Next on the dev kit tour: Nordic Semi’s Thingy

July 7, 2017 Rich Nass, Embedded Computing Brand Director

I seem to be on the development kit tour this summer. I just got done with the Z-Wave dev kit from Sigma Designs and they set the bar pretty high. I did have an issue, but it was mostly due to my own insufficient programming skills. With a little tech support, and a lot of, “oh yeah, that’s the command,” I managed to turn my table lamp on and off with my laptop.

Next up on the tour was the Nordic Semiconductor Thingy board. It’s clear they didn’t consult me when they were coming up with the name. That said, this may be the easiest kit I’ve ever messed around with. The Nordic folks pretty much did all the work for me, and it even put me well down the path toward a product that I’m actually trying to develop. Alas, the Thingy does not offer WiFi support, so I’m going to have to make yet another stop in the near future to get my prototype completed.

Officially dubbed the Thingy:52, the board is a compact (roughly 6 by 6 cm), power-optimized, multi-sensor development kit, aimed at prototypes and demos of IoT projects. Nordic already constructed the app (for iOS and Android), so there’s not a lot left to do to demonstrate the application. Functionality can be configured over-the-air via Bluetooth.

The Thingy is built around Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth 5 SoC for an easy connection to any Bluetooth-enabled device. Data can be sent form the board’s sensors and actuators to the app and also to the cloud. The on-board sensors include temperature, humidity, pressure, and light, and there’s a nine-axis accelerometer/gyroscope/compass. An on-board speaker can play pre-stored samples and tones or sound can be streamed over Bluetooth.

My next step is to customize the app so it serves my need specifically. I may be back to tech support for that one, but we’ll see what happens.

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