Smart Bee Design's Bee Motion S3 Is a Neat, All-in-One IoT Motion Sensor with STEMMA QT Expansion

Designed for long-term operation on battery power, this compact board packs a tinyML-capable dual-core processor and PIR sensor.

Smart Bee Design is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign for another self-contained motion-sensing development board, this time built around the Espressif ESP32-S3: the Bee Motion S3.

"Bee Motion S3 is a feature rich ESP32-S3 with a built-in PIR [Passive Infrared] motion sensor that makes building your motion detection based projects easy," says company founder Paul price of Smart Bee Design's latest. "This compact board is feature packed with PIR sensor, light sensor, RGB LED, 2 LDOs [Low Drop-Out regulators], LiPo charging circuitry, battery voltage monitoring, and a STEMMA [QT] connector for easily adding Adafruit or SparkFun sensor boards to your project."

The breadboard-friendly Bee Motion S3 is built around Espressif's ESP32-S3 microcontroller, in the form of an ESP32-S3-MINI-1 module with PCB antenna, which features a dual-core Tensilica Xtensa LX7 processor running at up to 240MHz, 512kB of static RAM (SRAM), and a radio with 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 Low Energy (BLE) connectivity.

Below the module is a compact passive infrared sensor, adjustable via an on-board trim potentiometer, along with an ambient light sensor, user-addressable RGB LED, and the STEMMA QT and battery connectors β€” the latter supporting a 1S lithium-polymer battery and taking use of the board's claimed sub-100Β΅A deep-sleep current draw. Software samples are provided for Arduino, MicroPython, and CircuitPython.

This isn't Bee Motion's first board to use the ESP32-S3. Late last month the company launched the Bee S3, which aimed to offer "an ultra-low-powered ESP32 [which is] affordable" and ideal for battery-powered projects. The earlier Bee Motion, meanwhile, opted for a ESP32-C3 chip based on the free and open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture β€” as did its predecessor, the compact Bee Motion Mini.

Smart Bee Design is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the board on Crowd Supply in the near future; schematics and source code are available on the project's GitHub repository under the permissive MIT license.

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