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Intel Funding HTML5 NETLab Toolkit

April 25th, 2014, by Phil

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We’re excited to announce that Intel, through its Design School Network and maker initiatives, has generously provided a gift of $25,000 to help in the conversion of the NETLab Toolkit to HTML5 for simple authoring in any web browser. Project founder Philip van Allen says “We’ve been planning the HTML5 version for some time, and now have the resources to build a next generation toolkit for tangible interaction and the Internet of Things.”

Create Projects in a Web Browser

The NETLab Toolkit uses smart drag-and-drop widgets to create interactive projects that connect together and manage microcontrollers, computers, sensors, actuators, media and the cloud to build Internet of Things projects. The widgets are currently used inside Adobe Flash Pro, but with the new HTML5 version, projects are authored with widgets in a standard web browser on a computer or mobile device, accessible to anyone, with an easier learning curve, and a wider range of platforms that support the Toolkit. See the working proof-of-concept and corresponding documentation and video.

Internet of Things Support

A key feature of the new HTML5 approach is that the toolkit can run on the new generation of maker oriented boards like the Intel Galileo Arduino. These linux based, networked systems are powerful enough to host the entire toolkit and run projects independently, while communicating with other devices and cloud services over the Internet. View a video demo of this in action.

HTML5_Logo_128This approach fits with our long term vision of the NETLab Toolkit, where makers are empowered to quickly build tangible Internet of Things projects, prototyping working, multi-device systems in a fast iterative cycle. And when ready, exporting a final production version that can run without a browser or external computer.

Built on HTML5 and a Modern Javascript Framework

The new HTML5/CSS3/Javascript NETLab Toolkit will be built on a solid software framework that’s designed to be easily extended, and is of course open-source. In addition, the new version will feature redesigned widgets with a more modern UI and usability on mobile/touch systems. The HTML5 system will also feature an integrated method for sharing projects, examples, and user-authored widgets. And we’ll continue to support all kinds of devices and protocols, from the Arduino Uno to embedded Linux systems to the OSC and DMX protocols and cloud platforms such as Xively.

We’re looking forward to building the next generation toolkit over the coming year, and encourage the participation of the maker community in creating something that supports the invention of amazing new projects and directions. Check our netlabtool.org website for progress reports.

We’re especially grateful to Intel for catalyzing this evolution, as well as Philip van Allen’s host institution, Art Center’s Media Design Practices graduate program, and Phil’s main project collaborator Ewan Branda  We’d also like to thank all the students and users who’ve inspired and used the toolkit over the last ten years.


Intel Corporation

Intel supports Maker Faires and the maker movement in general, because they encourage learning through hands-on exploration, self-motivated discovery, and invention — whether that takes place in the classroom, the lab, the art studio, or the workshop in your garage.

The accessibility of maker tools, kits, and knowledge means that individuals with creative ideas no longer require specialized training or expensive equipment to create stuff using technology. By lowering those barriers of a steep learning curve, high cost, and the intimidation factor traditionally associated with technology, Intel can help open up new opportunities for innovation to an even broader range of individuals, including designers, artists, musicians, architects, and entrepreneurs.

Intel Design School Network
The Intel Design School Network is a network of five of the leading design schools around the world. Members include the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design in Copenhagen and the Royal College of Art in London. Intel Corporation is partnering with these schools to enhance the student learning environment by introducing students to innovative technology and by promoting creative thought leadership where technology and user experience collide.