An Egyptian startup known as Elk has scored a Kickstarter funding for a tiny (55 x 25.5mm) IoT development board designed for decentralized web applications that can traffic in cryptocurrency payments using blockchain through Ethereum. According to Elk, the Elk board is built for blockchain-enabled IoT networks with privacy guarantees that are not feasible with mainstream IoT platforms that depend on commercial cloud platforms. The board features Linux on a quad-core, 1GHz, Cortex-A7 Allwinner H3 SoC.
Available also is a 100MHz, 32-bit STM32F411 MCU supported with an Arduino-compatible SDK. Apart from supporting Ethereum, Elk offers support for the Whisper API communication protocol, enabling private communications protected by symmetric and asymmetric encryption for “untraceable” metadata. Elk offers its own Elk protocol as an alternative, which enables a “simpler” wrapper around Whisper for easier control of IoT devices from the Elk mobile app. The Elk board also enables peer-to-peer InterPlanetary File System (IFPS) for decentralized storage and file referencing. It also supports Status IM for chat and Ether payment delivery.
Applications such as decentralized home automation systems, as well as more transactional applications such as smart contracts and media payments that involve Ether and ERC-20 tokens are supported. According to Elk,
“Sensors can be used as an oracle to the blockchain to trigger a smart contract action, you can use programmable money to rent assets and govern your devices, or even sell your sensors’ data in an open marketplace without a third party.”
The Elk can’t be outrightly termed an SBC. Its real-world connections are limited to a micro-USB and microSD card slot. The microSD card slot will be replaced on the final version with 8GB eMMC. Its breadboard-friendly, the dual in-line design incorporates the Allwinner H3 and STM32F411 chips along with 512MB DDR3 RAM and a 2.4GHz WiFi module with an antenna. The dual in-line design allows you to easily plug the board into a breadboard. Its expansion pins offer 28x digital I/O, 10x analog I/O, 2x UART, 3x I2C, 3x SPI, and 21x PWM support. With additional $20, you can buy an $89 Elk Starter Kit that integrates the Elk with a power adapter, micro-USB cable, and breadboard. Available also is a photoresistor, temp sensor, buzzer, 10x LEDs, 9x potentiometers, 5x push buttons, 15x resistors, and 10x jumper wires. It safe to say the Elk board is packed with a host of features.