New IoT prototyping Board Supporting Low Energy and NB-IoT

Manas Upadhyay

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  • Super simple cellular IoT prototyping with cloud connectivity promised by off-the-shelf Nordic nRF9160 SiP-based dev kit and firmware with Adafruit compatibility.
Icarus board
Icarus board

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Dutch IoT R&D startup, Actinius, is now shipping a “plug & play” development board and firmware with Adafruit FeatherWing compatibility. The Icarus board developed by the company Actiniums is claimed to be the easiest and cost-effective IoT prototyping board available in the market.

The Icarus is a cost-effective board combining the latest technological features in the market. Equipped with the newest nRF91 modem engineered by Nordic Semiconductor, this low power device, integrates the use of GPS and Cellular data (LTE-M / NB-IoT), to get your project online, anywhere, anytime. with the help of Icarus it is now easy to control, monitor and keep track of any object you want to monitor in realtime environment.

Icarus Board
Icarus Board

Some of the specification for the device as follows –

  • The dimensions of the device are 50.8mm x 22.8mm.
  • The cost of the board is around 100 dollars.
  • Main Processor System in Package (SIP) is Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 which offers features like Low power GPS and multi-mode LTE-M support for cellular connections.
  • The primary processor is a 64MHz Arm®Cortex™-M33 processor supported by 1MB of Flash and 256KB of RAM.
  • It supports both Nano Sim and e-sim technologies for implementations like NB-IoT which uses cellular data networks for establishing data connections.
  • In terms of Security, the processor is secured with state-of-the-art ARM Trustzone®and ARM Cryptocell 310 security which is best in class cryptographic security systems regulated by ARM processors.
  • It supports Over the air (OTA) updates which are very helpful while you are deploying a large number of nodes and you don’t have access to all of the nodes for hardwired programming.
  • It is compatible with Adafruit FeatherWing versions of modules which makes it easier to integrate with numerous sensors without the use of the breadboard.
  • It has a  dedicated port for solar panel connections to power the device directly through solar panels for low energy applications.
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As a part of battery consumption, this device comes in front of any other hardware being working in the same characteristic domain. The board is based on Low Energy devices means it can on efficient batteries for years without changing or charging the batteries. The earlier models for nRF such as nRF52832 and nRF52840 already proved them to be one of the best solutions for long term deployment as well as mesh creating capabilities.

nRF9160 also works on deep sleep modes meaning the main processor can go on standby mode whereas the concurrent sensor will remain active. In that case, any interrupt produced on the sensor side will lead to the wakening of the main processor.

On Deep Sleep configuration, the current consumption goes as low as 15 microamperes which hence tends the device to work for years on single battery cells. Hence it is an efficient way of making devices for real-time data monitoring or cloud-based solutions.

Currently, Actinius is targeting bigger markets in the domains seeking to work on the fields like asset tracking and environment data sensing. On the similar fields, ESP wroom32 is an already deployed solution in the market but Icarus seems to be a better solution in terms of rapid IoT prototyping.


 

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