In 1999, British technology pioneer Kevin Ashton co-founded the Auto-ID Center at MIT, a global standard system for RFID and other sensors. His vision – to create the “Internet of Things“, a concept of a system where the Internet is connected to the physical world via ubiquitous sensors. Today, a technology that promises to turn any electronic product into a connected device via a tiny card in a slot is bringing us closer to that concept. Former iPhone engineer Hugo Fiennes, ex-Gmail designer Kevin Fox, and firmware engineer Peter Hartley developed what they call the Electric Imp.
The device, named after ARPANET’s classic Interface Message Processor or IMP, looks like an SD card that includes a Cortex-M3-based processor, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and software-controllable I/O pins. According to the company, Electric Imp uses Wi-Fi and a cloud service to make it easier than ever before for vendors to Internet-enable their products, bringing the power of the Internet to places and devices it could never reach before. The company said that Imp cards will retail for $25 and that discounted cards will be available to manufacturers as well. Developer preview Imps and developer kits will be available beginning in late June, 2012 and Imp-enabled products will be available later in 2012 from a variety of vendors.
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