Bulgarian open hardware specialist Olimex has launched a new microcontroller board built around the Espressif ESP32-S2 — and claims it's the first to market with full device and host USB operation modes.
"ESP32-S2 is [a] new SOC from Espressif," Olimex writes. "Compared to ESP32 it has no Bluetooth and Ethernet connectivity but offers plenty of GPIOs and has native USB-OTG interface."
"Our first version [used a] USB to Serial converter as Espressif IDE at that time didn’t support programming via the native USB interface, but now their SDK supports USB programming, so we released [this] new version without the not necessary USB-Serial converter."
The board's biggest selling point, bar being open hardware and boasting low-power operation down to 20uA, is its support for USB On The Go (OTG) Operation. "To the best of our knowledge," Olimex explains, "this is the first board to the market where USB-OTG is implemented and the board can work both in device and host mode (at least as hardware.)"
Olimex has designed to variants of the board, differing only in the choice of module. The base variant uses a WROOM module, and offers the headline 20uA deep-sleep mode; for bigger projects, the WROVER variant switches the module out for one with 2MB of pseudo-static RAM (PSRAM) and 4MB of flash — but bumps the deep-sleep draw to 65uA as a result.
Both boards are now available on the Olimex web shop, priced at €6.95 and €7.95 (around $8.40 and $9.60 respectively). The design files, meanwhile, are up on GitHub with the hardware covered under the CERN Open Hardware License v1.2, the software under the GNU General Public Licence 3.0, and the documentation under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.