Get a Clue About the World with Adafruit's New Board, the Clue

The Clue packs a bunch of sensors into a micro:bit-compatible form factor.

James Lewis
4 years ago β€’ Sensors / Python on Hardware
The Clue features the same shape and size as the BBC micro:bit. (πŸ“·: Adafruit)

Electronics need sensors to gain clues about the physical world. Adafruit is developing a new board called Clue, which comes with (almost) every sensor type you might want to use. In addition to being an all-in-one sensing platform, the Clue's form factor, size, and pin-compatibility make it a spiritual successor to the BBC micro:bit.

When designing the Clue, Adafruit needed a board larger than their Feather form factor but not as big as their Metro boards to fit all of the sensors. Instead of developing a new board size, they adopted the micro:bit's shape, size, and pin-out. This choice means the Clue is compatible with existing micro:bit cases and accessories, while adding new capabilities.

The Clue's nRF52840 Cortex-M4 is a significant upgrade compared to the micro:bit's M0-based processor. The M4 is the same BLE-enabled processor used on other Adafruit boards, like the Circuit Playground, so you can expect Arduino IDE compatibility and extensive CircuitPython support. Adafruit also hopes to add support for Microsoft's MakeCode, though no ETA at this time.

On-board there is a 1.3" 240x240 display, two buttons, and an array of sensors. Sensing capabilities include an STMicro series 9-DoF motion sensor, light level (lux), color, microphone, humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure. If those sensors are not enough, there is a Qwiic / STEMMA QT connector that extends the Clue's capabilities. (We hope Tom Anderson's sensor scope code will support the Clue!)

Adafruit has not released details like cost and availability yet. During the preview of the board, Lady Ada mentioned there are a couple of revisions that need to be made before going to production. As you can imagine, we at Hackster News are eagerly awaiting its introduction.

For now, check out this Adafruit blog post on the Clue. It contains some summary information and a clip from their Ask An Engineer show introducing the new board.

UPDATE: Adafruit has announced the alpha release of the Clue, which is now available with an introductory price tag of $29.95 ($39.95 for final version).

James Lewis
Electronics enthusiast, Bald Engineer, and freelance content creator. AddOhms on YouTube. KN6FGY.
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