Google Opens Pre-Orders for the Coral Dev Board Micro, Its First Microcontroller Development Board

Launching at $79.99, the board TensorFlow Lite Micro (TFLM) and standard TensorFlow Lite compatible — and includes Arduino IDE support.

Google has officially opened pre-orders for its Coral Dev Board Micro, a compact development board designed to get users started with low-power on-device machine learning projects courtesy of an embedded Coral Edge Tensor Processing Unit (TPU).

Google unveiled the Coral Dev Board Micro back in January 2022, as a low-cost entry point to the edge AI Coral ecosystem which had launched three years prior. At the time, though, the company wasn't ready to share pricing or availability — and "coming soon" was as much as it would promise. The device is designed to sit a step down from the Dev Board Mini, positioned as the cheapest Coral-equipped single-board computer (SBC), as the company's first microcontroller entry in the range.

The Coral Dev Board Micro is based around the NXP i.MX RT1176 system-on-chip, one of the company's "crossover microcontroller units," giving it a single Arm Cortex-M7 core running at 1GHz and a Cortex-M4 core running at 400MHz. Alongside this, the Dev Board Micro includes 64MB of RAM, 128MB of flash storage, and Google's Coral Edge TPU — a machine-learning coprocessor offering 4 trillion operations per second (TOPS) at INT8 precision at a claimed 2 TOPS per watt.

Elsewhere on the board is a low-resolution 324×324 Himax color camera sensor, a PDM mono microphone, and a pair of breadboard-friendly 12-bin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) headers. Two 100-pin high-density board-to-board connectors offer expansion, with Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and Ethernet/PoE boards already confirmed, while there's a USB Type-C connector for data and power.

A key selling point of the Coral Dev Board Micro is its support for both TensorFlow Lite Micro (TFLM), which runs on the i.MX RT1176 microcontroller's low-power Cortex-M4 core, and standard TensorFlow Lite (TFLite), which runs on the microcontroller's higher-performance Cortex-M7 core or the Coral Edge TPU coprocessor.

"We built a new platform for the Dev Board Micro based on FreeRTOS and included compatibility with the Arduino programming language," explains Google's Scott Main of the software support side of the equation. "So you can build a C++ app with CMake and flash it to the board with our command line tools, or you can write and upload an Arduino sketch with the Arduino IDE.

"If you choose to code with FreeRTOS, coralmicro includes all the core FreeRTOS APIs you need to build multi-tasking apps on the MCU, plus custom coralmicro APIs for interacting with GPIOs, capturing photos, listening to audio, performing multi-core processing, and much more."

The Coral Dev Board Micro is now available to pre-order on the Coral store for $79.99, $20 cheaper than the Coral Dev Board Mini; coralmicro has been released on GitHub under the permissive Apache 2.0 license.

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