Intel unveils button-sized Curie module for wearables


— 9:27 AM on January 7, 2015

On the heels of its Broadwell-U and Cherry Trail announcements, Intel has unveiled a diminutive hardware module aimed at wearables. Dubbed Curie, the module is based on Intel's Quark system-on-a-chip and can power devices "the size of a button." Here's how it looks:

And here's what's inside, according to Intel:

  • Low-power, 32-bit Intel® Quark™ microcontroller
  • 384kB flash memory, 80kB SRAM
  • Low-power, integrated DSP sensor hub with proprietary pattern matching accelerator
  • Bluetooth Low Energy
  • 6-axis combo sensor with accelerometer and gyroscope
  • Battery charging circuitry (PMIC)

This isn't just a demonstration of the chipmaker's miniaturization mojo. Curie is a real product that's on track to ship in the second half of 2015.

The announcement is a little short on specifics about exactly what devices Curie will power. Nevertheless, Intel has announced a "strategic wearables collaboration" with eyewear brand Oakley. The two companies are "working on an intelligent product, available later this year, designed to enhance athletes' performance."

More broadly, Intel says it expects to see wearable devices "created by companies that have historically never used silicon before." The chipmaker anticipates that silicon-driven "rings, bags, bracelets, pendants and yes, buttons, will all be possible."

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