Nordic Semiconductor's Arduino Primo is an IoT-targeted programmable single board computer that promises to deliver cost savings as well as reduction in design complexity.
Nordic Semiconductor has revealed that Arduino has specified the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 Bluetooth low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) SoC at the core of its latest product. The company describes 'Arduino Primo' as an IoT-targeted programmable single board computer (or 'base board') that promises to deliver cost and savings as well as to reduce complexity in designs.
The Arduino Primo base board features native Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity and also includes Near Field Communication (NFC), WiFi and infrared (IR) technologies. Previously users were required to add shields—plug-in daughter boards offering additional functionality—to the base board to upgrade to Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity.
In addition to being able to wirelessly connect to a wide array of Bluetooth low energy sensors, the Arduino Primo can act as a fully-functional TCP/IP Internet client and server over WiFi; uses the Nordic nRF52832 SoC's integrated NFC for secure authentication and 'Touch-to-Pair' (a simple Bluetooth low energy pairing function requiring no user interaction), and has embedded IR for traditional remote control.
Figure 1: Nordic Semiconductor's Arduino Primo is an IoT-targeted programmable single board computer that promises to deliver cost savings as well as reduction in design complexity.
The Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 features a 64MHz, 32bit ARM Cortex-M4F processor that delivers up to 60% more generic processing power compared to competing solutions, while offering ten times the Floating Point and twice the digital signal processing (DSP) performance. The nRF52832's 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio is also fully compatible with the Bluetooth 4.2 specification and features -96dB RX sensitivity and 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents. The nRF52832 also features 512Kbyte Flash memory and 64Kbyte RAM, plus a fully-automatic power management system to optimise power consumption.
In addition to controlling the Bluetooth low energy RF protocol software (stack) and application code, the Nordic nRF52832 SoC's ARM processor has ample computational overhead to supervise and control the Arduino Primo's on-board accelerometer, temperature, humidity and pressure sensors, detailed the company. For all but the most advanced projects, programming will be done via the established Arduino integrated development environment (IDE) programming interface that Arduino says is designed to make electronics design easy for everyone regardless of experience, technical knowledge and age.
Professional developers and makers who want to access the most advanced features and functionality the Arduino Primo has to offer will also be able to use any Nordic nRF52 series-compatible SDK or programming tools. For example, the nRF5 SDK for IoT allows more experienced users to develop IPv6 over Bluetooth low energy applications on the nRF52832 SoC, enabling the Arduino Primo to communicate with other Internet-connected 'things' without requiring the resources of a complex and expensive gateway such as a WiFi router or smartphone.