Arduino has announced a new entry into its Pro-branded IoT development board family, aiming at sensing and control in outdoor environments with a focus on smart agriculture: the Arduino Edge Control.
"The Arduino Edge Control is capable of connecting sensors and drive actuators like latching valves (common in agriculture). Moreover, it has the capability to provide real-time monitoring over the entire process, thereby reducing production-related risks," the Arduino team writes of its latest design. "Remotely control your application through the Arduino Cloud (or third-party services) using a choice of connectivity options suitable to the location. The Arduino Edge Control features built-in Bluetooth and its connectivity can be expanded with 2G/3G/CatM1/NB-IoT modems, LoRa, Sigfox, and Wi-Fi by adding any one of the MKR boards."
Based on a Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 system-on-chip with a 64MHz Arm Cortex-M4F processor core and Bluetooth connectivity, the board includes 1MB of on-board flash and 2MB of additional QSPI flash, six edge-sensitive digital input pins with interrupt wake-ups, eight latching relay command outputs with drivers and an additional eight without drivers, four 4-20mA analog inputs, eight 0-5V analog inputs, and 16 inputs dedicated to hydrostatic watermark sensors. An additional four relays are included, galvanically isolated and supporting 60V/2.5A devices. A microSD slot is provided for storage, and a connector allows for the additional of an LCD panel.
Power is provided through a 12V input, ready for connection to a battery system with solar charging; when paired with a 5Ah battery, Arduino claims the board's low 200uA sleep current gives the system a 34 month operational lifespan between charges. The Arduino Edge Control also includes an Arm CryptoCell CC310 security subsystem, and a security coprocessor with 128-bit AES/ECB/CCM/AAR acceleration. As you might expect from an outdoor-rated device, the system offers a wide operational temperature range from -40 to +85°C (around -40 to 185°F).
Arduino says the board is ideal for smart agriculture projects, and highlights three application examples: Using the board to automatically manage the temperature and humidity in a greenhouse to minimise carbon emissions and boost growth; controlling and monitoring a hydroponic or aquaponic system; and assisting with the cultivation of mushrooms through its watermark sensors and various outputs.