Cytron's Maker Feather AIoT S3 Aims to Drive TinyML Edge Artificial Intelligence Projects

With a Feather-compatible pinout, this compact development board includes vector extensions for a machine learning performance boost.

Embedded electronics specialist Cytron has launched a feature form factor microcontroller board built around the Espressif ESP32-S3: the Maker Feather AIoT S3, which the company claims is suitable for tinyML edge projects as well as wireless Internet of Things (IoT) use.

"Looking for an ESP32 board to build an IoT project? Or you wish to build an AI project and searching for a suitable board," Cytron asks, rhetorically, by way of introducing its latest design. "Introducing Maker Feather AIoT S3, a board that powered by the ESP32-S3 WROOM 1 N8R8 module with Adafruit Feather form factor. Now you can control your application wirelessly just with Maker Feather AIoT S3!"

The heart of the board, brought to our attention by CNX Software, is the Espressif ESP32-S3, which features two Tensilica Xtensa LX7 cores running at up to 240MHz and boasting vector extensions β€” providing acceleration for machine learning applications, hence Cytron's positioning of the board for edge-AI work. There's 512kB of static RAM (SRAM) and 384kB of flash storage, expanded by off-chip 8MB PSRAM and 8MB flash modules, and Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 5 Low Energy (BLE) connectivity with Bluetooth Mesh support.

The general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins along either side of the board conform to the Adafruit Feather pinout, making the device compatible with FeatherWing add-on boards, while three "Maker Ports" offer solder-free connectivity to Qwiic or STEMMA QT peripherals β€” with Grove compatibility available using a passive adapter cable.

In a handy twist, two of the ports can be powered on and off at-will to save energy when peripheral hardware is not required. There's a USB Type-C connector for data and power, with a lithium-polymer battery charging circuit, a user-definable button and RGB LED, and a piezoelectric buzzer β€” plus 11 status indicator LEDs, one for each of the standard GPIO pins.

On the software side, Cytron promises compatibility with the Arduino IDE, both MicroPython and CircuitPython, and the Espressif ESP-IDF. The board is now available to purchase on the Cytron website at $19.95, or $21.20 with pre-soldered headers.

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