Tock Mini Tutorials

These tutorials walk through how to use some various features of Tock. They are narrower in scope than the course, but try to explain in detail how various Tock apps work.

You will need the libtock-c repository to run these tutorials. You should check out a copy of libtock-c by running:

$ git clone

libtock-c contains many example Tock applications as well as the library support code for running C and C++ apps on Tock. If you are looking to develop Tock applications you will likely want to start with an existing app in libtock-c and modify it.


You need to be able to compile and load the Tock kernel and Tock applications. See the getting started guide on how to get setup.

You also need hardware that supports Tock.

The tutorials assume you have a Tock kernel loaded on your hardware board. To get a kernel installed, follow these steps.

  1. Obtain the Tock Source. You can clone a copy of the Tock repository to get the kernel source:

    $ git clone
    $ cd tock
  2. Compile Tock. In the root of the Tock directory, compile the kernel for your hardware platform. You can find a list of boards by running make list. For example if your board is imix then:

    $ make list
    $ cd boards/imix
    $ make

    If you have another board just replace "imix" with <your-board>

    This will create binaries of the Tock kernel. Tock is compiled with Cargo, a package manager for Rust applications. The first time Tock is built all of the crates must be compiled. On subsequent builds, crates that haven't changed will not have to be rebuilt and the compilation will be faster.

  3. Load the Tock Kernel. The next step is to program the Tock kernel onto your hardware. To load the kernel, run:

    $ make install

    in the board directory. Now you have the kernel loaded onto the hardware. The kernel configures the hardware and provides drivers for many hardware resources, but does not actually include any application logic. For that, we need to load an application.

    Note, you only need to program the kernel once. Loading applications does not alter the kernel, and applications can be re-programed without re-programming the kernel.

With the kernel setup, you are ready to try the mini tutorials.


  1. Blink an LED: Get your first Tock app running.
  2. Button to Printf(): Print to terminal in response to button presses.
  3. BLE Advertisement Scanning: Sense nearby BLE packets.
  4. Sample Sensors and Use Drivers: Use syscalls to interact with kernel drivers.
  5. Inter-process Communication: Tock's IPC mechanism.

Board compatiblity matrix

Tutorial #Supported boards
2All Cortex-M based boards
3Hail and imix
4Hail and imix
5All that support IPC