Designed in Ireland – Intel’s technology for ‘internet of things’ a pure Irish creation

3 Oct 2013

ROME – A new system on a chip (SoC) designed in Ireland by a team of 70 Intel workers will power Intel’s contribution to the revolutions in wearable computing and the ‘internet of things’ – a world where inventors and educators can harness low-cost computers and put them to any conceivable use.

The creation of the Intel Quark SoC X1000, the first product from the Intel Quark technology family of low-power, small-core products was made possible when a local team of Intel executives seized the opportunity to create a chip for the internet of things.

The chip will feature on the Intel Galileo development board, which was unveiled appropriately enough at the European edition of the Maker Faire in Rome today, where creators, designers and inventors collaborate to invent the future.

The efforts of the local Intel team were made possible when Ireland’s inward investment body IDA Ireland got behind the 70-strong project.

In effect, the Quark chip family completes the quartet of Intel’s reach across the computing continuum – servers (Xeon), personal computers (Core), low-cost, low-power devices (Atom) and now internet of things and wearable computing (Quark).

Badge of honour

As a fitting badge of honour, the new Intel Galileo board, which will sell across the world, will have ‘Designed in Ireland’ emblazoned on the circuit board.

The team has been led by Philip Moynagh and the business plan for the project has been led by Noel Murphy, Quark X1000 engineering manager.

“The X1000 was designed in Ireland and has been manufactured in the US. We’re here at the Maker Faire, which fosters innovation by people who want to create things but that’s just one aspect of it, there are more applications, from wearable computing to the internet of things.

“The Quark family is one of our lead vehicles and out of the four key product areas this will be one of the tiny things at the bottom but it will power a massive revolution we will come to call the internet of things and which will impact on billions of lives.

“It was an early stage project which Ireland put the most competitive package to develop it, thanks to support from the IDA.

“Together we have made a very innovative piece of technology and for Ireland this is a major coup.”

Fiona Dunn from IDA Ireland’s ICT division explained that after commercially and strategically assessing the project it was clear that it was of vital importance to Ireland.

“We’ve been in partnership with Intel 20 years now and the fact that we are at the Maker Faire in Rome today launching it is exciting and fitting.”

Donal Murphy from IDA Ireland’s ICT division said it was the kind of project that needed to be attacked by teams in a different way outside the corporate mould. “We’re delighted to see it unveiled here at the Maker Faire and greeted with excitement from young to old. It truly puts Ireland at the top of the designer community and for Ireland puts the country in a new category in the technology world.

“It definitely has the wow factor.”

The details about Galileo and the SoC X1000

Intel Galileo combines the performance of Intel technology with the Arduino software development environment beloved of inventors and designers.

The development board runs an open-source Linux operating system with the Arduino software libraries, enabling scalability and re-use of existing software, called “sketches”.

Intel Galileo can be programmed through Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux host operating software. The board is also designed to be hardware and software compatible with the Arduino shield ecosystem.

The Intel development board comes standard with several computing industry standard I/O interfaces, including ACPI, PCI Express, 10/100Mb Ethernet, SD, USB 2.0 device and EHCI/OHCI USB host ports, high-speed UART, RS-232 serial port, programmable 8MB NOR flash, and a JTAG port for easy debug. Intel Galileo also brings together the benefits of the Arduino IDE with the broad software development and advanced capabilities of a full, unmodified Linux software stack into one platform, supported by a common open-source tool chain.

The Quark SoC X1000 is a 32-bit, single core, single-thread, Pentium instruction set architecture (ISA)-compatible CPU, operating at speeds up to 400MHz.

Philip Moynagh will be a keynote speaker at the Innovation Ireland Forum in Dublin on 11 October, where leaders and stakeholders will discuss Ireland as the go-to destination for knowledge that will drive the next economy

Made in Ireland image, via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years