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Spark IO's Photon Board Brings WiFi to IoT Devices

The startup's development board lets developers add wireless capabilities to their prototype devices for the Internet of things.

Spark Photon

Startup Spark IO is expanding its portfolio of small, affordable solutions designed to help people more easily get onto the Internet of things with the unveiling of the Spark Photon, a development board that will let developers WiFi-enable their products.

Spark IO already offers an open, cloud-based operating system—dubbed Spark OS—for connected devices, and the Spark Core, a small hardware development kit and reference design that can be leveraged when developing connected products.

Now Spark IO is offering the WiFi development board, which developers can leverage to put wireless capabilities into their prototypes for only $19. In addition, Spark IO is making WiFi-enabled modules in Photon—the Spark P0 and P1, which officials called "the brain of the Photon"—available for developers who want to integrate them into products. The P0 starts at $10, the P1 at $12.

The Photon board is intended for prototypes. The modules offer the same capabilities as Photon in a single component, which makes it easier for developers to turn those prototypes into commercial products.

The goal of Spark IO's products is to make it easy for people who might not be technically-savvy—such as students, artists and designers—as well as engineers to build connectivity into their devices and participate in the Internet of things (IoT), according to founder and CEO Zach Supalla.

"We want to make the path from prototype to production quicker and smoother," Supalla said in a statement. "What started as a simple hacker toolkit is turning into an enterprise-grade solution that's used by engineers at multinational companies to develop their new connected products."

Spark IO and its products are getting attention. Since November 2013, the company has shipped more than 30,000 Spark Cores to more than 75 countries, according to company officials. In addition, the development kit is getting interest from engineers at such companies as Google, Apple, IBM, Sharp and Disney, and Spark IO in July announced it had raised $4.9 million in the latest round of funding.

Broadcom also is integrating its Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) platform for developers building devices for the IoT with Spark IO's Photon.