[Updated: May 21] — Arduino Srl and ST unveiled a graphically-rich Arduino STAR Otto SBC based on the 32-bit STM32F469 MCU, and featuring WiFi, MIPI-DSI, audio, and cam links.
At the Bay Area Maker Faire this week, Arduino Srl and STMicroelectronics (ST) announced a jointly developed, high-end Arduino board. Only a few months ago we would be raving about the Arduino STAR Otto’s WiFi connection, enabled here via an ESP8266 WiFi Module, but this has recently become almost a given on the latest Arduino boards. The STAR Otto does break new ground, however, in Arduino graphics and multimedia capability.
Arduino STAR Otto front and back views
(click images to enlarge)
The Arduino STAR (ST and Arduino) Otto was presented as part of an “agreement” with the Arduino community, although the collaboration is only with one of two feuding Arduino camps: Arduino Srl. ST already offers Arduino IDE and shield support on its STM32-based ST Nucleo boards, but without an official stamp of compatibility approval.
Arduino STAR Otto angled view
(click image to enlarge)
Arduino Srl has been busy lately announcing the Arduino Primo, after launching the Arduino Uno WiFi board earlier this month. Although Arduino Srl recently added to its stable of Linux-enabled Arduino boards with the Arduino Industrial 101, the non-Linux Primo and Uno WiFi boards aim to prove that you don’t necessarily need Linux to intelligently handle WiFi Internet communications. The same goes for the Arduino (or Genuino) MKR1000 from rival Arduino LLC (Arduino.cc), although Arduino LLC also launched a Linux-based Arduino Yún Shield add-on.
Arduino STAR Otto photos from MakerFaire 2016 (Bay Area), including several showing an attached LCD shield
(click images to enlarge)
The 101.5 x 53.3mm STAR Otto not only has WiFi, but also some of the higher-end graphics and multimedia functionality one associates more with Linux SBCs than Arduino boards. The STAR Otto board lets developers “build high-performance graphics into their smart devices using accessible hardware and software to improve their applications with easy-to-use touch displays and audio for command and control as well as for media-streaming use cases,” says ST.
The STAR Otto’s STM32F469BIT6 MCU is one of ST’s higher-end STM32 models. The Cortex-M4 MCU is clocked to 180MHz, and features DSP and floating point operations, as well as 2MB flash and 384KB SRAM. This is backed up with the STAR Otto board’s 16MB SDRAM and 128KB EEPROM.
Like the Arduino Primo and Arduino Uno WiFi, the STAR Otto’s WiFi communications is handled by an ESP8266 WiFi Module from Espressif. Arduino Srl’s Arduino Yún Mini and Arduino Tian boards, as well as the Arduino Industrial 101, instead use an Atheros AR9331 running OpenWrt-based Linino. The Arduino LLC MKR1000, meanwhile, derives WiFi from an Atmel ATSAMW25H18 chip, also without using Linux.
Unlike most Arduino boards, the Arduino STAR Otto provides multimedia features like MIPI-DSI and camera connectors, as well dual microphones and headphone and speaker output. The board provides a microSD slot, and is notable for having more I/O expansion than most Arduinos, with 32x digital I/O pins and 12x PWMs. It offers Arduino Uno, Due, and Mega compatible expansion connectors.
According to ST, open source software graphics libraries and microphone drivers are available. DSI-display and NFC-reader shields are planned for Q2 2016, and a sensor shield is scheduled for the second half of the year. The STAR Otto is compatible with “several STM32 Nucleo expansion boards and software libraries, including those for environmental sensors and proximity detection,” says ST.
Specifications listed for the Arduino STAR Otto include:
- STM32F469BI MCU (1x 32-bit Cortex-M4 core @ 180MHz) with 2MB flash, 384KB SRAM; ST Chrom-ART graphics accelerator
- ESP8266 WiFi Module (Tensilica Xtensa LX106 @ 80MHz) with 4MB flash, 8MB instruction RAM, 12MB data RAM
- Memory — 16MB SDRAM; 128KB EEPROM; microSD slot
- Wireless — 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz via ESP8266
- Camera connector
- 2x MEMS digital microphones
- Headphone and speaker output
- Other I/O:
- USB host
- 8x ADC (Arduino MCU)
- 2x DAC (Arduino MCU)
- 12x PWM
- 32x DIO
- Arduino Uno, Due, and Mega connectors
- Power — 6-12V input; 2V MCU voltage; 25mA per I/O pins
- Dimensions — 101.5 x 53.3mm
- Weight — 34 g
- Operating system — supports Arduino IDE and Arduino Studio online IDE
A testimonial quote was provided by Federico Musto, CEO and President of Arduino Srl. “We’re excited to add the STM32 family into the Maker community, to broaden learning with new features such as audio input/output and touchscreen display control,” stated Musto. “We fully expect commercial IoT companies to also use these new features to easily design new smart home devices and applications, or improve products that drive industrial automation and control.”
The Arduino STAR Otto (ARD-OTTO-STM32) will ship later this quarter at an unstated price. More information may be found in this ST STAR Otto announcement and ST STAR Otto product page, as well as at Arduino Srl’s STAR Otto product page.