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
- 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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