The Nordic Thingy:52 is a clever microcontroller development board that showcases what can be done using Nordic’s Bluetooth Low Energy chip, the nRF52832. It is a platform upon which hobbyists and professionals can learn, prototype and develop IoT solutions. So let’s take a look at what it’s capable of and what it can help you build.

The Thingy:52 comes with a whole array of different sensors including a temperature sensor, a humidity sensor, an air pressure sensor, and a 9 axis motion sensor. Nordic also gives away for free the source code needed to build an Android app to communicate with the Thingy:52. There is also the added bonus that it doesn’t come as a geeky looking circuit board, but rather in a very presentable 6×6 cm plastic and rubber case with built-in battery, meaning you can use it to try out IoT ideas without needing to design a consumer version first.

Read more: Gary Explains
Endless possibilities

The possibilities for the hobbyist computer enthusiast have never been greater. Smartphones are ubiquitous and come with powerful quad-core or octa-core CPUs, fast GPUs, gigabytes of RAM and gigabytes of storage. With some programming knowledge you can develop games and apps for your smartphone using free tools downloaded from the Internet. But it doesn’t stop there. Single Board Computers (SBC) like the Raspberry Pi have opened up the fields of hardware and software development to a whole new generation, while microcontroller-based systems like the Micro:bit have demonstrated what can be achieved with even simpler CPUs.

It is the latter category of microcontroller-based development boards which is likely to see the greatest interest as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. One important aspect of IoT is the idea of a sensor node that sends data to a gateway device (like a smartphone or a SBC) which in turns sends the data into the cloud for processing. A simple example would be a temperature sensor that works in conjunction with services like IFTTT to send you a notification when a preset temperature is reached.

And this is where the Nordic Thingy:52 fits. Nordic Semiconductor makes efficient ultra low power (ULP) microcontrollers with built-in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for devices that need to run a long time off a simple battery (like a CR2032). Since Nordic is in the business of selling those chips, it is also in the business of showing what those chips can do. And that is what the Thingy:52 is, a showcase of what can be achieved, as well as a development platform for IoT projects.

SoCnRF52832 SoC: 32-bit ARM® Cortex™-M4F CPU with 512kB + 64kB RAM
ConnectivityBluetooth 5, NFC (for pairing)
Humidity, Air pressure, Air quality (CO2 and TVOC), Color and light intensity
9 axis motion detectionTap detection, Orientation, Step counter, Quaternions, Euler angles, Rotation matrix, Gravity vector, Compass heading, Raw accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass data
Other ports, switches etcSpeaker, microphone, multi-color LED, power switch, button, micro USB port,
Getting started

Your first task is to switch on the Thingy:52. To do this, remove the rubber case and flip – Source