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Hydra Middleware Runner-Up at Best Demonstrator Award

Today’s cars, aircrafts, intelligent buildings and home cinema systems all rely on embedded systems for vital functions. Advanced solutions actually are networks of embedded systems, mostly including devices from several different manufacturers.

For this type of environment, the European Hydra project develops a "Networked Embedded System Middleware for Heterogeneous Physical Devices", which will help manufacturers and system integrators in building devices that can be networked easily and work together in cost-effective and flexible solutions. The Fraunhofer Institute FIT is the coordinator of the Hydra project.

Researchers from FIT, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology, and from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT demonstrated Hydra at the ICT Mobile Summit in Stockholm. The demo of the Hydra middleware, which has context awareness and security among its main features, used as its scenario a sensor-equipped building that sends short messages to inform about an attempted intrusion or a technical defect.

Visualizing flexibility and functionality in a way that impressed the ICT Mobile Summit jury, the Hydra middleware networked the Lego Mindstorm technology of a model building, a Sony Playstation for management tasks and an oversized fully-functional model of a mobile phone. The demo included a situation where a sensor detects water in the house and alerts the inhabitants by sending a message to their mobile phone. In the next step, an order for an emergency repair is sent to a service company, including a limited-validity electronic key to the building.

"A main issue in the Hydra project is networking a broad range of heterogeneous devices", Dr. Markus Eisenhauer from Fraunhofer FIT, the project’s coordinator, explained. "The middleware makes it easy for developers to integrate additional devices and sensors into a distributed infrastructure. And it helps them take care of privacy and security requirements."

Typical application fields for the Hydra middleware include hospitals, airports and large-scale production facilities. Here, security and privacy have long been major issues. Hence, the concepts for minimizing information exchange and the mechanisms for secure communication, which were developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT, are significant features of the Hydra middleware.

Alex Deeg | alfa
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