Kit hosts sensor-to-cloud, end-end IoT package

November 01, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
The Thunderboard Sense Kit is intended to “inspire IoT developers to connect everything” - the kit simplifies development of cloud-connected devices with multiple sensing and connectivity options and with no RF expertise required.

The sensor-to-cloud development kit provides all the hardware and software developers need to create battery-powered wireless sensor nodes. Silicon Labs’Thunderboard Sense “inspiration kit” includes six onboard sensors, a Wireless Gecko SoC for multiprotocol cloud connectivity, 8 MB of external flash for over-the-air updates and a built-in Segger J-Link to simplify programming and debugging. Thunderboard Sense comes with Silicon Labs’ ready-to-use cloud-connected IoT mobile apps, to collect and view real-time sensor data for cloud-based analytics and business intelligence. Onboard sensors measure data, such as motion, light and environmental conditions, and then transmit this data wirelessly to the cloud. An intuitive Android or iOS mobile app displays the data on the developer’s mobile device for data aggregation and cloud analytics.

The 30 mm x 45 mm board includes the following components:

  • Silicon Labs EFR32 Mighty Gecko multiprotocol wireless SoC with a 2.4 GHz chip antenna, with an ARM Cortex-M4 core plus support for Bluetooth low energy, ZigBee, Thread and proprietary protocols;
  • Silicon Labs EFM8 Sleepy Bee microcontroller enabling fine-grained power control;
  • Silicon Labs Si7021 relative humidity and temperature sensor;
  • Silicon Labs Si1133 UV index and ambient light sensor;
  • Bosch Sensortec BMP280 barometric pressure sensor;
  • Cambridge CCS811 indoor air quality gas sensor;
  • InvenSense ICM-20648 6-axis inertial sensor;
  • Knowles SPV1840 MEMS microphone;
  • Four high-brightness RGB LEDs;
  • Onboard Segger J-Link debugger for easy programming and debugging;
  • USB Micro-B connector with virtual COM port and debug access;
  • Mini Simplicity connector for access to energy profiling and wireless network debugging;
  • 20 breakout pins for easy connection to external breadboard hardware;
  • CR2032 coin cell battery connector and external battery connector.

The energy-friendly components on the Thunderboard Sense board enable developers to create wireless sensor nodes powered by small coin-cell batteries. Silicon Labs has optimized the provided firmware and mobile app to limit power consumption. Onboard sensors and LEDs can be turned on and off by the application as needed.