Sipeed MaixCube Brings RISC-V MicroPython to a Compact, Battery-Powered, All-in-One Form Factor

Built around Kendryte's popular K210, the RISC-V MaixCube runs MicroPython but boasts support for the PlatformIO and Arduino IDEs too.

Gareth Halfacree
a year ago β€’ HW101 / Python on Hardware
The Sipeed MaixCube brings MicroPython to an all-in-one RISC-V development board. (πŸ“·: Sipeed)

Sipeed's latest RISC-V development board, the all-in-one MaixCube, is now available to pre-order β€” and includes a dual-core 64-bit CPU, neural coprocessor for computer vision acceleration, a 1.3" TFT display, and full MicroPython support.

Built as part of the MaixPy project, which sought to port MicroPython to Kendryte's K210 system-on-chip (SoC), the MaixCube is designed to pack as much functionality into one compact development unit as possible. At its heart, naturally, is the K210, which features a dual-core 400MHz 64-bit processor based on the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) alongside a neural networking accelerator dubbed the Kendryte Processing Unit (KPU). The SoC also includes 8MB of static RAM (SRAM), an audio processing unit, and a hardware-accelerated fast Fourier transform (FFT) function.

The MaixCube brings to the mix an on-board 1.3" TFT display, two user-addressable RGB LEDs, three buttons, an accelerometer, and 128Mb of flash memory. For those looking to take advantage of the K210's vision and audio capabilities there's a built-in camera and a single electret microphone, plus an audio jack for external speakers. Additional hardware is supported over a Grove-compatible port or an SP-MOD header, there's a microSD slot for additional storage, and a 200mAh lithium-ion battery charged through a USB Type-C connector.

The MaixCube is shipped running the MaixPy firmware, offering an on-board MicroPython environment compatible with the MaixPy integrated development environment (IDE). For those who prefer programming in other languages, the MaixCube also supports third-party IDEs including PlatformIO and the Arduino IDE.

Seeed Studio, which has opened pre-orders for the device, has also confirmed compatibility with 14 Sipeed Module (SP-MOD) extension boards, including an adapter board for a microphone array, a weather station module, pseudo-static RAM (PSRAM) expansion, an additional 1.14" display module, electrophoretic display board, and communications boards including a LoRA module and a Bluetooth module.

Seeed has opened pre-orders for the MaixCube now, priced at $24.90 with an estimated shipping date in early May 2020.

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