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Secretive Intel quietly woos makers in China

Agam Shah | April 15, 2016
In addition to PCs and mobile devices, Intel is now trying to get hardware companies in China to develop drones, robots and IoT devices

It is also exploring opportunities to work with local partners to replicate its Greatest Makers television program in China. That would be the first expansion for the TV show outside the U.S.

Also announced were the Robotics Development Kit for robotics and the Aero Platform for drones. At the center of both development kits is the RealSense 3D camera, which can recognize objects and determine their size, shape and contours . The 3D camera is like giving robots and drones a computerized eye to assist in navigation and avoid obstacles.

The Robotic Development Kit can be ordered from Intel's website for US $249 and it will ship later this quarter. It includes a credit-card-sized board from Aaeon with an Intel Atom x5 Z8350 CPU, integrated graphics, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 32GB of storage, an HDMI slot, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, 40-pin GPIO port, a camera interface and an eDP (embedded DisplayPort) slot to connect a display.

The Aero Platform will have a flight controller, accelerometer, pressure sensors and programmable GPIOs. It will also have modules to support communications, storage, depth and vision capabilities. It will run on an Atom quad-core processor and be available in the second half 2016. Further details and price of the developer hardware will be available at a later date.

Intel also announced key software tools for its existing developer boards and SDKs. A software kit for the Curie wearable development hardware will allow developers to exploit USB and Bluetooth Low Energy features.

In addition, Intel unveiled an experimental RealSense Cross Platform API, which will offer tools for camera capture and "high-level vision functionality." That could aid robots and drones with image recognition. It will work with Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

A separate RealSense SDK that offers a comprehensive suite of computer vision algorithms is already available for use with the 3D camera.


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