Intel Curie module is a button-sized solution for future wearables

During Intel’s keynote address at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, CEO Brain Krzanich revealed the first prototype of the Intel Curie module. This is a low-powered microcomputer that is no larger than a button, pictured below.

Intel Curie

Intel Curie

The module was created as part of the company’s push to lead in the wearables field, and is built on Intel’s new Quark SE chip that is said to be its first purpose built wearable SoC. In addition to the low-power 32-bit Quark microcontroller, Curie also incorporates 384kB of flash memory, motion sensors, Bluetooth LE and battery-charging capabilities. The module is power efficient, and will be able to run with a battery the size of a coin.

The technology make it possible for Curie to power the smallest of devices, as the trend in the wearable market is set to continue to gear towards fashion, rather than just fitness and novelty. It provides the flexible solution designers required to create wearables in a range of form factors whether it’s rings or buttons. The announcement comes a year after Intel unveiled Edison, a postage stamp-sized module designed for professionals creating prototypes and products considered Internet of Things.

“You could think of it maybe as Edison for wearables. So whereas Edison really itself is targeted to a wide range of makers, this is really targeted at wearable applications,” Intel VP and devices general manager Mike Bell told in a briefing.

Intel Curie

Intel Curie

To make it possible for designers to bring new wearable quickly to market, Curie aims to tear down major barriers such as the lack of flexible, power-efficient solutions, integrated software, and system integration which prevents companies from entering the wearables space. Its robust features are said to be ideal for “always-on” applications and Intel is also providing a real-time, open-source software solution to provide developers with the tools to take full advantage of the platform.

The company ran the Make it Wearable competition last year, which saw many inventors and developers create and fast track prototypes and wearable devices based on the Intel Edison platform. The competition is set to run again this year, where competitors can benefit from the new Curie module and Quark SE chip. The Nixie wearable drone camera which won the grand prize of the competition last year was also showed off during the event, taking flight on stage. You can see it in action in the video below.

Curie will become available in the second half of 2015, and AnandTech has compiled a handy table of the specifications currently available of the module in comparison to Edison, shown below.

Intel Curie Intel Edison Development Platform
CPU Quark SE, unknown MHz Dual-Core Silvermont Atom, 500MHz +Quark, 100MHz
RAM 80kB SRAM 1GB LPDDR3 (2x32bit)
WiFi/ BT “BT Low Energy” 2.4/5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0
Storage 384kB flash 4GB eMMC
I/O Battery charging PMIC SD + UART + SPI + GPIO + USB 2.0 OTG
OS Open source Real-Time OS Yocto Linux v1.6 (CPU)Open source Real-Time OS (MCU)
Dimensions Approx. US dime(~18mm diameter) 35.5 x 25 x 3.9 mm
Sensors Integrated DSP sensor hub with pattern matching 6-axis combo sensor (accelerometer and gyroscope)

Kai-Li Yang

Kai-Li is a tech enthusiast with an in-depth knowledge of mobile technology, music technology and the entertainment industry. She hails from Taiwan and helps Tech Assimilate to erm... assimilate, all the latest tech news and trends from East Asia. Kai-Li Yang on Google+

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