Image courtesy of Intel.
Intel is joining hands with Hardware Academy to launch a design competition titled the “Intel Edison Developer Challenge” for creating innovative Internet of Things (IoT) prototype solutions in areas such as smart home, factory automation, and connected cars. Intel, like many other chip giants, is looking to get their development boards into the hands of young students and makers in hopes of gaining the bottom-up community support that led to the success of Arduino and Raspberry Pi. The maker movement created a $29 billion market that companies like Intel and Atmel are trying to get a piece of.
This particular contest is focused on the IoT. The winning prototype will be awarded a cash prize of £1,000 (almost $1300 USD) and 3D printing services coupon worth £500 from 3D Hubs. The top 10 product proposals will receive a free Edison kit and eight weeks to build a functioning prototype.
Intel Edison is the new kid on the embedded design block, and although it has significantly higher performance compared to other prototype development platforms like Arduino and Raspberry Pi 2, it lacks their community support. For instance, Arduino runs at 16 MHz without built-in communications interfaces or ample storage capacity.
Intel Edison hardware comes in a much smaller footprint and offers a lot more computing power. Image courtesy of Intel.
On the other hand, Edison runs at 500 MHz dual core and comes with 40 general-purpose I/O (GPIO) pins for boards, buttons, sensors, LEDs, and more. It has 1GB of RAM, 4GB of eMMC flash storage, and a USB 2.0 OTG controller. Moreover, Edison modules come with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, user-friendly features that made the Raspberry Pi 3 such a success.
Another prominent highlight of the Edison module is that despite a significant increase in computing power, a broad spectrum of I/Os, and software support for embedded Linux distribution, it’s still low-power. The Edison board can operate on voltages between 3.15V to 4.5V, which means that it can be powered by a standard Lithium battery. While the Edison module boasts some impressive features, it does require a breakout kit for most electronics projects, which can bring it out of the price range of students and makers.
Arduino: Friend or Foe?
It’s worth noting that Intel’s Edison platform supports the Arduino IDE; the “Arduino board for Edison” enables designers to make the Edison board compatible with shields designed for Arduino. Outfits like SparkFun Electronics offer open-source Edison boards along with design files that can be downloaded from the company website.
The development platforms like Arduino and Raspberry Pi 2 are already well entrenched among embedded designers, hobbyists, and electronics entrepreneurs. On the other hand, Intel’s Edison, being launched in January 2014, is trying the speed up the adoption curve while the IoT party is just getting started.
The design competition is aimed at creating innovative IoT prototypes. Image courtesy of Hardware Academy.
The prototypes for the embryonic IoT products offer Intel a window of opportunity to get the Edison platform up to speed. And the competition Intel Edison Developer Challenge in collaboration with the London–based Hardware Academy is clearly part of that effort. Intel is promoting Edison as a prototyping platform for IoT applications.
Hardware Academy aims to allow IoT developers get hands-on with the latest development tools and facilitate the technical support that IoT technology suppliers like Intel offer. It has conducted training sessions for developers about IoT development platforms such as Intel Edison, Samsung Artik, and Nordic nRF52 chipsets for Bluetooth low energy.
IoT developers can submit proposals about their IoT prototypes on the competition page before August 31, 2016.