Posted by bboyes
on May 19, 2006 at 10:14 AM PDT
This is the keynote which is a "must see" for people like me who like to get their hands on hardware. This was typed live during the keynote so please excuse the inevitable typos and questionable grammar.
The huge projection screen at the front of the hall seemed to be a cut above what it's been in the past, in terms of brightness, color gamut, and resolution. When will I be able to turn the wall in front of my desk into a giant display? Sun Labs showed me a demo some months ago which mosaics several LCD projectors together to do just that. I'm ready... somehow staring at even a 20-something-inch LCD seems so quaint, really...
Siemens has a Java-enabled cell phone with serial and digital outputs, intended for OEMS to design into their own devices. It looks like a typical development board with easy access to system signals for quick protoyping. If the price is right I want one. This sort of product turns a GSM cell phone into a pluggable network-enabling functional block for hardware which can't attach to ethernet.
GE Healthcare showed some spiffy looking graphics screens of x-ray and CT data, all programmed in Java. It's nice to see that Java's graphics APIs are considered mature and rich enough for a major corporation to design a whole line of mission-critical products around them.
JSR-209 - Advanced Mobile Development - promises to make mobile devices look a lot more like standard J2SE apps with a subset of Java 2D and Swing. This includes "real" threads, I/O, and network stack. Let's face it, the resources in cell phones have come a long way since the J2ME and MIDP specs were conceived, so the hardware capability has been in the phones for a year or two. Phone color screens can now be as good as the best PDAs - in fact, in devices like the Treo, they are one and the same.
JSR1 - Real Time Java - is getting a major enhancement with 2.0, which adds things like realtime garbage collection (based on work at Lund University in Sweden). Threads which need to, can pre-empt the GC, while including provision to be sure those threads don't run out of available heap while doing so. Greg Bollella has been the real-time evangelist at Sun for the last several years. It's good to see Sun recognize the importance of real-time, industrial applications. If Java is to be truly pervasive, it can't just settle for the "80% solution" - it also needs to address the more arcane areas of the market. In reality, real-time systems are almost always connected to non- real-time systems, and you'd like to be able to use the same language and APIs across your entire multi-tier application.
The slot car contest (using real-time Java) was won by a group of German high school students.
Perrone Robotics' "Tommy" Darpa Challenge Vehicle was a big draw, the subject of a Tuesday Technical Session, and won a 2006 Duke award. The vehicle uses real time Java, running on low-cost, off-the-shelf hardware, including two JStamp controllers. Paul's basic approach is "simplicity" and it works very well. They spent $60,000 on the whole project, and went from start to finish in about 10 months. This is a fraction of the time and resources spent by other teams. Tommy 2 is gearing up for the 2007 Urban Challenge. Paul is definitely a "the cup is half full" kind of guy. Sun is now officially one of the sponsors of Perrone Robotics, so Java should be a major contender in the Urban Challenge.