Arduino Updates the MKR IoT Carrier Board, Adds New VOC Gas Sensor, TinyML IMU, and More

Component changes mean a new VOC-capable gas sensor and "machine learning" IMU become part of the carrier board's feature list.

Arduino has announced a new revision of its circular MKR IoT Carrier Board, swapping out a few of the sensors while adjusting the layout based on user feedback — and it can now measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, too.

"The new carrier can work with any board from the MKR family," the Arduino team notes, "giving you a wide choice of connectivity options to match the needs of your next IoT project. The MKR IoT Carrier Rev2 doesn’t require any additional components to get started, and you can create impressive and complete hassle-free projects this way."

The Arduino MKR IoT Carrier Board originally launched in September 2020 as an exclusive component in the Explore IoT Kit and Oplà IoT Kit bundles. In February 2021 Arduino made it available as a separate component, for those who already have an MKR-compatible microcontroller board — and it has now launched an updated variant with a few key changes.

The main changes center around the board's integrated sensors: Separate humidity and barometric pressure sensors have been replaced with a Bosch Sensortec BME688, a combination temperature, pressure, humidity, and gas sensor capable of reporting on volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations. The STMicroelectronics LSM6DS3 inertial measurement unit (IMU), meanwhile, has been swapped out for the LSM6DSOX — a higher-end part, which includes a "machine learning core" for on-sensor smart interrupts.

Other changes are relatively minor: some components have been shifted, including the light sensor and the connectors for the board's two 24V relays, and some pin assignments have also been adjusted — changes that, the Arduino team notes, will be invisible to the user providing the official MKR IoT Carrier Library has been updated and is used in a project's sketch. One final change: the addition of a physical reset button.

Otherwise, the carrier board retains its original features: five capacitive touch buttons and matching RGB LEDs, a piezoelectric buzzer, a circular color OLED display, RGBC light, proximity sensing with gesture recognition, and microSD slot for storage — plus a holder for an optional 18650 battery, not supplied.

The new board is now available on the Arduino store at $63.60 — a $6 premium over the original revision.

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