Intel introduced its new Joule computing module at the Intel Develop Forum (IDF) in San Francisco yesterday, a move which could help developers looking to build IoT, IIoT or robotics solutions.
Introduced by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at the event, the Joule is a tiny maker board with an Intel RealSense depth-sensing camera and is being targeted at Internet of Things (IoT) developers, entrepreneurs and established enterprises.
A number of Intel partners, including Microsoft and GE, are demonstrating potential applications of the technology this week at IDF, including French company PivotHead, which used Joule to build augmented reality (AR) safety glasses for Airbus employees.
Microsoft is using Joule for its robotic companion, ‘Bamboo’, which reminds kids with diabetes to check their blood sugar levels. Another French company, called EyeLights, is using the module to power a heads-up display for police motorcycle helmets.
Intel targeting IoT and IIoT applications
“The Intel Joule module enables people to take a concept into a prototype and then into production at a fraction of the time and development cost,” said Intel, announcing the news on its website.
“The Intel Joule platform is a high performance system-on-module (SOM) in a tiny, low-power package thus making it ideal for computer vision, robotics, drones, industrial IoT, VR, AR, micro-servers and other applications that require high-end edge computing.”
The Intel Joule module is available in two models – the 550x and 570x.
The 550x includes a 1.5GHz quad-core Atom T5500 processor, 3GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, while the 570x packs a 1.7GHz quad-core Atom T5700 CPU (with burst speeds of up to 2.4GHz), 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Both models are said to support 802.11AC wireless, 4K displays and a Linux-based operation system.
The Intel Joule 570x developer kit is available for sale at the 2016 Intel Developer Conference in San Francisco, and will begin shipping in September through Intel reseller partners. It will sell for $379.
The price of the 550x has not yet been announced, leading some to speculate it could be a cheap model to rival the Raspberry Pi.
Robotics and driverless cars
Speaking to Internet of Business earlier today, Quocirca founder and analyst Clive Longbottom said the Joule could have potential in the autonomous car.
“I don’t really see it as an IoT developer bench: I see it as more of a controller for larger projects that need embedded intelligence. For example, as a central point of data aggregation and analysis for an autonomous car; the main controls for a robot (as in the Microsoft example at the event).
“This is not going to be something to galvanise the masses into creating IoT devices that sell by the millions in the industrial space.
“It is a platform for building larger, composite devices that need multiple data streams aggregating, analysing and managing. As an example here – think of something like a Boston Dynamics robot: they are designed to fight back against being pushed over.
“This requires complex decision making against data received from many different small devices on the robot. The Joule can be that aggregator – it has the power to be able to carry out the complex analysis and feedback data to the less intelligent devices as required. To me, this is where Joule’s future is – not at the individual IoT device level.”