Heathkits but better: Get started with IoT

Inexpensive IoT science kits will help developers get a real taste of the internet of things -- powered by AWS

Heathkits but better: Get started with IoT
Credit: flickr/Jeff Keyzer

Remember the Heathkit you got when you were a kid? These science kits included all the stuff you needed to make solar-powered radios, sound meters, and alarms. I loved mine, even when I lost the wires and left it out in the rain.

What if there were an equivalent science kit for the internet of things? Well, there is. Seeedstudio has the Intel Edison and Grove IoT Starter Kit that uses Amazon Web Services for the data and processing engine.

The Intel Edison module provides an open source hardware and software development environment that supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 connectivity. The Intel IoT starter kit includes an Arduino processor along with 11 Grove sensors and actuators for you to detect the indoor environment, as well as create smart-home applications by mixing and matching hardware components. It's like my first science kit, but better!

There are other AWS-powered IoT kits, including the Dragonboard 410c for Qualcomm processors and the Globalscale MW302 for Marvell processors.

IoT does not live entirely in the cloud; it exists in sensors that live around and even on us. Thus, you need a combination of local hardware and a cloud back end, plus the network that connects them.

I believe these kits will hammer home IoT's value, and it's a smart move by AWS to be part of the phenomenon. If developers can see and touch IoT, they're more likely to bring IoT into mainstream tools -- and if AWS is the back end they learned on, it may well be the one they choose for mainstream work too.

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