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Makers get tools to hack wearable tech for innovation

Agam Shah | Jan. 10, 2014
Vendors showed many wearable devices at the International CES expo, but the next big thing may just come from an enthusiast's garage.

With the help of expansion boards, the Warp can be used for continuous heart-rate monitoring or an ECG (electrocardiogram). It's also meant for augmented reality, fitness trackers, smartwatches and a range of wearable products.

What differentiates Warp from Edison is the wide feature set. Warp supports Bluetooth and 802.11 Wi-Fi and has LCD and E-ink display interfaces. It also has a USB host, power management features, accelerometers and magnetometers. It runs on a Freescale single-core i.MX 6SoloLite processor based on the ARM Cortex-A9 processor core design.

The $149 Warp, which will ship later this year, is also open-source hardware, meaning the company will publish the computer's schematics so others can replicate the design. Hackers will be able to work collaboratively with others to improve the computer.

Both Intel and Freescale are chasing the emerging wearable market with the hope to ultimately sell millions of chips. Intel knows it'll need the help from the maker community, and has appointed a "Maker Czar" whose "sole job is to work with hobbyists," Bell said.

Intel wants to start early, and set a tone on how wearable devices are developed before the market fragments with different technologies powering devices.

"This isn't a fad for us," Bell said. "If we get ahead of the curve we can define some standards."

 

 

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