Arduino has launched a new entry in its designed-for-manufacture Arduino Pro range, and it brings with it a whole new form factor: the Nicla Sense ME, created in partnership with Bosch.
Designed to be compatible with both breadboards and surface-mount installation on a carrier board, the compact Arduino Nicla Sense ME is built around the ANNA-B112 Bluetooth module which features a Nordic Semi nRF52832 system-on-chip with a 64MHz Arm Cortex-M4F microcontroller, 64kB of static RAM (SRAM), 512kB of flash storage plus 2MB external, and Bluetooth 5.0 - though, at launch, those using the ArduinoBLE software stack will be limited to Bluetooth 4.2.
On the general-purpose input/output side, the board features 17 castellated pins bringing out two analog inputs and one each of the two SPI and I2C buses present on the SoC. The partnership with Bosch, however, means that many common sensing functions are built right on to the board thanks to the integration of several Bosch Sensortec sensors — including the BHI260 Smart Sensor, which packs a Synopsys DesignWare ARC EM4 coprocessor aimed at edge AI work, a four-channel micro-DMA controller and two-way associated cache controller, and a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) with accelerometer and gyroscope.
On top of this, Bosch provides the board with a BME688 temperature, humidity, pressure, and volatile organic compound (VOC) "eNose" sensor, a BMP390 high-accuracy pressure sensor, and a BMM150 three-axis magnetometer. The board's feature set finishes with a user-addressable RGB LED, a micro-USB port for data and power, and a connector for an optional lithium battery, plus "fins" designed to provide debug access to the various sensors.
The new Nicla form factor is Arduino's most compact yet, measuring just 22.85x22.86mm (around 0.9x0.9in) excluding the protruding micro-USB connector. The company has also hinted that the Nicla Sense ME is only the first in the Nicla family, but has not yet announced what the next device in the range will be.
"The Nicla form factor has been specifically developed at Arduino as a standard for wireless sensor networks which can be adapted by partners to develop custom-designed industrial solutions," the Arduino team claims. "Researchers and educators can use this platform to work on an industrially-recognised standard for wireless sensor research and development that can shorten the time from concept to market."
More details on the board, including the datasheet and pinout, can be found on the Arduino website.