Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT


Multi-protocol IoT prototyping platform

30 May 2022 Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

The Nordic Thingy:53 is an easy-to-use IoT prototyping platform used to create prototypes and proofs-of-concept without building custom hardware. The Thingy:53 is built around the wireless nRF5340 SoC and together with the processing power and memory size of its dual Arm Cortex-M33 processors is able to run embedded machine learning (ML) models directly on the device.

Together with the dual-core SoC, the Thingy:53 also combines the nPM1100 power management IC (PMIC), the nRF21540 front-end module, and a power amplifier/low noise amplifier (PA/LNA) range extender. The platform is equipped with a rechargeable 1350 mAh Li-poly battery and multiple motion and environmental sensors. It supports Bluetooth LE, Thread, Matter, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, NFC and Bluetooth mesh RF protocols.

The nRF5340 SoC features a dedicated application processor and a network processor. The Arm Cortex-M33 application processor is clocked at 128 MHz to ensure the platform can handle advanced algorithms and the complex computational tasks associated with the embedded ML, which may be utilised using preinstalled ML firmware. 1 MB flash and 512 kB RAM ensure enough memory for complex calculations. The network processor is designed for power-efficient operation and features its own computational resources, ensuring robust wireless connectivity without compromising application execution.

The nRF Edge Impulse app enables users to connect their Nordic Thingy:53 to their Edge Impulse studio account through a mobile device. It allows them to wirelessly transfer sensor data over Bluetooth LE to the mobile device and upload it to the cloud for training and download trained ML models to the Thingy:53 for deployment. The app also acts as the GUI for viewing inferencing results from a running ML model.

The Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) radio allows updating firmware and communication over Bluetooth LE, and the radio also supports other protocols like Bluetooth mesh, Thread, Zigbee, and proprietary 2.4 GHz protocols. The Thread protocol compatibility also makes it a great choice when developing products for the new Matter ecosystem which is a standardized application layer for connected home applications, using the Internet Protocol (IP) as the network layer.

The platform includes a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU), a low-power accelerometer and a magnetometer. The environmental sensors include temperature, humidity, air quality and pressure. Colour and light sensors are built-in as are a buzzer and a microphone. A Qwiic, Stemma and Grove-compatible 4-pin JST connector allows connection to various third-party sensors and a USB-C port is provided for both charging and data transfer.

Nordic will hold a webinar on 6 July to demonstrate the key features of the Thingy:53 platform.


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