Intel's tiny Curie chip, introduced earlier this year as a module that would find its way into a range of wearable devices, will begin appearing next year in a new Arduino development board aimed at student and enthusiasts.
At the Maker Faire Rome Oct. 16, officials with Intel and the maker of the popular Arduino boards introduced the board, which will be marketed as Arduino 101 in the United States and Geniuno 101 in other parts of the world.
The board, which will be available in the first quarter of 2016, can be used by a wide variety of people, from enthusiasts to embedded device developers, but Intel and Arduino are targeting it particularly at elementary and secondary school students who are interested in learning how to code and build systems, according to Jay Melican, who at Intel has the title of maker czar at the Makers and Innovators Group, which recently was spun out of the chip maker's New Devices Group.
Arduino 101 is the latest effort by Intel to court the maker and do-it-yourself (DIY) community to get developers, enthusiasts and students working with the Intel Architecture. During a conference call with journalists before the board was announced, Melican acknowledged that there are other boards on the market for about the same price—$30—but said Intel's Curie module adds a level of connectivity that isn't seen on those other entry-level offerings.
The low-power Curie chip, which Intel CEO Brian Krzanich introduced in January at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, includes Bluetooth Low Energy for connectivity, a six-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, and an accelerator that enables gesture recognition. The board itself is 7 centimeters by 5.5 centimeters.
Intel over the years has been hurt by being late in responding to the trend in the industry toward mobile products like smartphones and tablets. After becoming CEO in 2013, Krzanich said the company would be aggressive in moving into new growth markets, including the Internet of things (IoT) and wearable devices. The company has other Arduino boards on the market featuring its larger Edison and Galileo modules.
The Galileo Gen 2 board is larger and aimed at college students, makers and hobbyists, and sells for $60, while the Edison-based board is targeted at makers, embedded developers and entrepreneurs and sells for $90. Both of those boards use a Linux operating system, while the Curie-based Arduino 101 runs another OS that Melican said is easier for younger people to use.
Intel also is creating a software kit for Curie called Intel IQ.
Melican said the Arduino 101 board also will be featured in the upcoming reality TV show being developed by Intel and Mark Burnett, CEO of United Artists Media Group and the creator of such series as "Survivor," "Shark Tank" and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's "The Apprentice." The show—"America's Greatest Makers"—will air next year and will feature device makers competing to create the best wearable or connected device using Intel's Curie technology.