Header IT Workshop

3rd International Workshop on
Embedded Systems, Internet Programming and Industrial IT

16-17 October, 2004
Aveiro, Portugal

University Aveiro



Author Title
L. Almeida, F. Santos, T. Facchinetti, P. Pedreiras, V. Silva, L. Lopes The computer and communication architecture of the CAMBADA team
Francisco Borges Carreiro, José Alberto Fonseca and Valter Filipe Silva Achieving Configurable Small Embedded System with Internet Connectivity
Gao Chao Introduction to Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) and Its Challenges: A Tutorial
Nuno Gomes, Paulo Felício, Rodrigo Brito, Helmut Dispert HAUS - Home Automation Universal System
Riku Jäntti, Usman Rafique Maximum Lifetime Routing in Wireless Ad Hoc networks
Smail Menani Embedded mobile robotics applications at VAMK
Juan De Miguel, Kimmo Salmenjoki Sharing and storing images in web using mobile devices
Ghodrat Moghadampour Genetic Algorithms And Their Control Parameters: A Tutorial
George Palamas, George Papadourakis and Manolis Kavoussanos
Mobile Robot Position Estimation using unsupervised Neural Networks.
Kimmo Salmenjoki Web services and semantic web technologies: A Tutorial


Title: The computer and communication architecture of the CAMBADA team*
Author: L. Almeida1, F. Santos2, T. Facchinetti3, P. Pedreiras1, V. Silva, L. Seabra Lopes1
1LSE-IEETA/DET, University of Aveiro, Portugal
2DEE-ISEC, Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal
3DIS, University of Pavia, Italy
Interest on using mobile autonomous agents has been growing, recently, due to their capacity to cooperate for diverse purposes, from rescue to demining and security. However, such cooperation requires the exchange of state data that is time sensitive and thus, applications should be aware of data temporal coherency. In this paper we describe the architecture of the agents that constitute the CAMBADA robotic soccer team developed at the University of Aveiro, Portugal. This architecture is built around a real-time database that is partially replicated in all team members and contains both local and remote state variables. The temporal coherency of the data is enforced by an adequate management system that refreshes each database item transparently at a rate specified by the application. The application software accesses the state variables of all agents with local operations, only, delivering both value and temporal coherency.
*CAMBADA - Cooperative Autonomous Mobile roBots with Advanced Distributed Architecture. Project supported by the Portuguese Government under contract FCT-POSI/ROBO/43908/2002, and partially funded by FEDER).

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Title: Achieving Configurable Small Embedded System with Internet Connectivity
Author: Francisco Borges Carreiro, José Alberto Fonseca and Valter Filipe Silva
Departamento de Electrónica e Telecomunicações, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Keywords: Microcontrollers, CAN, Ethernet, bootloader.
Microcontrollers are widely used in distributed embedded systems for automation and industrial process control, medical equipments, building automation and others. Currently many microcontrollers have enough processing power for networked applications, thus becoming possible its use in Local Area Networks as well as making them accessible through the Internet. By incorporating Flash program memory on the chip, the microcontroller is able to reprogram itself. So the consumers can upgrade these appliances by downloading software with new features and functionality. This can be done locally or remotely via a LAN like Ethernet, by a fieldbus, e.g. CAN bus, or even anywhere via a telephone line. This is ideal for applications that not require high data throughout over the Internet connection such as in alarm systems, air conditioning systems, home appliances and vending machines. The configuration and loading of user programs during the development of distributed applications becomes cumbersome due to the large number of nodes and to their locations. In this paper we discuss and present some solutions for the reconfiguration and loading of programs in embedded systems with Ethernet and TCP/IP connectivity. With this loader it is possible to program a specific node, a group of nodes or all the system nodes at the same time. It is also possible to trigger selectively the execution of user programs in the nodes. At the present, the loader operates for the PIC 16F87x and 18Fxx8 series.

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Title: Introduction to Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) and Its Challenges: A Tutorial
Author: Gao Chao
Department of Information Technology, Vaasa Polytechnic
Vaasa, Finland
Keywords: Wireless Local Area Networks, WLAN.
Wireless LAN is getting overwhelming comparing to other wireless access technologies such as 3G cellular systems. For example, hop-spot application is available at railway stations, airports, harbors, trains, aeroplanes, etc., in many european countries. WLAN offers much higher throughput than its cellular counterparts and cost is relatively very low.
However, there are still many pending problems and questions in practical WLAN systems.
In this report an brief introduction to current WLAN technology is given and a list of open problems/challenges is discussed for convenience of the interested audiences to start their research. We will discuss the properties of the structure, MAC layer, network layer, and security of WLAN application. In special, the features of wireless sensor networks are also introduced.

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Title: HAUS - Home Automation Universal System
Author: Nuno Gomes, Paulo Felício, Rodrigo Brito, Helmut Dispert1
Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
1Kiel University of Applied Sciences, Kiel, Germany
In more recent years the Home Automation market has been growing strongly, with new ideas and products appearing every day. Nowadays the main targets of this market are the middle-high class home’s and not only the companies. With all this growth potential, the electronics companies are giving now more importance to this market. Due to this fact, an enormous amount of products and protocols in this area have been developed in the last years. New technologies that traditionally were not used in this area are now being integrated, as a way to offer new services that allow increasing the home comfort.
New protocols between different types of networks are also being created in order that, in the user perspective, everything seems to be integrated in the same network, allowing the user to operate the home through mobile phones, Internet, etc.
This presentation will introduce some of the new trends of development in this area. The application of Java embedded microcontrollers will be covered as well as modern Power line communication and RFID (Radio Frequency Indentification) systems, introducing ideas like the user oriented automatic personalization of the environment. New efforts to unify certain home automation related protocols will also be discussed (e.g. Konnex).

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Title: Maximum Lifetime Routing in Wireless Ad Hoc networks
Author: Riku Jäntti, Usman Rafique
Department of Computer Science, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
An ad hoc network comprises of nodes, which can communicate with each other without the need of infrastructure. The nodes can dynamically self-organize in arbitrary and temporary network topologies. Nodes can range from computers; electronics note books, PDAs, mobile devices to small embedded devices such as actuators and sensors. There is neither a need of base stations that are normally needed in typical wireless neither LAN nor planning. Nodes running on ad hoc networking protocol are able to detect each other presence and start communicating each other. In case of a node outside the range of sender node, intermediate nodes provide the routing facility.
There are many advantages provided by ad hoc network other than ease of deployment. It maximizes the connectivity between nodes by offering multiple paths between source and destination nodes. In case of sudden death of a node, traffic can be dynamically re routed through other paths. The diverse nature of devices and their mobility places limitations on some of the resources of ad hoc network which needs to be utilized with care in order to maintain efficiency of the network. Bandwidth in communication networks is always an important resource. Power and battery restraints play an important role in designing protocols for mobile battery charged devices. Apart from these constraints, mobility causes dynamic changes in link states between nodes. These limitations should be considered at all protocol layers.
In this paper we focus on the network layer. Our starting point is the IETF's Ad hoc on demand distance vector (AODV) protocol. The protocol is based on the assumption that best route is the one with shortest hop count from source to destination node. While minimizing the route length minimizes the packet delay and jitter it fails to take other factors such as network load and battery capacity of the relay nodes into account. In this paper, we propose a modification of the AODV protocol that instead of minimum hop route selects a route having the maximum life-time in terms of intermediate node's operation time. The operation time is dependent on the battery capacity and traffic volume passing the node. We explain how the modified AODV protocol could be implemented in Linux environment and show some test results obtained in a WLAN ad hoc network consisted of several PDAs and laptop computers.

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Title: Embedded mobile robotics applications at VAMK
Author: Smail Menani
Department of Computer Science, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
This paper presents some applications of Embedded Systems in mobile robotics at Vaasa University of applied Sciences. The main objectives of these applications are teaching and learning embedded systems and give a taste of applied research to the undergraduate students of the information technology program at the faculty of communication and technology of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK). Our interest in mobile robots has many reasons. First and most important, mobile robots are excellent resource for engineering education. The next important aspect of mobile robotics is the cost. Setting up a laboratory for mobile robotics is relatively inexpensive. The third reason is the students' motivation. Mobile robots make a clear meaning of science and technology to the students' mind. The students are faced with real problems to solve. A course that is involving a mobile robot is more challenging and practical and makes more sense to students than a traditional course, which most often is abstract and confusing to students. The last and most challenging, is the creation of a robot-soccer team capable to compete and be selected to the word RoboCup. Today's graduates need to have many different skills to cope with all demands and changes in the industry. Embedded mobile robotics may be seen as one solution that prepares the students for the challenging work. Mobile robots involve many areas of engineering. You can find, Software, telecommunication, electronics, automation, mechanics...etc. All problems involving a mobile robot have a real impact to the real world than a theoretical problem. Why then continuous dreaming with the students about the idealistic world, where perfect systems do not exist rather than preparing them with valid engineering skills to real industrial problems. This paper summarizes this approach of teaching embedded systems and demonstrates some of the real problems solved by the students.

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Title: Sharing and storing images in web using mobile devices
Author: Juan de Miguel, Kimmo Salmenjoki
Department of Computer Science, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
In this paper we will see, how the new mobile appliances and services can change the way how we access computers and information. Based on the technological changes in web based connectivity, distribution of heterogenous computing devices and changing application architectures, we will see the build-up of mobile applications and also provide working patterns for providing user-centric and context-aware mobile services. Scenarios of using personal mobile services for multimedia based data will be presented.
As a practical example we will consider the technical issues of how images can be used personally or shared with mobile devices and users today. We will describe the build up of viable mobile applications to a personal service, including the storage, retrieval and sharing of images between users and groups of users. In detail this paper we will address the software engineering of mobile programming using Microsoft based tools. The .NET Framework environment by Microsoft is used here due to its inherent XML enabledness. With it we want to exemplify how mobile web based applications can benefit from this property and how this simplifies and unifies the programming of mobile applications using .NET Compact Framework with their desktop counterparts.

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Title: Genetic Algorithms And Their Control Parameters: A Tutorial
Author: Ghodrat Moghadampour
Department of Information Technology and Communication, Vaasa Polytechnic, Vaasa Finland
Keywords: Genetic Algorithms
Genetic algorithms borrow a vocabulary from natural genetics. They work on a population of possible solutions, i.e. chromosomes. It is assumed that organisms in GAs are haploid, i.e. one-chromosome individuals. Units which chromosomes are made of are called genes. These are arranged in linear succession; every gene controls the inheritance of one or several characters. Each place, i.e. loci, of the chromosome is reserved for gene of certain character. Each gene may be in several states, i.e. alleles, also called feature values. An evolution process run on a population of genotypes aims at finding the optimal solution, i.e. phenotype of a chromosome, for the problem at hand. GAs have two essential components: survival of the fittest and variation. Most often GAs have at least the following elements in common: populations of chromosomes, selection according to fitness, crossover to produce new offspring, and random mutation of new offspring.
Controlling values of various parameters of an evolutionary algorithm is one of the most challenging area of research fields. It has a potential of adjusting the algorithm to the problem while solving the problem. Applying any heuristic search algorithm to a particular problem requires a specific representation and evaluation (fitness) function suitable for the problem.
On the other hand, defining an evolutionary algorithm requires
  1. selection of its components, such as variation operators (mutation and recombination) that suit the representation,
  2. selection mechanisms for selecting parents and offspring and
  3. an initial population.
Each of these components may have parameters whose values greatly determine the efficiency of the algorithm and whether the algorithm will find a near-optimum solution.

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Title: Mobile Robot Position Estimation using unsupervised Neural Networks.
Author: George Palamas, George Papadourakis and Manolis Kavoussanos
Technological Educational Institute of Crete
Heraklion, Crete, Greece 71306
Keywords: Neural Networks, Mobile Robots, Position Estimation
Service robots capable of every type of autonomous movement for general-purpose use in environments such as sickrooms and offices encounter unique challenges, and demand the ability to operate without failure. Therefore it is necessary to possess special skills.
The fundamental of these skills is position estimation because it allows to address any issues concerning mobility such as planning efficient routes, avoiding cyclic behaviour, and above all to prevent the robot losing track of its position relative to the rest of the environment.
A popular implementation is the Global Position System (GPS) promising to become universal navigation solution for almost all Automated Vehicle systems. However, this system cannot be used indoors.
Common systems for indoor navigation rely on odometry but errors in the estimate are accumulated (wheel slippage, uneven floors, etc). These issues emphasize the need for a mechanism that can update the correct location of
the robot. Unsupervised neural network algorithms are a favourable candidate for autonomous mobile robot localization since they can efficiently cluster perceptual signatures (sensor input vectors) in noisy environments. Position is encoded in a way similar to biologically navigation systems as shown on studies of brain activity within the hippocampus of rats.

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Title: Web services and semantic web technologies
Author: Kimmo Salmenjoki
Department of Computer Science, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
In this lecture we will consider usage of web service and other XML based technologies in producing and utilizing online services. We will address different methodologies and scope of information exchange both from the people and the applications point of view. Our general problem of web based data exchange and transactions will be introduced first, containing a real life example problem of a web based portal, together with its extended access. In next part we introduce web service type access for information services based on presently existing data and information on the web page (or the database behind it). In the following part we will focus on the software component based access of the previous web based information. These two approaches will be integrated in the next case examples, where we will give practical examples of unifying data, information and their access by web service based methods. We also summarize the further possibilities and problems in web based knowledge access from four different points of views: devices, networks and protocols, applications and end-user needs. With the presented approaches web pages can be made more accessible both for humans and machines, enabling in a simple way more intelligent web access.

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Fachhochschule Kiel, Fachbereich Informatik und Elektrotechnik,
Kiel University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
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