Adafruit Feather Bluefruit Sense Takes Flight, Launches with Full CircuitPython Compatibility

The nRF52840-based Feather Bluefruit Sense packs a lot of capabilities into a CircuitPython-compatible compact design.

Adafruit has officially launched the Feather Bluefruit Sense board, a development board based on the earlier Feather nRF52840 Express but packing an impressive array of on-board sensors.

Adafruit first teased the Feather Bluefruit Sense design late last year, promising a revision of the Feather nRF52840 Express which added in "a PDM mic, LSM6DS33 accel/gyro + LIS3MDL magnetometer, SHT3x humidity sensor, BMP280 or DPS310 barometric pressure sensor, and APDS-9960 colour/light/proximity/gesture sensor" — and all for the cost of removing the SWD connector and optional 32kHz crystal.

"This Feather microcontroller comes with Bluetooth Low Energy and native USB support featuring the nRF52840," Adafruit explains of its latest launch. "This Feather is an ‘all-in-one’ Arduino-compatible + Bluetooth Low Energy with built-in USB plus battery charging. With native USB it works great with CircuitPython, too.

"Like the Feather nRF52840, this chip comes with Arduino IDE support – you can program the nRF52840 chip directly to take full advantage of the Cortex-M4 processor, and then calling into the Nordic SoftDevice radio stack when you need to communicate over BLE. Since the underlying API and peripherals are the same for the ‘832 and ‘840, you can supercharge your older nRF52832 projects with the same exact code, with a single recompile!"

The finalized design includes an Arm Cortex-M4F with hardware floating-point unit running at 64MHz, 1MB of flash, and 256kB of static RAM – making it, the company claims, "the only BLE-plus-USB-native chip that has the memory to handle running [CircuitPython]." The USB stack comes pre-programmed with the UF2 bootloader, there are 21 general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins of which 12 offer pulse width modulation (PWM) across three PWM modules each with four outputs, and SWD debug pads are provided on the underside for those missing the original board's connector.

The board is now available from the Adafruit store, priced at $28.95.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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