Exo Sense edge system using the Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU

Exo Sense edge system using the Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU

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By Andre Rousselot

Sfera Labs in Italy has developed a smaller, multi-sensor version of its Exo Sense edge system by using the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller (MCU).

The wall mounted Exo Sense RP module measures 80mm x 80mm and is aimed at space-constrained, indoor environments. As standard the Exo Sense RP integrates temperature, humidity, air quality (VOC), light and motion sensors, a microphone for noise detection and advanced audio processing. 

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The RP2040 is a dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ processor, clocked at up to 133MHz, with 264kB of internal RAM and 16MB of on-board Flash. Having a standard Raspberry Pi RP2040 as its processing unit, the Exo Sense RP can be programmed in C/C++ and MicroPython and is supported by several IDEs, including Visual Studio Code and the Arduino IDE.

A Sensirion SHT40 provides temperature and humidity measurement while the Sensirion SGP40 handles air quality (VOC). A Texas Instruments OPT3001 digital ambient light sensor (ALS) includes high-precision human-eye response alongside a Panasonic EKMC PIR motion sensor. A TDK ICS-43432 digital I²S interface microphone is used for audio recording and environment noise detection. There is also an optional earthquake sensor module

The module incorporates general purpose I/Os (GPIOs) to monitor external signals and control actuators while an RS-485 and other digital interfaces can be used for system integration and communication with other devices, such as Wiegand keypads and card readers. Alerts and status signals can be implemented via an embedded LED indicator and piezoelectric buzzer.

Two digital inputs provide potential-free contacts or TTL level input/output with 1-Wire, I²C and Wiegand compatibility while one open collector output with a maximum output current of 100mA protects against over-current and short circuits. There is also a standard RS-485 interface to the RP2040 UART serial pins, with electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection. A Microchip ATECC608 secure element chip provide security and there is a hidden microSD slot for local data storage.

The RP is suitable for a wide variety of residential and commercial implementations including home/building automation, environmental monitoring, people counting, room management, alarm reporting and access control and is fully CE and FCC compliant.

A series of RP modules can be deployed as complementary satellite units for complex Exo Sense networks in the Internet of Things (IoT)

All coding resources, tools, examples and the vast community support available for the RP2040, as well as the open-source libraries and applications developed by Sfera Labs specifically for Exo Sense RP, can be used to develop professional solutions. It can also supplied with custom branding options to support OEM requirements.

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Using the RP2040 MCU directly allows for the smaller form factor and avoids some of the problems with sourcing the compute modules and Raspberry Pi board as a result of high demand.

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