The Sony Spresense is a compact, low-power single board computer designed for use in a a large variety of IoT applications, it is equipped with a GPS receiver and supports High-Resolution Audio codecs. The board allows for a wide range of IoT implementations and can be used for things like autonomous drones utilizing the build in GPS or to build a smart(er) speaker utilizing it’s High-Resolution Audio playback codecs and digital amplifier.

There are three different Spresense parts Sony provides, the base board, which provides the CXD5602 SOC with built GPS, 17 digital GPIOs, two analog pins and four LEDs. The base board can be plugged into the expansion board for an additional 12 digital GPIOs, another four analog pins and a headphone jack. The third part is the camera module that plugs into a connector on the base board.

The brains of the base board, the CXD5602, is based on a six-core Cortex-M4F processor that runs at 156MHz. If you are familiar with ARM processors, this this is similar to the M-series that can be found in the Arduino Duo or Adafruit Grand Central SAMD51 board.

You can program the board using the Arduino IDE but it runs NuttX OS, a small UNIX-compatible operating system. If you program the Spresense using the Arduino IDE, you may never know that there’s this OS behind the scenes managing things, as it works just as any other Arduino-compatible board does.

The Spresense is a bit powerful than most microcontrollers given the extra cores but it still boots in less than a second and runs real-time code. As I mentioned, the base board includes a camera connector, and there is an official 5 megapixels Sony camera module. I am looking forward to getting some time in with the AI capabilities of this board, it has some potential!

CXD5602 specifications:

High-precision Positioning Features
– Ultra-low power consumption
– Multiple GNSS systems supported:
– GPS, GLONASS, SBAS, Galileo, and Beidu

Advanced High-Resolution Audio features
– 192 kHz/24 bit High-Resolution Audio Codec
– 192 kHz A/D converter
– 8 channel microphone inputs (for digital microphones)
– Full digital amplifier with BTL stereo output

Extensive computing power
– Hexa-core ARM® Cortex®-M4F
– FD-SOI technology for low-power processing
– ASMP framework for inter-CPU communication

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