Daily Archives: September 5, 2023

FireBeetle Drives Artificial Internet of Things

The next generation of the FireBeetle 2 development board is now available. Targeting the IoT, especially the Artificial Intelligence of Things, it has an onboard camera. According to DFRobot, the creator, the FireBeetle boasts Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and an Espressif ESP32-S3 module.

Built around the ESP32-S3-WROOM-1-N16R8 module, the main controller of the FireBeetle provides high performance. It operates with 16MB of flash RAM, along with 8MB of pseudo-static RAM or PSRAM that allows it to store more data. The ESP32-S3 chip provides acceleration for computing neural networks and processing signals for high workloads. This makes the FireBeetle ideal for many applications like image recognition, speech recognition, and many more.

DFRobot has designed the heart of the FireBeetle, the ESP32-S3, for edge AI and low-power tinyML work. With two CPU cores, the Tensilica Xtensa LX7, both operating at 240 MHz, the ESP32-S3 also offers vector processing extensions. The design specifically targets accelerated machine learning, including workloads of artificial intelligence. In addition to the 8MB PSRAM and the 16MB Flash memory, the board also has 384kB of flash and 512kB of on-chip SRAM.

The FireBeetle development board, along with its BLE or Bluetooth 5 Low Energy and Wi-Fi connectivity, also includes an onboard camera interface driven by a dedicated power supply circuit. The camera has a 2-megapixel sensor with a 68-degree FOV or Field of Vision. There is a GDI connector, which is useful for adding a TFT display.

DFRobot offers two variants of the FireBeetle development board. One of them is the standard version, namely the FireBeetle 2 ESP32-S3, containing a PCB antenna for wireless connectivity. The second variation is the FireBeetle 2 ESP32-S3-U, and it offers a connector for rigging up an external antenna. It is possible to program both boards from Arduino IDE, ESP-IDF, and MicroPython.

It is possible to order both development boards from the DFRobot website store, The second variant is the costlier of the two, and both come with volume discounts. Although both variants come with the board and camera, the pin headers are bundled loosely but not soldered. DFRobot has published a simple project for the FireBeetle—a camera-based monitor to oversee the growth of plants.

It is possible to use the FireBeetle development board to build a DIY plant growth recorder. It allows monitoring the entire growth process of the plant, starting from seeding right up to maturity, while tracking the environmental conditions throughout. This makes it possible to identify any changes easily that could affect the health and growth of the plant, along with any fluctuations in temperature, light levels, and humidity. This information helps to organize and optimize the growing conditions of the plant, thereby ensuring that the plants get everything they need for proper growth.

The project has a screen for displaying the various parameters it is monitoring. The camera periodically captures images of the plant as it grows, storing them in the board’s memory. The board transmits real-time images and environmental data over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for regular viewing.