Build robots at home with this developer kit by Intel

For all the DIYers out there, Intel has launched a new board and development tool kit for tech-savvy individuals to build their very own robots and drones.

Intel’s Aero Compute Board and Robotics Development Kit comes with a RealSense 3D camera because Intel wants developers to integrate self-aware technology, bringing the future right to our doorsteps. Of course, these parts will just form a foundation for the build, while developers can add their own unique elements and features to the technology.

A drone that uses Intel's Aero Compute Board and RealSense technology shown here (credit: Intel)

A drone that uses Intel’s Aero Compute Board and RealSense technology shown here (credit: Intel)

The whole system works for the purpose of making a drone. But things such as rotor blades and other parts won’t be available. That will be left up to the user’s discretion. But it’s good that Intel have made a fully sufficient drone board system available for the masses. But that accessibility will come at a price – $399. That’s a pretty hefty sum, considering that it comes without the other parts needed to make a droid. For that money, people could buy their very own fancy of their own.

Another kit that Intel has released is the Robotics Development Kit for $249. It’ll be the mainframe of the robotic shell, that’s the heart and soul and brains of the robot, determining direction, navigation, decision-making and everything else that robots should be able to do today. Obviously, it’s meant for hobbyists and enthusiastic engineers who want to build something of their own.

The aptly named Aero Compute Board will come with solid connectivity with both LTE and WiFi bands along with a flight controller. It’s also got a beefy quad-core Intel Atom X7-Z8700 CPU that’s called Cherry Trail, which is found on the Surface 3. It’s got 4 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 16 GB of flash storage, a micro-SD slot and a micro-HDMI port. It’ll be compatible for use with Linux OS.

The Robotics Development Kit will come with a similar Atom chip – an Atom X5-Z8350 chip with integrated graphics. 32 GB of in-built storage, 4 GB RAM, an HDMI port, Ethernet slot, USB ports and compatibility with Ubuntu 14.04 or 16.04.

Arguably, people would try comparing these figures to what they might get out of a Raspberry-made board, but the fact that Intel has already made a kit with all the necessary additions, makes it worth the asking price. Intel wants more and more people to build. They want the future to be more DIY. In the coming months, Intel will feature a really small computer – small enough to fit inside a RealSense 3D webcam. This means robots will have much more capable eyes.

The future seems really exciting for prospective robotic engineers and tinkerers. And we owe that to the existence of Intel inside.