[Tinyos-help] Newbie TinyOS Development Platform Questions - power consumption and Java development?

Urs Hunkeler uhu at gmx.ch
Wed Feb 25 06:14:03 PST 2009

Hi David,

1. I have nothing concrete. It looks like the MSP430 used by the TelosB 
type of motes is slightly more low-power. Then again, in my experience 
you can save MUCH more energy with the proper program than with the 
right hardware. Both of them are capable of low-power operations 
(especially sleep modes), and I think the power consumption is not a 
strong argument for deciding on either platform.

2. There seem to be a couple of people working on virtual machines for 
sensor nodes. Other than that Java does not run on the nodes themselves. 
If you want/need Java on motes, you might want to look at what 
sentilla.com does.

When you use a sensor network, you usually want to do something with the 
data on a back-end system. There are different options:
- you can use a sample application like Deluge, dump all the data to a 
file, and then process the data from the file
- you can program your motes with IPv6 support (seems to be experimental 
at the moment), and then use normal networking code from any application 
to communicate with the motes
- you can use one of the interface libraries that come with TinyOS and 
use custom mode communication routines in your programs to communicate 
with the sensor network. This is the default approach, and Java for the 
back-end system seems to be the best supported language for this (but 
you can use C/C++ and probably others like C# and Python as well).

The tutorials explain this in more details. For your particular question 
I recommend having a quick look at:


David Li wrote:
> Hi Urs,
> Thanks for the information.  Here are two additional question coming to my mind:
> 1. Which hw platform has lower power consumption on average? This
> might be a difficult question to answer depending how you use them.
> But do you have a gut feeling?
> 2. I noticed you mentioning about Java interface. Can one use Java to
> develop TinyOS applications? What's the difference between using Java
> and nesC on TinyOS platform?
> David

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