Arduino Portenta Vision Shield LoRa, for Connected TinyML, Launched at The Things Conference 2021

New variant of the camera- and microphone-equipped edge AI vision board now includes LoRa wireless connectivity.

The Arduino team has announced another entry in its Portenta Vision Shield range, this time adding LoRa connectivity — unveiled as part of The Things Conference, which runs through to the end of the week.

"The LoRa module option of the Portenta Vision Shield is specifically designed for edge ML [TinyML] applications, enabling low-power, long distance communication over LoRa wireless protocol and LoRaWAN networks," the Arduino team explains of its latest launch. "It’s the perfect addition to the powerful Arduino Portenta H7 which makes possible machine learning on-device, thereby greatly reducing the communication bandwidth requirement in an IoT application."

The Arduino Portenta H7 debuted a year ago during CES 2020, marking the company's desire to broaden from its roots in education and hobbyist efforts with a ready-to-run module built for professional and industrial applications. Late last year the Portenta H7 received a major upgrade in the form of the Portenta Vision Shield, an add-on-board that adds computer vision and always-on voice capabilities — bringing the additional hardware required for a range of edge AI projects.

The Portenta Vision Shield LoRa is another member in the family, including the same Himax low-power camera sensor and omnidirectional dual microphones as the original but with a new LoRa radio module. "Both the video and audio data can be stored on an SD card," the Arduino team notes, "and transmitted through the LoRa module to the Arduino IoT Cloud or your own infrastructure."

The addition of LoRa connectivity makes the new Portenta Vision Shield fully compatible with The Things Network, a community-driven worldwide network of LoRaWAN gateways designed to offer ultra-low-cost high-performance connectivity for a range of Internet of Things use cases.

The Arduino Portenta Vision Shield LoRa is now available for €59 (around $72) from the Arduino Store; Arduino's Sebastian Romeo, meanwhile, is to present a workshop using the board at The Things Conference this Thursday at 1pm CET (7am EST, 4am PST).

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