Recent research from Gartner suggests that by 2020 the Internet of Things market will grow to include billions of connected devices from smart sensors and gateways to data centers and other computing platforms.

To accelerate IoT development, Imagination is today introducing Creator Ci40, the most complete development kit for the Internet of Things.

The package includes three sensors, two battery-powered wireless boards, and a powerful IoT hub, providing the hardware components required to quickly prototype IoT wireless devices. In addition, every kit includes a free subscription to FlowCloud, a robust cloud platform for connecting embedded devices to the Internet.

Creator Ci40 - Kickstarter bannerThe Creator Ci40 IoT dev kit is available exclusively from Kickstarter

Watch the video and read the description below for a quick summary of how Creator Ci40 works – and don’t forget to check out our Kickstarter page for more information on how to preorder your kit today.

Design an IoT project in five easy steps

The Creator Ci40 IoT hub is a powerful development board powered by a snappy cXT200 chip that runs OpenWrt, Debian or other GNU/Linux distributions. You can take a look at the complete open source software stack in the diagram below (head over to our Kickstarter page for a detailed explanation of each component in the system):

07 - Creator Ci40 IoT kit - open source software stack_1 overviewCreator Ci40 runs on open source software

The cXT200 SoC at the heart of the Ci40 IoT hub includes a dual-core, dual-threaded MIPS interAptiv CPU, backed up by 256 MB of RAM. Hardware multithreading is an advanced technology used in desktop PCs and embedded devices to boost performance and increase system utilization and efficiency in real-world applications.

Apart from the innovative dual-core, multi-threaded CPU and RAM memory, the Ci40 dev board packs an impressive connectivity package, including 6LoWPAN, 802.11 ac 2×2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1. Having the wireless baseband integrated on chip reduces overall power consumption and boosts performance for IoT applications.

03 - Creator Ci40 dev board - full specsThe powerful microcomputer acts as an IoT hub

On the peripherals side, you get mikroBUS and Raspberry Pi B+ compatible interfaces, a micro USB power source, Ethernet, microSD, plus a number of other I/O pins for connecting accessories or extra hardware, including an EJTAG connector that can be used for live debugging.

The Creator Ci40 IoT kit also integrates two 6LoWPAN Clicker boards and three companion Click boards.

The Clicker boards are compact, standalone wireless devices powered by two AAA batteries. When used together with the companion Click boards, they provide a quick way to prototype smart sensors or actuators that communicate with the Creator Ci40 IoT hub over the 6LoWPAN network.

05 - Creator Ci40 IoT kit - 6LoWPAN Clicker_02The Clicker and Click combination acts as a standalone wireless device

In addition, each Creator Ci40 dev kit comes with a free subscription to FlowCloud – our framework that connects IoT devices to the cloud. The diagram below presents how easy it is to get sensors readings from the Clicker boards to the cloud via the Ci40 development board. FlowCloud also works with third party services (e.g. weather, media streaming, etc.) and includes open source examples and mobile SDKs for iOS and Android.

These SDKs help you design apps that interact in real time with the data stored in the cloud or with the various wireless devices connected to FlowCloud (Creator Ci40, the Clicker boards, etc.)

06 - Creator Ci40 IoT kit - FlowCloud detailed

The dev kit is the ideal solution for IoT developers, makers, Linux hackers or small to medium companies looking to build a revolutionary project from scratch.

You can back the Creator Ci40 IoT dev kit on Kickstarter starting today.

FAQs

We’ll keep updating this list on Kickstarter, but here are a few answers to your questions.

Are you discontinuing the Creator Ci20?
No, we are not. We’ve always stated that Creator Ci20 was the first member in a family of boards that will scale from tiny modules to high-performance computing platforms. We have built a dedicated community around our the Ci20 dev board and continue to provide regular software updates for Debian and Android for as long as there is demand for it. Creator Ci20 will continue to sell for £50/$65 from our store.

Will you support Thread or other 6LoWPAN-based standards?
Imagination is an active member of several cross-industry organizations dedicated to promoting open and secure standards for IoT, including the Thread Group, the AllSeen Alliance and the prpl Foundation. We are currently working with our partners to assess the resources needed to support other 802.15.4-based stacks, including the Thread protocol.

What MIPS-based hardware does the IoT kit contain?
The Creator Ci40 development board is powered by cXT200, an application processor based on a reference IP subsystem designed by Imagination for IoT applications. Manufactured by GLOBALFOUNDRIES using a 40nm process node, the cXT200 SoC includes a dual-core, dual-threaded MIPS interAptiv CPU and an Ensigma C4500 RPU. You can read more about our licensable IP subsystems here.

The Clicker board uses a Microchip PIC32MX microcontroller that integrates a MIPS M4K CPU.

How can I request a Brillo invite?
Please refer to the official Brillo page from Google.

Why are you using Kickstarter as a launch platform?
We are using Kickstarter because it’s a great platform for putting innovative products directly into the hands of consumers. The Creator family is a new venture for Imagination and therefore we want to use Kickstarter to hear what makers, developers and entrepreneurs have to say about our IoT kit directly. The Creator Ci40 dev kit is representative of our vision for next-generation, MIPS-based IoT architectures. A successful outcome of our crowdfunded campaign means we will deliver the IoT kit and associated software much faster compared to a traditional sales channel route.

Acknowledgments

The Creator program has required a huge engineering effort from Imagination and our partners. I’d like to personally thank everyone who contributed to this project, including the various hardware and software teams at MIPS, Ensigma, IMGworks and IMGsystems. A big thank you as well to our alpha testers who provided useful feedback that helped us improve the dev kit and built some really cool applications in the process. Finally, many thanks to our partners MikroElektronika who have worked hard to get the expansion boards done in time and helped us with manufacturing and packaging.

About the author: Alex Voica

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Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

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