Sun Laboratories showcases Small Programmable Object Technology

Sun Microsystems is preparing to roll out Project Sun Small Programmable Object Technology, a battery-operated platform for development of wireless sensor networks, robotics and personal consumer electronics. Powered by a small Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition is a virtual machine written almost entirely in Java.

Project Sun SPOT provides a way to build Java-based sensor apps that run directly on the CPU, without any underlying operating system. Project Sun SPOT will be demonstrated at Sun's 2006 Worldwide Education & Research Conference this week.

Near-term apps already under development include medical monitoring, package tracking and interactive home automation. Apps include explorations of swarm intelligence, experimentation with and deployment of mesh networks, custom robotics and the development of new types of gestural interfaces. Educators are already using Sun SPOTs and Java technology for classes on embedded programming, as well as in design classes for consumer electronics.

The Sun Labs Project Sun SPOT technology evaluation kit will include three Sun SPOTs: two stand-alone devices and one base station. All three Sun SPOTs include a processor board with 32-bit ARM9 CPU, 512 KB RAM and 4MB Flash memory, 2.4 GHz radio and USB interface. Each stand-alone Sun SPOT also includes a 3-D accelerometer, temperature and light sensors, eight tri-color LEDs, six analog inputs and eight general purpose I/O ports for controlling relays, stepper motors and servos. The kit also includes a Java ME virtual machine, NetBeans 5.0 and a USB cable. Despite the long list of features, the combined sensor and processor boards fit in the palm. Developers can collaborate, learn and share ideas at, a Web site designed to support the Sun SPOT community.

Scheduled for release in May 2006, Project Sun SPOT will initially be sold to universities, research orgs and hobbyists to allow them to experiment with possible apps for this new technology. For more information, visit Sun SPOT.