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Fuse multiple streams together based on some field and a transformation function


Relationally join streams based on some computated, comparable (but not necessarily equal) key (e.g. a time stamp). For instance, this is useful for sensor fusion - combining multiple streams of timestamped sensor data. This project was developed for Clearpath Robotics.

Terrible documentation incoming...

Contract and usage

var fuser = new StreamFusion([stream*], [options])

Where a stream is an object such that

  stream: /* a Node.js compatiable stream */
  key: /* how to compare a stream to another stream (should return a integer or string). See */
  check: /* [default=false] whether the fusion stream should (try to) emit data whenever this stream emits data */
  bufferLeft: [default=options.buffer] how many items to the left of the current item to include in the window
  bufferRight: [default=options.buffer] how many items to the right of the current item to include in the window
  // Note if bufferLeft and bufferRight is unset we'll use options.buffer and the closest value will be in the middle 
  maxRechecks: /* [default=options.buffer * 2] The num of times to fit any piece of data in the window (see options.buffer) */
  bufferLength: /* [default=options.bufferLength] how much historical data should be kept. If streams are in sync you should definetely set this to a low value */

And options is of the form

  objectMode: /* [default=true] should the stream be in objectMode */
  buffer: /* [default=2] the window to the left and right closest to the value being checked (i.e. if buffer is 1 then transform will be called with `[valueBelowCheck, valueAboveCheck]`). Note: values will be buffered internally until there is enough info to the left and right of the window. Implementation note: the value in the middle will always be `<=` the value being checked */
  bufferLength: /* [default=1000] useful for post processing */
  maxRechecks: see above

You can create a transform to decide how the fused stream should emit data. The transform will be called with (in the case that stream 1 is being checked) [[stream0Window], [valueBeingChecked], [stream2Window]]. Where window for a given stream refers to an array of size leftBuffer + rightBuffer + 1 of the values, (obviously bufferLeft len to the left and bufferRight items to the right of the closest value in each stream. Call this.push in transform to publish data

fusionStream.transform = function(streams) {
  var stream0 = streams[0],
      streams1 = streams[1];
  this.push({"cat": streams0[0].id, "time": streams1[1].time});
  // Call push as many times as you want doing whatever u want to publish to the stream 

By default (in the case that stream 1 is the stream being checked) it will be called with [[closestValueFromStream0], [valueBeingChecked], [closestValueFromStream2]]

The fused stream is simply a Node.js Stream and should be used as such


I spent a good amount of time developing an optimal algorithm for processing this problem, while still leaving a powerful and flexible API. Under the hood, we leverage many of the features of the Node stream API, circular lists

  • Create a circular list of length bufferLength for each provided list
  • Start listening for data from each stream or finished events on each stream

Non watched streams new data

  • Append an item to the corresponding circular buffer
  • Check if any watch streams have data buffered dependent on new messages from this stream. For example if the buffer is 3 and the key is based on timestamp, we would have to wait for 2 to 3 (depending if the messages fire on the same millisecond) new messages for enough data to have give a window of 2 items to the right (2 to the left) of the closest value
    • If there is data being buffered dependent on this stream proceed to the checked stream algorithm

Checked stream new data

  • For each stream (besides the one being checked)
    • Do a circular binary search to find the index of the comparitively closest value in the streams (sorted) circular buffer. Note: smaller bufferLengths will yield fewer the iterations in the search
    • If there are enough (buffer size) items to the left and right of the index
      • Do a circular slice on the items buffer indexs to the left and right of the index
      • continue looping through the streams
    • Otherwise enqueue the current data from this stream to be checked later (see above). (Abort)
  • If enough data has been seen from each stream call the transform stream with the data in each window

Example (see tests for more examples)

Using roslibjs and node-serialport we can create fusion windows based on timestamps (in different time formats).

var Ros = require("roslibjs/src/core/Ros");
var ros = new Ros("connect to rosbridge");
var serialport = require("serialport");
var SerialPort = serialport.SerialPort;
var through = require("through2")
var accelerometerStream = ros.Topic({
  name: "/accelerometer/data"
var gpsStream = ros.Topic({
  name: "/navsat/fix"
// Connect to some serial device (e.g. GPS) and pipe through nmea transform 
var compassStream = new SerialPort("/dev/tty-usbserial1", {
  parser: serialport.parsers.raw
.pipe(through.obj(function(chunk, enc, callback) {
  chunk.timestamp =;
var Fusion = require("stream-fusion");
// Convert time in nanosecs to ms 
function headerToTimestamp(item) {
  return item.header.stamp.secs * 10e2 + item.header.stamp.nsecs / 10e5;
var fused = new Fusion(
    // inherit options 
    {stream: accelerometerStream, key: headerToStamp, bufferLength: 50},
    // explictly set buffer sizes 
    {stream: gpsStream, key: headerToStamp, bufferLeft: 5, bufferRight: 2, bufferLength: 10},
    {stream: compassStream, key: "timestamp", check: true},
    // Options 
    {bufferLength: 50, buffer: 2}
fused.transform = function(streamData) {
  var accelerometerWindow = streamData[0];
  var gpsWindow = streamData[1];
  var compassValue = streamData[2][0];
  this.push( /* computed value in window */ );
  // can push as many times as desired but only one item per push 
// Pipe the live data out 

Post processing stream fusion example

For post processing, it's important to set a large bufferLength and high maxRetries value in order to prevent losing data. Otherwise the API remains the same :)

var fs = require("fs");
var http = require("http");
var csv = require("csv-stream");
var Fusion = require("stream-fusion");
var marketStream = fs.readFile("../transactions.log").pipe(csv);
var exchangeRateStream = http.get(/* exchange rate service */).pipe(csv)
var fused = new Fusion(
  // Use a large buffer so we don't lose any transactions 
  {stream: marketStream, key: "timestamp", check: true, bufferLength: 10e5, maxRetries: 10e3, buffer: 1},
  {stream: exchangeRateStream, key: function(row) {
    // for instance 
    return new Date(row.year, row.month,, row.hour, row.minute);
  }, check: false, bufferLength: 10e4, bufferLeft: 1, bufferRight: 1}
fused.transform = function(window) {
  var marketItem = window[0][0];
  var exchangeData = window[1];
  // Do a IDW calculation or something to match the data to the time stamp of the transaction 
  var computed = f();
fused.pipe(/* wherever*/ );