The Intel Galileo development board was launched last year during Maker Faire Rome, and although we have played with it in our lab, we wanted to find out more about who it’s aimed at and the kind of projects it could compliment.
Recently at the Maker Faire UK event, we took the opportunity to chat with the team at Intel and get more information about their Galileo board.
A team at CTVR have been working with Intel using their Galileo boards to develop an “Internet Of Things” for the city of Dublin. They are planning to deploy a wi-fi based sensor network across the city to help improve traffic and air quality. They describe such a network as a “Thingscape”.
They have developed an open-source framework to control the “Thingscape” using radio communication. The team explained that they are using wi-fi today, but an active point of debate is what is the best type of radio to use for communication in the future. The Galileo is a good choice of board for this due to its mini PCI-E port, since an alternative radio module can be inserted with little effort.
Since the project is using the Yocto project flavour of Linux, new drivers can be added with relative ease.
Their framework allows real-time monitoring from a central location of the entire network. Thanks to the Galileo’s x86 based Quark processor, it has the ability to easily process and analyse the sensor data remotely.
Because of this, the data communicated back is transformed and pre-analysed based on remote logic, making the servers task more efficient.
Each Galileo can exchange information with other Galileo boards and make decisions based on it.
The challenge of making real-time decisions based on events is a multi-industry objective, and in the new world of “Big Data”, projects like this are becoming increasingly important.
The project is open source and is found on Github –
As the name suggests it’s based on using sensors to gather environmental data. It started in anticipation of the Galileo platform, to see how this technology could be used in the classroom.
They have been exploring the remote management possibilities. The example given involved having hundreds of air quality sensors deployed throughout a city.
On-site maintenance or reboots would be a challenge, especially when in hard to reach locations such as lamp-posts.
The project is supported by various SME’s, (small and medium enterprises) who are collaborating on plug-and-play sensors that connect to a dedicated logic shield on the Galileo.
The project is contingent on a commercial grade Linux distribution called ‘Wind River‘, which is based on the Yocto project. Running a full Linux distribution is enabling more logic to be performed remotely.
Since Wind river is Intel owned, they aim to use this combined with the Galileo to deliver an end-to-end industrial solution.
Working with various schools has helped them understand how the technology could be used, but also the kind of learning material that would be required.
Built using a Python script (about 10 lines of code) , which is communicating with the Twitter API and looking for the #bubbleao hashtag.
Once found the Galileo is triggering a relay activation and making bubbles to entertain the families!
The data from these projects can be made publicly available through an API. It’s being used by the schools and Intel are keen to understand how the data will be shared.
The example they used was with the Bubbleao, demonstrating how the Galileo can easily communicate via an API, in this case with Twitter.
Intel in the Community
The ‘Maker Movement’ is a global phenomenon that is really picking-up speed. Each year many new start-up companies are appearing offering new tools, each improving on the last.
In fact there has never been a time when we’ve had more choice of solutions to create our next projects, and not just for electronics, but within the entire maker community. While this is not the first time Intel have been involved in this expanding industry, it is their biggest step to date.
When I asked Jay Melican (Intel’s Maker Czar) “is the Intel Galileo, Intel’s response to the Maker community, and a move to stay relevant?” He simply replied “Yes Exactly”. It’s an obvious response and in fact I suspect by their enthusiasm there is more to come.
We wanted to know more about the lab projects they are working on, and while little could be shared publicly, they do exist! Only a small handful of projects were shown and it’s a shame that a wider number of projects are not more open.
However, it’s fair to say that this is a big step for Intel, and by being at Maker events, their intention to be a part of the maker community is very clear.