IoT device development kits

Fifteen years ago, it wasn’t easy to find low-cost microcontroller boards. Nowadays, that’s almost the opposite: every month, several new boards appear. Some of them, providing wireless connectivity, are tagged as IoT boards, and can be used for the design of your next IoT device.

In this article, I maintain a list of various such low cost IoT boards, that I read or hear about. According to the above paragraph, this article is not exhaustive, and will never be.

  • Thingy:52, from Nordic Semiconductor: built around the nRF52832 Bluetooth 5 SoC – Environment Sensors (temp, humidity, pressure, air quality color and light) – 9-axis motion sensing (accelerometer, gyroscope and compass) – Speaker for playing pre-stored samples, tones or sound streamed over Bluetooth low energy (8-bit 8kHz LoFi) – 39 € at Mouser (Jun-2017)
  • MAX32625MBED, from Maxim: Cortex-M4 microcontroller with FPU, Arduino-compatible connectors, mbed support – US$ 50.00 (May-2017)
  • ESP-WROVER-KIT from Espressif Systems: based on ESP32 – Micro SD card interface, VGA camera interface, 3.2” SPI LCD panel and I/O expansion capabilities – 44.00 € at Olimex (Jan-2017)
  • MAX32630-EVKIT, from Maxim: development kit for fitness monitors, portable medical devices, sensor hubs, sports watches, wearable medical patches – Cortex-M4F with FPU, hardware AES engine, BLE, prototyping matrix – US$ 150 (Dec-2016)
  • STEVAL-STLKT01V1, from ST: development kit for the SensorTile (STM32 microcontroller, BLE, inertial sensors, barometric pressure sensor) – US$ 80.85 (Dec-2016)
  • MAXREFDES100# health sensor platform (hSensor), from Maxim: ARM Cortex-M4F, biopotential analog front-end, human body temperature sensor, pulse oximeter and heart-rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, 3D accelerometer and 3D gyroscope, absolute barometric pressure sensor, BLE – US$ 150 (Nov-2016)
  • CHIP Pro, from Next Thing: ARMv7-A core, 256MB RAM, 512 MB Flash, I2S audio, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.2, open source – available in Dec-2016, for US$ 16
  • Simplicity Studio from Silicon Labs: a software tool set to develop connected device applications. Based on Eclipse 4.5, supports wireless Gecko SoCs, Bluetooth modules, etc. Among other starter kits, Blue Gecko Bluetooth Smart Module Wireless Starter Kit is at US$ 99 (Oct-2016)
  • ESP8285 Development Board, from Pesky Products, available on Tindie for 18 € (Sep-2016) – Based on the ESP8285, an ESP8266 with 1 Mbyte embedded SPI flash memory – Arduino compatible
  • ST’s STM32 Nucleo pack for LoRa technology – Cortex-M0+, 192 Kbytes of Flash memory, 20 Kbytes of RAM, 6 Kbytes of EEPROM, LCD, crystal-less USB, T-RNG, PCROP – class A LoRaWAN node – US$ 39.20 (Feb-2017)
  • Snootlab’s Akeru beta 3.3 – Sigfox – Arduino compatible – 90 € (Sep-2016)
  • Particle’s Electron (cellular) and Photon (Wi-Fi), with associated cloud platform –  starting from US$ 49 (2G) and US$ 19 (Wi-Fi) (Aug-2016)
  • Onion’s Omega2, a Linux (micro)microcomputer, with Wi-Fi, 64 MB RAM, 16 MB Flash, USB, GPIO, UART, etc. Starting from US$ 5 – a Kickstarter project.
  • element14’s WaRP7, a development platform for (powerful) IoT and wearable devices – Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4, 8 GB flash, 4 GB RAM, WiFi, Bluetooth, BLE, USB-OTG, NFC, MIPI Camera, MIPI Display, Audio, Accelerometer-Magnetometer, Barometer, Gyroscope, Linux 3.14 – 85 € (Aug-2016)
  • ST’s BlueCoin – low-power 9-axis inertial and environmental sensors and a cluster of 4 digital MEMS microphones, STM32F4 microprocessor (Cortex-M4)
  • Intelligent Building – IoT Starter Kit  (Enterprise Edition) – EnOcean energy harvesting wireless technology switches and sensors, gateway using Raspberry Pi, integration with the IBM Watson IoT Platform and TRIRIGA / Presence Insights – 499 € (Jul-2016)
  • XDK, a prototyping platform from Bosch – ARM Cortex M3 core, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, various sensors – execution environment based on FreeRTOS – 170 € (Jul-2016)
  • MATRIX Creator: to prototype and build hardware applications on a Raspberry Pi – ARM Cortex M3 core, FPGA (Spartan 6), many sensors, ZigBee, Z-Wave, NFC, IR, ADC, GPIO, SPI, I2C, UART, etc. – dedicated OS, computer vision libraries – US$ 99 (Jul-2016)
  • Mangoh Green starter kit, from Sierra Wireless – programmable cellular module with GNSS receiver (GPS, Glonass, Galileo) – Legato application framework – UART, GPIO, I2C, ADC, audio – US$ 239 (Jul-2016)
  • RuuviTag, from Ruuvi – based on nRF52832 (Cortex-M4F) – accelerometer, temperature + humidity + pressure sensor, etc.
  • LAUNCHXL-CC2650: TI development kit – Cortex-M3, Bluetooth Smart / IEEE 802.15.4 / 6LoWPAN, 128-bit AES hardware encryption, 31 GPIO, etc. – US$ 29 (Jul-2016)
  • Thunderboard Sense Inspiration Kit, from Silicon Labs – ARM Cortex M4 core with 32 kB RAM and 256 kB Flash, Multi-protocol radio, Relative Humidity and Temperature Sensor, UV and Ambient Light Sensor, Pressure Sensor, Indoor Air Quality and Gas Sensor, 6-axis Inertial Sensor, MEMS Microphone, High brightness LEDs – US$ 36 (Dec-2016)
  • Thunderboard React Kit, from Silicon Labs – Cortex-M4, UV index and ambient light, humidity and temperature, accelerometer, Bluetooth 4.2, etc.  – US$ 29 (Jul-2016)
  • Thunderboard Wear, from Silicon Labs – Cortex-M3, SPI, I2C, ADC, DAC, PWM, UART, light and proximity, heart-rate monitoring, accel/gyro/magnetometer, Bluetooth, microSD, etc. – based on ARM mbed Wearable reference design – 71 € (pre-order, Jul-2016)
  • the airboard – ATmega328P – Bee socket – US$30 (Jun-2016) – Bluetooth or Wi-Fi shield required, to program it – GPRSbee: US$35 (Jun-2016)
  • ARM mbed IoT Starter Kit – Ethernet Edition for IBM Internet of Things Foundation – 98.75 € (Jun-2016)
  • Hexiwear, a low-power IoT development kit with sensors and display – starting at $US 49.00 (May-2017)
  • Arrow SmartEverything IoT board – Cortex M0+ – Sigfox, Bluetooth, NFC – GPS, various sensors – £78 (Nov-2015)