Inspired by the release of the BBC Micro:bit, I have started to look again at ARM based low power boards. I am interested in their usefulness for fencing training aids and as a possible platform for use in wireless scoring systems. Whilst researching this, I came across the IOT Developer Kits from MtM Tech, a Taiwanese electronics company.
They use a stackable modular design similar in concept to Arduino shield boards, but considerably smaller, each unit being approximately 3cm square. The units I am evaluating are a pair of MtM’s Motion Sensors kits. Each of these consists of a MtAid01 extension board; a MtConnect04S processor and BLE board; a MtSense03 motion sensor board and a MtAid02 battery board.
What caught my eye, is that the CPU component is a Nordic Semiconductor nRF51 series chip, compatible with that in the nRF51-DK board that I tested last year with Free Pascal. The Nordic board however, does not contain motion sensors, which for my purposes, restricted it’s usefulness. By contract, with the MtM modular design I can combine the various electronics required for a particular project in a manner rather like playing with Lego!
For comparison in my last photograph, I have placed the MTM developer kit next to a Raspberry Pi Zero on the left and a BBC Micro:bit on the right. As you can see it is very similar to the Micro:bit in overall dimensions, although it should be pointed out that the larger base board of the MTM kit, the MtAid01, is only required during programming and can be removed for normal use, making it clearly the smallest of the three devices.
My next step will be to setup a nRF51-DK to function as a programming and debugging interface for the MtM kit. After that I will need to build a Free Pascal cross compiler to generate the CPU binaries to perform the control logic. I will post my progress periodically here and I will also publish the build instructions and the source to any utilities I create here and on Bitbucket.