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Meet the DIY chip that could power the smart home of the future

Andy Vandervell

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Creator i40

Imagination Technologies, the company that makes the graphics chip for Apple's iPhones and iPads, has just launched a Kickstarter for its Creator i40 Internet of Things developer kit.

The Creator i40 is dubbed the "Ultimate IoT-in-a-box dev kit" and offers a complete hardware and software solution for developers and hobbyists to create their own smart home apps. Ultimately it's intended for prototyping IoT products, but with the added benefit of a cloud system already in place to use and experiment with.

The main board uses a 550MHz, dual-core MIPS processor and features expansion slots for adding additional sensors and hardware. The main development kit, which will cost £80 via the Kickstarter page, includes the main i40 dev board, two 'Clicker' expansion boards and three sensor boards – a motion sensor, a thermostat and a relay switch.

Imagination reckons it's covered every possible feature a developer could need. The board features 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 Smart, the 6LoWPAN wireless standard used the ZigBee and Google's Brillo OS, a TPM security chip, a Micro SD card slot and an Ethernet port.

Related: What are Project Brillo and Google Weave?

Underpinning this is support for several open standards and Linux operating systems, as well as access to FlowCloud – a cloud platform for powering IoT devices.

Here's a quick video explaining the Creator i40 and its features. Full specs are below the video – click here to view the Kickstarter project.

Creator i40 full specs:

  • CPU: 550 MHz dual-core, dual-threaded MIPS interAptiv, 32/32 kB L1 I- and D-cache per CPU, 512 kB L2 cache, IEEE 754 Floating Point Unit
  • RAM: 256 MB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Memory: 512 MB NAND flash, 1 x micro SD card
  • Communications: 802.11b/g/n/ac 2x2 Wi-Fi (Ensigma™ C4500 RPU), 802.15.4 6LoWPAN dedicated chip, Bluetooth 4.1 (Classic + Smart, respectively)
  • Security: Dedicated TPM chip
  • Ethernet: 1 x RJ45 Ethernet port
  • Audio: 1 x 3.5mm input/output jack, 1 x S/PDIF input/output connector
  • I/O: 32 x GPIO, 2 x mikroBUS i/f, 4 x PWM, 1 x SPI, 2 x UART, 2 x I2C, 5 x ADC, expansion headers, 14-pin EJTAG connector, 9 x indicator LEDs (7 x I/O, 1 x MCU),
  • USB: 1 x micro USB 2.0 OTG
  • Power: Micro USB (5V DC) or barrel adapter (9V DC)
  • Dimensions: 100 mm x 106 mm

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