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Portrait of Steffen Gottschalk
Steffen Gottschalk


machinetalk.cc – let’s make machines talk JavaScript

Two weeks ago, Intuity and partners launched a new initiative called machinetalk. As the name suggest, it’s about making machines talk to each other using web technologies. So what is this all about?

The status quo 

Since the digital revolution found its way in industry not only the number of digitally controlled systems and machines has been risen greatly, but also the number of used programming languages and protocolls for industrial applications increased dramatically. The result is similiar to the story of the tower of babel – there are nummerous languages, so that they may not understand one another’s speech. Of course, there were good reasons for the development of all those programming languages and protocols. Now, the upcomming forth wave of industrial revolution aims to connect machines and manufacturing networks with each other, with business logic, with customer demands, with the (industrial) internet, and so to say – with people.

Making machines talk

machinetalk wants to contribute to this development by enabling everyone capable of writing JavaScript to programm and communicate with industrial machines and embedded systems. JavaScript was choosen because it is the most common programming language worldwide and at machinetalk we think it will be a kind of lingua franca for the internet of everything. The video above gives you a glimpse of the magic and ease of machinetalk controlling an industrial device (Cartesian portal system).

How machinetalk works

At machinetalk.cc you can find a first draft of machinetalk’s software architecture. In general, machinetalk wants to bridge the gap between embedded systems and web technologies – think of machinetalk as a babel fish bridging this gap. Which means translating JavaScript to any required machine language and vice versa. In order to tackle this issue, the machinetalk team thought about various architecture for the software framework of machinetalk. Finally, they came up with a framework comprising three logical compartments: the core, modules, and applications. In a nutshell, the core takes care about the hardware communications and protocols. A module implements all commands for a specific machine or device. There will be a module for each type of machine. Once a module for a machine exists, infinite application controlling that machine can be written in JavaScript.