Niels Gandrass, Michel Rottleuthner, Thomas C. Schmidt,
uTimer: A Uniform Low-level Timer API for RIOT OS,
In: Proceedings of IEEE iThings 2021, p. 1–8, IEEE : Piscataway, NJ, USA, December 2021.

Abstract: Microcontrollers offer a large range of hardware timers. As peripherals grow in diversity, supporting them gets increasingly challenging for embedded operating systems. Well-established software interfaces struggle with supporting the full feature set novel timers provide. A need for flexible timer hardware abstraction therefore arises. With this work, we first contribute an analysis of timer peripherals that covers 43 device families from 8 manufacturers, followed by a survey of existing driver modules. Based on both, we propose uTimer, a uniform low-level timer-API for the RIOT operating system. Its interface is timer type independent and allows for transparent use of all available peripherals. This fosters application portability across MCUs. We develop an automated benchmark suite that quantifies the abstraction overhead and compare API performance to current solutions. Results show that uTimer introduces only six additional CPU cycles and timer performance is maintained.

Themes: Internet of Things


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