In addition to a number of other announcements during his Maker Faire Bay Area “State of Arduino” address, Massimo Banzi finally revealed the shipping dates for the highly-anticipated Zero board. In fact, MAKE: Magazine has even called this “one of the biggest pieces of news” from this year’s show (and tell).
As we await its June 9th availability, here’s a quick refresher on the 32-bit Arduino unit that is bound to become a Maker hit over the summer. While its form factor may share that of the Leonardo, the Zero boasts an Atmel | SMART SAM D21 ARM Cortex-M0+ core, enabling the board to run much faster and pack more of a punch than its 8-bit counterparts.
It’s also worth mentioning that the latest device offers users the ability to easily talk to the cloud, thanks to an increase in bits and clock cycles to deal with what’s coming in and going out. This allows Makers to bring their wildest (and smartest) Internet of Things projects to life. The Wizard of Make Bob Martin explains, “You can do this with an 8-bit microcontroller, but sometimes with data streams, it’s like drinking from a firehose.”
Additional key hardware specs include 256KB of Flash, 32KB SRAM in a TQFP package and a clock speed of 48MHz. In comparison, the 8-bit Leonardo (ATmega32U4) comes with only 32KB of Flash, 2.5KB of SRAM and merely runs at 16MHz. One its other notable features is the Atmel Embedded Debugger (EDBG), which provides a full debug interface without the need for any supplemental hardware. EDBG supports a virtual COM port that can be used for device programming and traditional Arduino bootloader functionality, and is entirely compatible with Atmel Studio to provide users the ability to import their sketches directly and do source-level debugging.
The Zero sports six analog and 14 digital pins, all of which except for the Rx/Tx pins can also serve as PWM pins. Meanwhile, the analog pins have a 12-bit ADC instead of the Leonardo’s 10-bit ADC, significantly improving analog resolution. Though the new board does not have EEPROM, it does support 16KB by emulation. In other words, Arduino sketches relying upon this feature will still run without any hiccups.
Intrigued? Watch below as the Wizard of Make gives MAKE’s Alasdair Allan a hands-on demonstration of the Zero.