Intel Joule Module For IoT

The Joule compute module is Intel’s third generation multi-purpose microelectronics development board.   Released in August 2016, the Joule is a complete System-on-Module (SoM) designed for embedded use in robotics, drones, and industrial edge products.  It is also a significant improvement over its predecessors the Intel Edison, and Intel Galileo, in terms of on-board processing capabilities and power consumption.

The Intel Joule has an impressive set of features that includes:

  • 5 or 1.7 GHz Intel Atom quad-core processor
  • 3 or 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM
  • 8 or 16 GB of eMMC flash
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
  • Bluetooth
  • HD Graphics processing unit
  • 3D Modeling
  • Object Recognition
  • Person Tracking

With a form factor approximately the size of an SD card and support for computer vision and machine learning, the Intel Joule has the ability to run intense workloads at very low power consumption.  This allows developers to create applications and products they were unable able to with earlier versions of Intel development boards.  This also means that the Joule has more capability to complete tasks on-board that otherwise would need to have been forwarded to a gateway device or desktop computer in order to be properly processed.

Intel is attempting to attract more beginners into the maker space by providing an operating system with a graphical user interface.  Therefore, the Intel Joule comes preinstalled with the open-source Reference Linux for IoT software, which includes a GUI shell by default and also a Terminal for more advanced users to allow for full control of the board.  Options to run Windows 10 IoT, Snappy Ubuntu Core, and support for Intel RealSense are also included with the Joule.

Due to its small size, computing capabilities, and low power consumption the Intel Joule open up a world of possibilities for inventors.  It has the ability to bring edge computing performance to spaces that were not easily accessible before.  The Joule is the perfect solution for custom wearables, trucking “platoons”,  access control systems, and swarm robotics just to name a few examples.  The Intel Joule 570x Developer Kit is for sale on websites such as Newegg and Amazon, and starts at $333.99.  All developer SDKs can be downloaded from Intel’s website.

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6 Comments

  1. It sure looks like this little board packs a punch in terms of performance but 334$ ?Are they serious? Am not sure if there is anybody else who offers so much performance in a credit card sized board but the price is astonishing in my view.

    • Actually the price is for the whole developer kit. Unlike other dev boards in which they only sell the board and the dev kits separately. Newegg.com sells both kits the 550 and 570. Where Amazon sells the 570 kit and what looks like just the board for the 550.

    • For an update to my last comment. Amazon sells both dev kits and boards. The 570 is 209 just for the board. Yes it is higher than others, but for what it is I wouldn’t mind paying that amount for the whole dev kit.

    • A couple of thoughts on your comment Igor:
      1. In comparison to say Raspberry Pi, yes the Joule is expensive. However, I don’t feel it’s really aimed at that demographic or intended for lower-level projects that boards like the RPI are used for.
      2. It’s really aimed at professional inventors and developers who are trying to prototype and deploy industrial IoT solutions. Price is much less of a concern to these folks. It will be interesting to see, though, if the $334 price point is too high.
      3. I understand that for consumers in other countries where per capita income is not as high, $334 may price people right out of the ability to purchase Joule modules at all. likewise though, it’s all just perspective. $334 is the overall course of doing business is really quite insignificant if the ROI is sufficient.

      • Thanks for the replies lads. I can surely see that these are for high end use and if the price is for the whole dev kit than that makes more sense for sure. Yet as you said yourself Randy. For young, new, possible inventors/devs in poorer countries let’s say India this thing will be impossible to get. And that is sad and it was kind of my point. Personally I am from Slovakia but living in Ireland and in Ireland there surely isn’t a big problem to cash out 400 euros. But in Slovakia, where most people go home after a whole month of work for 500/600 euros I can see this being a big problem and we’re talking about a country that’s part of EU since 2004!

        • Yeah, and this is why I still see a lot of value in the Galileo and Edison boards and kits for awhile, especially since the kits (board + module) can be purchased for under $50 from sites like Mouser.

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