The new hardware add-on for the Arduino Portenta H7 brings vision and sound to your edge computing projects.

Arduino has announced the Portenta Vision Shield for the Arduino Portenta H7 development board.


Portenta Vision Shield for Arduino H7

The new shield comes in two varieties. One has an Ethernet port, while the other features a wireless Long Range (LoRA) module. Both share an onboard Himax low power camera module, two microphones, and a microSD card slot for data storage.

What Is the Portenta Vision Shield?

The new addition to the Arduino roster is designed with computer vision and embedded machine learning tasks in mind. Alongside the new hardware, Arduino is also offering free licenses for OpenMV for the Arduino Editor.

While the shield is designed for development, it comes with a built-in autonomous movement detection feature. So long as it’s powered, the Portenta Vision Shield will detect movement and send a wake-up signal to an interrupt pin on the Portenta H7 baseboard—perfect for waking up a board in low-power deep-sleep mode.

What Will The Portenta Vision Shield Feature?

Ethernet edition of the Portenta Vision Shield

The Portenta Vision Shield comes equipped with low-power modules for sound and vision interaction:

  • Camera: Himax HM-01B0 camera module with 324 x 324 active pixel resolution with support for QVGA
  • Sensor: High sensitivity 3.6μ BrightSense pixel technology
  • Microphone: 2 x MP34DT05 (datasheet)
  • Connectivity: 100 Mbps Ethernet connector or LoRA wireless chip
  • Length: 66mm
  • Width: 25 mm
  • Weight: 11 gr

A New Direction For Arduino

The Arduino Portenta H7 was announced at CES 2020 and signified a new chapter in the Arduino story. Previously, Arduino has targeted beginners to embedded programming, and their loyal online community has created many great Arduino projects for beginners.

The onboard dual-core STM32H747 is a powerful industry-standard chip, and while the new board still has the trademark Arduino usability, it is a step up in power and complexity.

It’s little surprise that the Portenta Vision Shield is the first expansion to be released for the H7. Embedded hardware has embraced low-power edge computing in recent years. New releases like the Banana Pi featuring a dual-core accelerator are driving the cost down, but the technical know-how required is still a barrier to entry.

Arduino is looking to change that with tools built into their beginner-friendly Arduino IDE and tutorials that fit every skill level. While the Portenta Vision Shield is yet to be released, tutorials are already available for it on Arduino.cc, along with the H7 baseboard.

The Portenta Vision Shield is available to preorder on the Arduino Store and will cost $45. The first units will ship at the end of October 2020.


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