Electric Imp: The Internet of Things Roars Back

Greg Bates, July 22nd, 2013

electric impHardly days ago I was moaning about how we will never get to the Internet of things (IoT). Electric imp seems out to mock my moan. The electric imp API pairs with its hardware. The hardware can be installed in an electronic device, with the example given of a weight scale. The hardware delivers a seamless wifi experience and then through the API links up the data to cloud services, presumably destined through an app for an Android, iOS or other OS device. The API itself is still in beta.

The hardware specs are what drive–and perhaps limit–what you can do. First, they made it small so manufacturers can tuck it into devices: 32mm x 24mm x 2.1mm. But in the spirit of good things come in small packages, it boasts 802.11b/g/n WiFi, complete with WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption, along with an all important antenna. The processor is a Cortex-M3 core designed to walk that vexing knife edge between low power and high performance. Just how low? The company claims you can run the imp on two AA cells for, get this, a couple of years. That means the manufacturer of whatever device the imp is installed in doesn’t have to supply power.

Six pins are available for application use UARTs, I2C, SPI, analog in and out, PWMs, GPIOs, and are all selectable through software control. Other configurations are also available. For most applications it looks like there are no limits.

The imp might be small but the ambitions aren’t. Already clients are partnering with the likes of GE to bring digital things to light.

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