Intel Corporation Wants You To Make Robots And Drones At Home

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Intel’s keynotes have always been attractive with drones zigzagging and robots parading around. But now the chip maker is planning new hardware to help customers multiply their fun by making their own robots and drones at home.

Intel kits to include RealSense 3D camera

At the ongoing Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen, China, the chip maker announced the Robotic Development Kit and Aero Kit, which include the necessary hardware and software tools to build robots and drones. Both kits will ship with Intel’s RealSense 3D camera, the report says.

The RealSense 3D camera–a major element of developer boards–helps in the navigation of robots and drones. The depth-sensing camera is capable of recognizing items and determining the shape, size and contours of objects. The camera serves as the eyes for robots.

Intel’s Robotic Development Kit will start shipping later this quarter and will be priced at $249. The kit includes a credit card-sized board from Aaeon. The board is equipped with an internal Intel HD 400 graphics processor, 32GB of storage, Intel Atom x5 Z8350 CPU and 4GB of DDR3 RAM.

Other features include Gigabit Ethernet, a USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a camera interface, an HDMI slot and an eDP (embedded DisplayPort) slot to connect a display. Also it has a 40-pin GPIO (general purpose input-output) slot to hook up add-on boards which might have sensors or other components. Though the kit will ship with Ubuntu Linux, it will support Windows 10 and other versions of Windows as well, the report says.

Growing importance of drone and robotics tools

In an email sent to PC World, an Intel spokesman said the Aero Platform is a “ready-to-fly developer platform.” It will run a version of embedded Linux and has flash storage, DDR3L RAM and an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor. There are no details on the price, but the kit will start shipping in the second half of this year.

Robotics has become an essential educational tool, and many other companies are paying attention to it as well. Amazon, which plans to deliver products using drones, paid $775 million for industrial automation company Kiva Systems. Even Google has invested in robotics companies.

Already, Nvidia’s Jetson TX1 development board is popular for making robots and drones. Qualcomm’s DragonBoard 410c is the most software-friendly robotics and drone development board. It will be interesting to see how Intel’s kit will fare against these already-established offerings. If Intel wins, it would be a big boost to its efforts of diversifying away from PCs.

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