins correctly can be used.

Goal: Able to single step kernel code using OpenOCD, GDB, and Eclipse
Existing project: OpenOCD
Hardware skills: Able to monitor logic-level digital signals
Software skills: C, ARMv7 assembly
Possible mentors: Dirk Behme, Ceriand

NOTE: TinCanTools will donate Flyswatter boards for this project

Linux kernel improvements

Several improvements are desired in the Linux kernel to make it more useful for embedded/device applications.

Goal: Improve the capabilities of the Linux kernel, especially for embedded devices including ARM Cortex-A8 and OMAP3-based devices.
Existing project: linux-omap
Software skills: C, ARMv7 assembly (desired), Linux kernel driver development
Possible mentors: Kevin Hilman, Tony Lindgren, Khasim Syed Mohammed, Russell King

More detailed kernel improvement ideas

USB device audio support
The Linux USB gadget infrastructure doesn't have audio device class support (but Linux does have USB host audio support. There is some work on a gadget MIDI audio driver. Some work has been done over at Blackfin, but is reported as not working very well. Getting USB isochronous endpoint, gadget audio driver connected to audio on BeagleBoard would be beneficial to all OMAP3 isochronous USB needs, better isochronous gadget support in Linux (there are no standard gadgets test for isochronous endpoints), and a prove out a real gadget driver that requires isochronous endpoints. Anyone wanting to learn about communication protocols, a well designed layered communication implementation, and a chance to work at the driver level will enjoy this project.

Possible mentors: Swami

Improve bootloader support

There are many bootloaders available for the BeagleBoard and other ARM embedded devices, but all can be given improvements for ease-of-use for new users. Places where many bootloaders fall down is in reliance on a limited set of user inputs (such as only the serial port) or not connecting to every boot device (such as a USB flash drive). They also might rely on commands that are difficult to understand or not familiar to the user.

Goal: Create a bootloader, or a set of bootloaders, that:

  • is open source without requiring giving away rights over the operating system or applications,
  • can be built using open source tools,
  • can be loaded from NAND, SD, USB, or serial port directly by the ROM code and executed,
  • provides a user interface to Windows and Linux PCs over both the USB OTG and serial ports,
  • provides a user interface to the user via keyboard, mouse, and monitor,
  • loads quickly from the ROM and can load an operating system quickly, and
  • can load operating systems from and format new SD cards and USB flash drives with bootable copies of itself.

Existing projects: Tianocore, U-boot, u-boot utilities, X-load bootloader-loader, Barebox, APEX, and Qi
Additional references: PuppyBits
Hardware skills: Configure hardware at boot
Software skills: C, ARMv7 assembly

More detailed bootloader improvement ideas

U-boot
This is the bootloader shipped with the BeagleBoard today. We like it, but we don't love it. Because the development is moving to GPLv3, many commercial developers are likely to be frightened away from it at some point. Still, it would be nice to improve some of its fundamental short-comings on the BeagleBoard, such as:

  • Add support for the USB host port (to connect a hub, keyboard, and mouse).
  • Add USB Ethernet adapter support.
  • Add USB OTG port (to connect to a PC to download code). This works on a branch, but isn't in good shape for getting accepted upstream.
  • Add DVI-D display.
  • Add USB mass-storage class host support (for flash drives).
  • Add a boot configuration header to eliminate the need for x-loader.

Possible mentors: Jason Kridner, Khasim Syed Mohammed, Steve Sakoman, Dirk Behme

Barebox
It has already been shown that the Barebox bootloader can be scaled very reasonably down to something that can fit into the on-chip memory of the OMAP3, without using the DRAM. Maintaining this sort of scalability can be critical to providing the fastest possible boot times.

Possible mentors: Nishanth Menon

Minix3 support

Porting Minix3 (www.minix3.org) to beagleboard. Minix3 is a highly reliable operating system. Currently it only runs on x86 hardware, but some work has been done to get it running on ARM.

Goal: Getting Minix3 to run on BeagleBoard; adding drivers for the BeagleBoard peripherals
Hardware skills: n/a
Software skills: C, x86 assembly, ARMv7 assembly
Possible mentors: Frans Meulenbroeks, _TBD_
Complexity: High

Projects for heterogeneous multicore processing

Add DSP support to GNU radio

Goal: GNU Radio is a popular Software Defined Radio package for PC based computers. GNU Radio also runs on the Beagleboard and can make use of the floating point unit on the ARM. However, the DSP on the Beagleboard has tremendous potential for increasing GNU Radio's capability on small hardware. The project difficulty is based on the level of effort desired by the student, it should be fairly easy to create a standalone GNU Radio block that talks to the DSP via dsplink, or very complex to modify the GNU Radio block scheduler to launch block on the DSP directly.
Existing project: GNURadio
Software skills: C++
Mentors: Philip Balister

Multimedia and user experience projects

Add DSP support to MPlayer

MPlayer is often used to play video on the Beagleboard and a lot of users are asking for it. Most are surprised that there is no DSP support (yet). Task to be performed would be to add DSP support to MPlayer using TI DSPLink and CodecEngine and the free DSP codecs that TI provides. CE support already exists in a branch of VLC, the task is to make that also work in MPlayer and do that in a memory efficient way (0-copy between ARM and DSP components)

Existing project: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/
Existing project: http://processors.wiki.ti.com/index.php/Codec_Engine_Overview
Possible mentors: Vladimir Pantelic

Speech recognition

TI has released source for a speech recognition library that runs on the ARM processor of the OMAP3 on the BeagleBoard. Currently, it is under a TI license, so it might not qualify as-is for inclusion in GSoC, but that can be explored. There may be other libraries that can be utilized for this project. Using speech recognition library, several tasks could be performed:

  • Voice recognition integrated into Ubiquity: Integrate Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Ubiquity, and voice recognition on the BeagleBoard with a microphone. Use of a Wiimote could provide additional interactive capabilities.

Existing project: http://beagleboard.org/project/tiesr
Possible mentors: Lorin Netsch, Sourabh Ravindran

Hardware + software projects

These are "Make"-style projects that advance general knowledge for creating and improving end products for consumers.

Multiple prototype hardware systems should be made to complete these projects. The process should be documented and be something that the mentor reproduces and that anyone else can reproduce at a reasonable expense with only some minimal hardware skills (soldering, using a volt meter, etc.).

Intelligent thermostat that utilizes weather forecasts

  • Improve the thermostatic control of a domestic heating system by more intelligent control based on the analysis of forecast weather.
  • Enable remote control of the system through IP Internet access.
  • Enable local control through touch screen.

Possible mentor: Todd Fischer

Adding Sense to Beagle

Sensory aware applications are becoming more mainstream with the release of the Apple iPhone. This project would combine both HW and SW to add sensory awareness to beagle. First, additional modules such as GPS, 3-axis accelerometers, Gyroscopes, Temperature Sensors, Humidity Sensors, Pressure Sensors, etc, would be added to beagle to compliment the microphone input in order to allow sensing of the real world environment. Then SW APIs would need to be layered on top to allow easy access to the sensory data for use by applications.

The Freespace module is already working with the BeagleBoard as are many other sensors. This project should seek to summarize how to connect as many sensors as possible on one place on the eLinux wiki.

Possible mentor: Mark Yoder

Community infrastructure projects

Updating BeagleBoard.org UI/backend

The BeagleBoard.org website is currently written in JavaScript using Helma and makes use of several Java components through JavaScript. One advantage of this is you can actually run an instance of the BeagleBoard.org web server on the BeagleBoard with a full clone of the website.

Software skills: JavaScript, XML, HTML/CSS
Mentor: Jason Kridner

To be classified

BeagleChat

Easy Video Chat Client on Beagle Board. Porting Ekiga (www.ekiga.org) - an open source VoIP and video conferencing application for GNOME. The client should be able to talk to ekiga software running on PC as well as another beagle board. Optimizations would involve porting audio and video codecs on Ekiga to DSP plus supporting video streaming over USB for webcam support.

Raw ideas that need to be fleshed out

Some additional ideas can be found on the BeagleBoard contest page and the BeagleBoard project page.

  • RTEMS BSP for Beagle board: Medium RTEMS is a free real-time operating system. This project would require developing an RTEMS Board Support Package for the Beagle board. The Beagle board has come up multiple times in our community as a excellent device for students, hobbyists, and a starting point for customized boards. I am the maintainer of RTEMS and would be willing to co-mentor this with someone from the Beagle board community. --JoelSherrill 23:12, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Spectrum analyzer using the DSP: Medium Write a program that uses the DSP to take an alsa input and to all the math and a GUI on the arm that display the realtime spectrum. The DSP side needs to use xdais so other DSP programs can run at the same time.
  • Ogg Vorbis audio xDM encode and decode codecs: Medium
  • Porting open-source codec to DSP (MadPlay, VLC, some of the mplayer codecs …: Medium
  • OpenGL DSP acceleration: Hard Research and implement OpenGL ES using the DSP on beagleboard. The DSP side needs to use xdais so other DSP programs can run at the same time. Can take a look at Vincent OpenGL ES open source implementation and add DSP to it
  • beagle as DLNA/upnp renderer, server, controller, or media player.
  • Wiimote + Pico Projector + 3D art tool
  • OpenCL implementation that uses the DSP and/or NEON (could be used as framework for any dsp/neon acceleration)
  • Video extender – take in video via usb webcam, compress it using video encoder, stream it over ethernet (could be like a security camera). Could/should be implemented using DLNA protocols (e.g. view on ps3 or tv's).

Mentors

Name IRC nickname Native language Other languages Timezone Software help Hardware help Focus projects
Jason Kridner jkridner English - US Central web development, C, shell/perl scripting wiring, timing diagrams, basic debug infrastructure improvements
Leo Estevez TBD Spanish English, French, German(basic) US Central C, mobile operating systems wiring, timing diagrams, basic debug computer vision
Hunyue Yau ds2 English US Pacific Android, C, Linux, scripting Yes
Frans Meulenbroeks eFfeM Dutch English, basic understanding of German CET C, User Interface, Linux, booting, performance improvement, networking technology no
Kevin Hilman khilman English fluent in French US Pacific
Luis Gustavo Lira Spanish fluent in English and French)
Koen Kooi _koen_ Dutch Fluent in English CET Buildsystem integration, distribution not really
Katie Roberts-Hoffman katier English nope US Central Android, DSP integration (Link/CE/etc) nope
Mans Rullgard mru English, Swedish Some German GMT C, Assembler
Mike Zucchi notzed English Australia/South C, Assembly, Java, SIMD. Applications, libraries, GUI, multi-threading. not much
Philip Balister Crofton
Robert Nelson rcn-ee English - US Central C, Shell Scripting, Deb packaging
Soren Steen Christensen soren.ssc Danish Fluent in English and some German CET C/C++, ASM, Device Drivers OMAP chip, HW design, Low level development & debuging All kind of HW and low level SW stuff
Mark Yoder yoder
Jeff Osier-Mixon jefro English (US) US Pacific documentation
Laine Walker-Avina Ceriand English US Pacific C, Assembly, Buildroot USB protocol & logic analyzers, Various JTAG probes OpenOCD, bootloaders, Linux kernel
Frank Walzer franktango German English CET C++, OOP Debug, JTAG, Interfaces Graphics, GUI, Build systems
Cristina Murillo cmurillo Spanish English GMT -6.00 C, C++, Assembly, Linux JTAG, wiring, debug
Khasim Syed Mohammed khasim English Hindi India C, C++, Assembly, Linux device drivers, board bring up, bootloaders Schematic review, board development
Siji Sunny siji Hindi English India C,Operating Systems(Ubuntu-Arm,Angstrom,Android,Debian),Open Source Application/GUI Development(Clutter, GTK), Language Computing,Text processing,Unicode,Fonts No Language Computing, Text Processing, Operating System, Text To speech
Devaraj Rangasamy Deva Hindi, Tamil English India Android, Linux Kernel Base Port No Language Computing, Text Processing, Operating System, Text To speech
Joel Sherrill DrJoel English - US Central RTEMS maintainer, real-time, cross tools No RTEMS BSP