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Intel’s Joule is a maker platform so small it can be installed in safety glasses

Intel announced Joule at its Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco. The latest incarnation of Intel’s platform for creating Internet Of Things devices, it was shown in a demo highlighting one potential use — supplemented safety glasses that can spot problems in aircraft manufacturing.

Joule is a lightweight, low power usage board capable of processing 4K video on-board. Brian Krzanich, Intel’s CEO, called Joule “the newest and highest performance maker platform Intel has made” during the keynote speech at the 2016 Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

To demonstrate Joule, Intel showed off a pair of Pivot Head safety glasses augmented with Joule. The scenario was this — an employee in an aircraft building facility is attaching bolts, and needs to ensure the right sizes are used in all locations. The glasses were capable of verifying this is being done correctly.

“With advanced computervision capabilities, we’re able to provide realtime feedback to workers about their tasks,” said the demonstrator. “All computation is done right on the unit.”

When employees make a mistake, the glasses say so out loud, preventing mistakes that could prove fatal.

The glasses are an example of a “lightweight devices you can easily wear all day,” said the presenter. “You can take something that workers are wearing already, and do bolt verification in realtime as they’re going through their tasks.”

It’s just one example of what people can build with the platform, which is available now.

There are two models of the Intel Joule, the 570x and the 550x, according to an Intel fact sheet.

Here are the specs for the Intel Joule 570x:

  • 64-bit, 1.7 GHz quad-core Intel AtomTM T5700 processor with burst up to 2.4 GHz
  • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM and 16GB eMMC memory
  • Intel HD Graphics with 4K video capture and display
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB 3.0, MPI* CSI and DSI interfaces, and multiple GPIO, I2C, UART interfaces
  • Linux-based OS tailored for IoT and smart devices
  • Enhanced support for the Intel RealSense cameras and libraries

And here are the specs for the Intel Joule 550x:

  • 64-bit, 1.5 GHz quad-core Intel AtomTM T5500 processor
  • 3GB LPDDR4 RAM and 8GB eMMC memory
  • Intel HD Graphics with 4K video capture and display
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB 3.0, MPI CSI and DSI interfaces, and multiple GPIO, I2C, UART interfaces
    Linux-based OS tailored for IoT and smart devices
  • Support for the Intel RealSense cameras and libraries

It will be interesting to see what kinds of things are ultimately created with this platform, so we’ll be watching closely.