Intel recently wrapped up its Intel Developers Forum and the IoT world is all the better for it. The Edison chip set was released earlier in the year but until recently wasn’t available to consumers. Edison promises a very compact computing platform designed to lower the cost barrier to developing IoT devices. Things like Intel’s Edison are expected to foster the huge expected growth in IoT devices. Since Intel doesn’t directly sell to the consumer, places like Sparkfun have kits for sale ranging from just $50 for the Edison unit to $114.95 for the Edison Starter Pack.
Powered by an Intel Atom SoC Dual core that is good for 300MHz, Edison also squeezes in Wi-Fi, Low power Bluetooth and a 70 pin connector to plug in other “blocks” in a modular fashion. Intel offers a breakout board that provides power, USB, a console out and a prototyping section where the pins connect to the Edison’s GPIO in a 1.8V logic. The other block that Intel offers is the Arduino board which offers 3.3V or 5V logic for the Arduino shields.
Sparkfun offers what they call Sparkfun Blocks that offer an expanded customization experience when used in conjunction with Edison. Two of the blocks are very similar to what Intel offers, the other three can be ordered in a so called “sensor pack” from Sparkfun. The ability to create a pocket gaming machine is included in the pack as a monochrome OLED board with a mini joystick and a pair of buttons. The second block is the Dual H-Bridge which allows its creative user to run two DC motors with voltages ranging from 2.7V-15V if they wish. Last in the sensor pack is the 9 degrees of freedom board. Equipped is a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis magnetometer with all of the sensors allowing various amounts of adjustment in degrees, Gauss and G’s of acceleration.
The only thing Edison doesn’t do that two of its competitors do is have a video out connection. The trade off is the extremely small form factor of 1.4 × 1.0 × 0.15 inches which allows more flexibility in use as a wearable or other compact IoT designs. Incorporation into clothing or safety gear is made possible by such a small size. Getting started is easy as well with five steps between you and unlimited creations.