Windows 10 IoT Core Offers Developers More Options, Powers Robot Panda

The updates include an extension for Microsoft's new multiplatform code editor and support for Intel Joule, an IoT board the company used to power an interactive robot panda.

Microosoft, IoT

After focusing this summer on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft is turning its attention to Windows 10 IoT Core.

Recently, the company announced a handful of new capabilities aimed at expanding the platform's reach, including a new Window IoT Core Extension for Visual Studio Code, Microsoft's new lightweight code editor for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. The extension enables developers to "write a Node.js script, deploy it to a Windows IoT Core device and then run it from the development machine of your choice" running any of the aforementioned operating systems, blogged Paul Monson, senior software engineer in the Microsoft Windows group. A walkthrough and example code are available in Monson's blog post.

For Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 owners with the Sense Hat add-on board, Microsoft has a new Universal Windows Platform app that enables them to program their devices using a block editor in their web browsers.

Sense Hat features an 8x8 matrix of RGB LEDs, a minuscule joystick and a battery of sensors, including an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer. "You create a program with interlocking blocks, which will run on the Raspberry Pi. For example, you can control the LED matrix on the Sense Hat and react to the inputs (buttons, sensors like temperature, humidity, etc.)," Ale Contenti, development lead at Microsoft IoT Core Developer Experience, wrote in a separate blog post, which also contains guidance on how to get started.

Windows 10 IoT Core also supports Intel's tiny new Joule board. Introduced during last month's Intel Developer Forum, the Joule module uses sensors inspired by the chip maker's RealSense computer vision technology. Two models are available, the 550x and 570x, both based on the company's Atom system-on-chip (SoC) offerings, the Atom T5500 and T5700, respectively. They feature 64-bit processing, 802.11ac WiFi with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1 and support for Intel's RealSense cameras.

As a testbed for Windows 10 IoT Core running on the new chip, Microsoft staffers built a little robot panda called Bamboo.

According to Steve Teixeira, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Partner Application Experience team, the robot "connects to cloud-based Microsoft Azure and Cognitive Services, which provide sentiment analysis and translation, so you can speak to Bamboo in any language and she can translate into her native English and understand your mood via Twitter," he stated in a Sept. 2 announcement. "Bamboo can move about and build an understanding of her environment with the compute platform and an Intel RealSense camera."

While the Windows 10 IoT Core is smaller than its desktop and mobile counterparts—it's a free, lightweight version of the operating system for internet of things devices—it could potentially outstrip its parent OS in terms of popularity, particularly if the lofty industry predictions come to pass. Cisco, which acquired Jasper Technologies earlier this year to further its internet of things agenda, said it expects the IoT to encompass 25 billion connected devices by 2020 and have a $19 trillion impact on the world's economy by that same year.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...