Microchip recently launched a pair of Bluetooth-enabled development boards aimed at embedded and IoT applications. The aptly named AVR-BLE and PIC-BLE both offer an ATECC608A CryptoAuthentication co-processor with secure hardware-based key storage and an RN4870 Bluetooth Low Energy module for wireless capabilities. On the AVR-BLE end, the board packs an ATmega3208 microcontroller, BMA253 3-axis acceleration sensor, SST25PF040CT 4Mb serial flash, and MCP9844 high-accuracy temperature sensor.
Additionally, the AVR-BLE features a mikroBUS header that can connect over 700+ sensors and actuators, a pair of user-programmable LEDs and push button, as well as an onboard USB interface that allows for board Identification in Atmel Studio and Microchip's MPLAB X IDE, programming/debugging, Virtual COM port (CDC), two logic analyzer channels (DGI Debug GPIO), and drag-and-drop programming (MSD). It can even be powered via USB or using a CR2032 coin cell battery.
The PIC-BLE, on the other hand, is equipped with a PIC16LF18456 XLP microcontroller (with 12-bit ADCC), an MCP9844 temperature sensor, BMA253 acceleration sensor, SST25PF040CT 4Mb serial flash, and the same mikroBUS header found on the AVR model. It’s outfitted with the same onboard USB interface as well, making for a balanced development board with crossover features that can also be powered via USB or CR2032 battery.
Both boards can connect to mobile phones or tablets using Punch Through’s LightBlue app, which lets users scan for any BLE peripherals, see basic device info (name, MAC address, RSSI), log BLE events, write to characteristics in hex or UTF-8 string format, and more. The Microchip team has uploaded a complete walkthrough on how to get both the AVR-BLE and PIC-BLE boards up and running for those interested, and both boards are now available on MicrochipDirect (linked above) for $29.