DFRobot's FireBeetle 2 Packs an ESP32-S3 to Drive Your Next Artificial Internet of Things Project

Programmable in the Arduino IDE, ESP-IDF, or MicroPython, the new FireBeetle 2 comes complete with a compact camera module.

DFRobot has announced the launch of the next-generation FireBeetle 2 development board, targeting the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) with an on-board camera, Espressif ESP32-S3 module, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

"[The] FireBeetle 2 ESP32-S3 is a high-performance main controller built around the ESP32-S3-WROOM-1-N16R8 module," DFRobot explains of its creation, brought to our attention by Linux Gizmos. "[The] ESP32-S3-WROOM-1-N16R8 comes with 16MB flash and 8MB PSRAM [pseudo-static RAM] for storing more data. The acceleration for neural network computing and signal processing workloads provided by the ESP32-S3 chip makes the module an ideal choice for a wide variety of applications, such as speech recognition, image recognition, and so on."

As DFRobot says, the Espressif ESP32-S3 at the heart of the device β€” announced by the company at the tail end of 2020 β€” is designed for low-power tinyML and edge AI work. Its two Tensilica Xtensa LX7 CPU cores, running at up to 240MHz, include vector processing extensions designed specifically for accelerating machine learning and artificial intelligence workloads β€” and the 16MB of flash and 8MB of PSRAM come in addition to 512kB of on-chip SRAM and 384kB of flash.

As well as the module, with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 Low Energy (BLE) connectivity, DFRobot's development board includes an on-board camera interface with dedicated power supply circuit. The board comes complete with an Omnivision OV2640 two-megapixel camera sensor, offering a 68 degree field of vision (FOV), while TFT displays can be added using a GDI connector.

The company has announced two variants of the development board, which differ in only one way: the standard version, dubbed the FireBeetle 2 ESP32-S3, uses a PCB antenna for its wireless connectivity; the second variant, the FireBeetle 2 ESP32-S3-U, offers a connection for an external antenna instead. Both are programmable from the Arduino IDE, MicroPython, and ESP-IDF.

Both models are now available to order on the DFRobot store at $19.90 for the FireBeetle 2 ESP32-S3 or $20.90 for the ESP32-S3-U variant, both before volume discounts. Both include the board, camera, and bundled but not soldered 2.54mm pin headers. The company has also published a sample project: a camera-based plant growth monitor.

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