Development kit needs no RF expertise to create sensor nodes
Simplifying the development of cloud-connected devices for the IoT, the Thunderboard Sense kit has been released by Silicon Labs. It includes six onboard sensors, a wireless Gecko SoC for multi-protocol cloud connectivity, 8Mbyte of external flash for over-the-air updates and a built-in Segger J-Link to simplify programming and debugging.
Thunderboard Sense ships with the company’s ready-to-use cloud-connected IoT mobile apps, to collect and view real-time sensor data for cloud-based analytics and business intelligence.
Short-range wireless technologies such as ZigBee, Thread, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will connect the majority of nodes to the cloud, and all-inclusive, easy-to-use development kits like this make it easy for developers of all skill levels to create cloud-connected wireless sensing products for homes, offices, smart cities, smart grids, transportation, agriculture and asset tracking, says the company.
The Thunderboard Sense provides the sensing, processing and a choice of connectivity technologies needed to connect battery-powered sensor nodes to the cloud. Onboard sensors measure data, such as motion, light and environmental conditions, and then transmit this data wirelessly to the cloud. An intuitive Android or iOS mobile app displays the data on the developer’s mobile device for data aggregation and cloud analytics.
It is offered in a compact 30 x 45mm board and includes Silicon Labs’ EFR32 Mighty Gecko multi-protocol wireless SoC with a 2.4GHz chip antenna, is based on the ARM Cortex-M4 processor and supports Bluetooth low energy, ZigBee, Thread and proprietary protocols. The company’s EFM8 Sleepy Bee microcontroller enables fine-grained power control. There is also the company’s Si7021 relative humidity and temperature sensor, Si1133 UV index and ambient light sensor, Bosch Sensortec BMP280 barometric pressure sensor, Cambridge CCS811 indoor air quality gas sensor, InvenSense ICM-20648 six-axis inertial sensor, Knowles SPV1840 MEMS microphone, four high-brightness RGB LEDs, Mini Simplicity connector for access to energy profiling and wireless network debugging, 20 breakout pins and CR2032 coin cell battery connector and external battery connector.
Developers can program Thunderboard Sense using the USB Micro-B cable and onboard J-Link debugger. A USB virtual COM port provides a serial connection to the target application. The kit is supported by Simplicity Studio tools, and a board support package. Developers do not need RF design expertise to develop wireless sensor node applications, says the company.