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IoT and RESTful Hardware - What We've Learned from Two Years Treating Motion as REST

Alden Hart (Synthetos)
Location: C260
Slides:   1-PPTX 

TinyG is a six-axis motion controller on a chip. After a couple of years developing it we realized that traditional motion control languages and protocols were not getting us where we needed to be. We needed a better way to communicate and control complex motion, but most importantly to do it in a way that you didn’t need to be a physicist or engineer to use. So we turned to REST and JSON. We modeled the entire system – motors , axes, and the motion itself – as RESTful resources. That made a huge difference. Things that had been difficult or tedious became easy. Patterns and structure became obvious. And many more people were able to understand and code to our boards.

In this talk we will present basic REST design principles, briefly discuss the design of TinyG’s motion control JSON, demonstrate how to drive the motion control system using RESTful JSON. We show how to describe and configure real-world objects such as axes and motors, and also how REST can be used to manage more abstract resources such as motion and path planning models. We also show how REST/JSON can be used for device routing, broadcast, and publish and subscribe. Throughout, we discuss what we’ve learned in the 2 years it’s been in the field.

Photo of Alden Hart

Alden Hart


Alden has been developing hardware for “a few decades now”, and tiny little motion control systems for about 4 years. His aim is to bring industrial grade motion control to small and affordable projects.