Begin your IoT cloud computing adventure with an Imagination Technologies Creator Ci40 kit

3rd April 2017
Barney Scott

If you’re looking for a serious contender for your IoT projects, you might feel somewhat bemused by the mass of 64-bit SBCs that have sprung up in the wake of the Raspberry Pi’s success. In a guest blog, Redstone reviews the Creator Ci40 Kit from Imagination Technologies.

Article contributed by RS Components (click for original).

This SBC has been designed from the ground up to ensure it supports secure operation for your application with a software framework that defends your devices from becoming part of the growing zombie botnet.

The kit is based around a fully-loaded, deep purple development board with Wi-Fi, 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth 4.1, Ethernet and USB connectivity all built-in. It features a 550 MHz dual-core, dual-thread interAptiv MIPS CPU, plenty of memory with 2 MB Boot NOR Flash, as well as 512 MB NAND Flash and 256 MB DDR3 SDRAM. Security comes in the form of Infineon’s TPM (Trusted Platform Module) for certificate storage, while IO expansion is a doddle with 2 MikroElektronika Click interfaces and a Raspberry Pi interface (40-pin header type). Power is via Micro-USB or 9VDC. 

Actuating the board

It’s really simple to add sensor or actuator functionality to your application using the MikroElektronika Click interfaces. A wide (and growing) range of click boards is available, including Wi-Fi, weather, GSM, fingerprint and NFC modules. But to get you up and running quickly and easily, the Creator Ci40 Kit includes the development board itself, as well as two MikroElektronika 6LoWPAN Clicker boards, and three other Click boards – the Thermo3 Click, Motion Click and Relay Click.

Software and support

The board is supplied running OpenWRT Linux and one of the outstanding benefits of this development kit is the huge wealth of open source software support available for IoT applications. To be fair, there is a large amount of API documentation to digest, but this is helped greatly with a straightforward quick-start guide and a number of workshops that get you up and running with the clicker boards included in the kit.

The first workshop uses the onboard switch to send simple count to the cloud-based developer console, then provides an extension into using the PIR motion sensor to send a count of motion detections instead, with a simple code modification.

The second workshop takes you through using the Relay Click to set up remote relays and extends further into creating and using webhooks to trigger a pre-determined response somewhere on the internet from an event taking place elsewhere on the internet.

All in all, it’s a fantastically secure piece of kit with which to begin your IoT cloud computing adventures. If IoT is to blossom into trusted technology that enhances people’s lives, building a mindset of making well-engineered and thoroughly tested products is hugely important. Ci40 is designed to facilitate the development of properly engineered, scalable solutions for connected devices, rather than the one-off hacks you can do with just about any SBC.

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