It's always interesting to see what new projects leap from the inspiration that is infused into many by the fresh face of a new year.
It seems the Adafruit crew embraced this ethos with enthusiasm, as the latest tweets from their Twitter account tease us with renders of the soon-to-be-released ESP32-S2 TFT Feather.
At first glance, this seems to be a logical upgrade to the former ESP32 Feather boards, swapping out the ESP32 module and USB-Serial converter, for the hot, new ESP32-S2-MINI module.
In addition to the very visible NeoPixel that we can see wired in to the schematic snapshot above, we can also see that there are a few other neat bits squeezed into this PCB, such as the STEMMA-QT header, sitting in the center of the board — the four colorful dots indicating the vertical orientation of the connector.
This means this new board will have no trouble getting busy with the box of breakout boards you may have already likely accumulated by now!
There's a generic footprint for any of the Bosch BMEx80 family of environmental sensors, which could allow for options for board variants aimed at sensing pressure, with a BMP280, or even temperature & % Rh, by installing a BME280 in place!
Pow. It's packing quite a high-spec IPS LCD TFT display on the underside of this otherwise unassuming looking development board.
With a resolution of 135 x 240 pixels, packed into 1.14" (diagonal), this display is the same one we've seen presenting pixel perfect pictures on previous projects — the very same one offered for standalone use on an Adafruit breakout board here.
Wired into the fast 40MHz SPI bus of the ESP32-S2, this board can refresh this pixel-packed panel at a theoretical maximum of 77 fps — that's way more than is needed for liquid smooth animations - perfect to make use of some of the recent work we've seen from BitBank Software, and their animatedGIF libraries perhaps!
While it's almost guaranteed that most Feathers will feature a Li-ion battery charger, it's really cool to see an additional part — the LC709203Ffrom ON Semiconductor.
This single chip device is able to keep tabs on the trickle of charge flowing in and out of your lithium cell, as it goes about being charged, and discharged.
Where as some other battery technologies have a discharge curve that can give some reasonable measure of the remaining capacity of the cell — lithium cells are notoriously "flat," such that it can be hard to judge the remaining power from simply measuring the cell voltage.
These gas gauge parts actually keep tabs on the total flow of charge in and out of the cell, enabling — with some clever math — the device to report back the cell status, over a simple set of I2C interfaced registers.
As the focus in our world shifts progressively more towards low power, the inclusion of such a device is a welcome addition to any board!
This is a project in the incubator phase — Adafruit has thrown open a welcome reception to any suggestions that we can throw their way. Check out the Twitter thread for more updates, or to chip in if you've got a suggestion for the next ESP32-S2 board to grace our shelves!