If you didn't catch much coverage from Embedded World 2017, I can summarize the dev kit portion for you: lots of IoT kits. Digi-Key had a "Development Kit Tour" at their booth where they featured several development kits from different companies. The booth was focused on helping students and makers prepare to join the world of prototype development. Here are some kits that caught my eye.
Hexiwear Wearable Development Kit for IoT
MikroElektronica's Hexiwear is an open-source development kit made for rapidly prototyping wearables and IoT devices. It ran a successful Kickstarter campaign last year and is available now. Possibly its most interesting feature is that it's a dev kit for wearables that you can actually wear! Their website has a lot of support and resources, making it an accessible platform for newer developers.
Hexiwear comes with casing to make a wearable prototype. Courtesy of Hexiwear.
- MCU: NXP K64
- BLE: NXP Kinetis KW4x
- Accelerometer/magnetometer: NXP FXOS8700CQ
- Gyroscope (3-axis): NXP FXAS210002
- Digital pressure sensor: NXP MPL3115A2R1
- Battery charger (600MA single-cell Li-ion/Li-polymer): NXP MC34671
- Light-to-digital converter: TAOS TSL2561
- Humidity/temperature sensor: MEAS HTU21D
- Heart-rate sensor: MAX3010x
It also has some mysterious components including a 1.1-inch color OLED display, a 190 mAh 2C Li-Po battery, a capacitive touch interface, an RGB LED, and 8B of flash memory.
Getting Started with Hexiwear
- User Guide
- Firmware, SDK, and smartphone app downloads
- Github Files
- Getting Started
- Information for Hexiwear expansions
- Hexiwear Forum
Silicon Labs Thunderboard Sense
The Thunderboard Sense is a little development board with a ton of sensors for battery-powered IoT applications. The Thunderboard Sense kit has multi-protocol radio function with BLE, Zigbee, and mesh networking. This board also has a lot of support and resources on SI Lab's website.
Thunderboard Sense (actual size). Courtesy of Silicon Labs.
Thunderboard Sense Kit Hardware
- Connectivity chip: Wireless Gecko EFR32
- Humidity/temperature sensor: Si7021
- UV/ambient light sensor: Si1133
- Pressure sensor: BMP280
- Indoor air quality/gas sensor: CC811
- 6-axis inertial sensor: ICM-20648
- MEMS microphone: SPV1840
The Sense kit also has some mysterious LEDs and is adding a Hall-Effect sensor soon. All code is open source and the kit has apps for iOS and Android.
Getting Started with Thunderboard Sense
- User Guide (PDF)
- User Guide for BLE (PDF)
- Design Files (zipped file)
- iOS app source code
- Android app source code
TI LaunchPad BoosterPack
To be fair, this one is only on the fringe of IoT, but you can customize your own LaunchPad platform for the IoT with these booster packs, all of which run on Energia IDE so you don't need to learn any new interfaces. These aren't booster packs for card games like Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, but it's kind of a similar concept. Like building decks in competitive card games, you start out with your basic deck (the LaunchPad) and can buy more additions for more functionality.
What I thought was really neat about the LaunchPad BoosterPack is the BYOB "Build Your Own BoosterPack" program. You can actually design your own additions for your LaunchPad. It seems that TI is making considerable efforts to give LaunchPad the open-source support and communities that Arduino and Raspberry Pi have. TI has a ton of resources for BYOB on their website.
Stacks on stacks of BoosterPacks. Courtesy of TI.
Getting Started with LaunchPad BoosterPacks and BYOB
- BoosterPacks starting page
- BYOB starting page
- BYOB Getting Started Pack (zipped file)
- Design reference
- BoosterPack checker (To see if your BoosterPacks are compatible)
- Energia BoosterPack resource page
- Element14 BYOB Community
Were there any dev kits shown at Embedded World that got you excited? Let us know in the comments!