Guest blog by Marc Hammons and Tyler Cox (Dell Client CTO Software Architecture Team)
For those not yet in the know, EdgeX Foundry is a platform that provides IoT edge computing; making it easier to connect your “things” (sensors and devices) to the rest of your enterprise and allowing your enterprise to interact and help control those things.
Today, EdgeX is headless – there is no user interface. The beauty of the platform is that it enables any type of interface – new or existing. The idea is for organizations to use any preferred cloud or enterprise dashboard and management console with EdgeX to monitor and control their things that communicate via any standard. The EdgeX community believes this presents an incredible opportunity for differentiation via entirely new and innovative user interfaces to help manage IoT deployments. A few organizations like Dell have built some UIs for demonstration purposes. Now, we encourage EdgeX community members to add unique value by creating open source or commercial interfaces for EdgeX.
During a recent local hackathon, the Dell client CTO team completed a unique interface for interacting with sensors and devices that interoperate through the EdgeX framework. The result was an amazing augmented reality (AR) interface to observe the readings coming from sensors and actuate the devices with hand signals. Take a look at the video below demonstrating several things being controlled by the Dell AR app integrated with EdgeX.
EdgeX helps to normalize control of the edge to a common set of easy to use APIs regardless of the underlying communication protocols. This demo shows how those APIs allow some wonderfully new and imaginative ways to visualize and control resulting data feeds. EdgeX helps users stop reinventing and instead focus on innovation – this is where the payoff of IoT and edge computing starts to show signs of revolutionizing our lives!
This demo shows connectivity and control of a Modbus motor, SNMP managed Patlite, and Bosch BLE sensor pack through the AR headset and EdgeX, but imagine how the same principles could be used by support technicians inside of a complex factory control room, workers performing field maintenance on machines, sensor-enabled distribution centers, or even working within your company’s own server room. That’s what could happen as we, the IoT community, collaborate on common interoperability frameworks like EdgeX, which makes it easier for application providers to focus their efforts on creating amazing interfaces among other valuable innovations.
For those interested in more of the tech details, the team used the Meta 2 AR headset and the Darknet open source neural network framework with its “you only look once” (YOLO) algorithm to help enable the system to recognize the various connected devices. Unity was used to create the AR application interface that interacts with EdgeX version 0.2 running on the Dell Edge Gateway 5000. The entire application was created in the two day hackathon – which speaks to the ease of use and utility of the EdgeX framework.
For more information, you can check out these resources: