Arduino Launches Portenta H7 Vision Shield for Edge Computer Vision, Voice Work

Ultra-low-power motion-sensing camera, two beam-forming microphones, and your choice of Ethernet or LoRa connectivity — plus a microSD slot.

The Vision Shield includes a low-power camera, twin microphones, and Ethernet or LoRa connectivity. (📷: Arduino)

Arduino has announced the launch of a new Portenta add-on for edge machine learning and computer vision: the Portenta Vision Shield.

Unveiled earlier this year during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Arduino's Portenta H7 is an attempt by the traditionally maker-focused Arduino to launch something suitable for industrial use. Built around the STMicro STM32H747 system-on-chip, the Portenta H7 can run native Arduino code, Python, JavaScript, and applications running atop Arm's Mbed OS.

The Portentia Vision Shield is designed to extend the Portenta H7's capabilities into computer vision and voice applications, packing an ultra-low-power Himax camera module — which is capable of detecting motion autonomously, only waking the Portenta board when necessary as a means of reducing power draw still further — and two omnidirectional MP34DT06JTR microphones configured as a beam-forming array.

"Embedded machine learning will transform industries," claims Andrea Richetta, leader of the Arduino Pro business unit. "The Portenta Vision Shield is now the fastest way to go from concept to deployment of low-power machine vision and audio applications ​—​ delivering certified, production-ready hardware with support from easy-to-use ML software frameworks."

Audio and vision data captured by the Shield's sensors can be stored locally on a microSD card, transmitted via the Portenta's own Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Low Energy radios, or via a wired connection using the Shield's Ethernet port. A second variant will add the option of LoRa wireless connectivity before the end of the year, though is not launching alongside the Ethernet version.

For the software side, Arduino has partnered with OpenMV to add full Portenta and Vision Shield support to the OpenMV IDE. All Portenta users can download the OpenMV IDE v2.6.4 or higher to receive the support, with Arduino providing example sketches demonstrating the use of the Vision Shield.

The Arduino Portenta Vision Shield with Ethernet connectivity is now available from the Arduino Store priced at $45; the LoRa variant will follow later this year.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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