A couple months ago Microsoft announced the availability of the new Azure IoT Developer Kit Board. This is a board that has integrated sensors, buttons, OLED screen and a few other features. This board makes it even easier to get started developing Azure IoT based solutions without the need to solder, connect wires, or even really have any low level electronics knowledge. Recently, Microsoft started shipping out the first set of Azure IoT Developer Kit Preview version boards for application requests that were submitted over the last couple months. While it’s been stated there’s limited quantity, it’s unclear how many of these Preview version boards will be made available.
Let’s take a brief look at the main capabilities of this amazing little board that is about the size of a credit card!
Azure IoT Dev Kit Board Hardware Feature Overview
The Microsoft Azure IoT Developer Kit Preview version board is built around the STM32F412 ARM Cortex M4F CPU with 256K SRAM and 1M+2M Byte SPI Flash. The version of the Cortex-M4 uses is built with an integrated FPU (Floating Point Unit) and the chip runs at 100 Mhz which enables it to achieve low power consumption while providing some really great capabilities!
Here’s an overview of all the main features on this really awesome board made by MXChip:
- Integrated Wifi 802.11 b/g/n via Cypress BCM43362 Wifi module
- Embedded Security Encryption chip
- 128×64 OLED display
- DAP Link emulator
- 2 buttons
- 1 RGB light
- 3 working status indicators
- Infrared emitter
- Motion sensor
- Magnetometer sensor
- Atmospheric pressure sensor
- Temperature and Humidity sensor
- Codec with microphone and earphone socket
- Connecting finger extension interfac
- 3.3V DC-DC, max 1.5A
As you can see there are a whole bunch of really neat sensors and things built directly on the board. This makes the Microsoft Azure IoT Developer Kit board an awesome little development and prototyping board. You can easily write code to access all the sensors and receive inputs from the buttons, as well as light up the LED’s and display information using the OLED display. Unlike with the Raspberry Pi or Arduino, the Azure IoT Developer Kit does NOT require any electronics knowledge or soldering!
This board makes it even easier to get started developing Azure IoT based solutions without the need to solder, connect wires, or even really have any low level electronics knowledge.
Azure IoT DevKit Software Features
No awesome hardware is complete without amazing software. The Microsoft Azure IoT Developer Kit is programmed using the Arduino extension for Visual Studio Code (VS Code). It is fully Arduino compatible, and comes with full support to use the amazing VS Code editor. With VS Code, you get all the great features of Visual Studio Code like Intellisense, project scaffolding and debugging support all built in!
If you want to get started coding the Azure IoT Developer Kit board or just want to take a look and learn what developing for the board is like, then go check out the official Azure IoT Developer Kit support website! There you will find some really great “Getting Started” tutorials.
I also encourage you to subscribe to Build Azure to receive updates as I will be blogging more about my own experiences with this amazing Azure IoT Development Kit board!
How do I get one!?
It may be a little tricky at the moment if you want to get your hands on one of these Microsoft Azure IoT Development Kit boards. At least at the time of writing this article, as the board is currently in an early preview. In order to get one now, you must fill out an application and request one. If accepted, then Microsoft will send you a board for Free.
As far as being able to purchase an Azure IoT Development Kit, that is too early to tell. Microsoft has not released any information about when these boards will be made available for purchase. It’s also unclear if they will change the types and number of integrated sensors and buttons not the board before the “final” release and General Availability. Although, I would assume that the device won’t change much as it’ll likely get more stable firmware and other improvements by then.
With all of this stated, I’ll pontificate a little and we’ll all see if I’m correct. With the board in Preview currently, and the Microsoft Ignite conference coming up in about 2 month, I’m assuming sometime between now and then (if not possibly at Ignite) this Dev Kit will be made Generally Available for order. Although, this is purely a guess as I have absolutely no official information from Microsoft on when the Azure IoT Development Kit with reach General Availability.
Good luck if you’re able to get your hands on a Preview version of the Azure IoT Development Kit. If not, please subscribe to Build Azure and watch out for future posts on developing with this board until you’re able to purchase your own.
I am one of the lucky ones who already have the kit. A couple of comments:
First, follow the docs closely. I found that if you do not install the correct version of Arduino you will get compile errors when VS Code tries to load the examples to the chip. Second, there are instructions for putting the chip into “configure mode” that are not real clear. You need to hold down button A, press and release the “reset” button, and the KEEP button A down until you see “Configuring” displayed on the display of the chip.
HTH … bill