The AirBoard Puts Your IoT Projects Into High Gear

Have you ever wanted to quickly add smart capabilities to your air conditioning unit so you can control it from your smartphone? Or maybe you wanted to build a wearable tracker that measures your daily activity? Enter the AirBoard, an ultra-compact, powerful and cheap development board that gets your project connected to the Internet of Things in no time. With a crowdfunding campaign that started only a few days ago it has already raised over two times its projected goal.

The AirBoard Module

Photo: AirBoard.cc

The AirBoard is open-source and fully compatible with Arduino, in fact the Arduino IDE can be used to program the device over-the-air via WiFi or Bluetooth. Modules, sensors and other parts can be connected via standard solderless connectors, making assembly of your project a breeze.

While it may not be the smallest electronics module out there, when I say this Electric Imp comes in my mind, the AirBoard promises to deliver some very interesting features such as staggering 3 years stand-by autonomy, or 6 months autonomy with radio on at a communication rate of 1 cycle per minute (0.01 Hz) thanks to the embedded advanced power management system.

Combined with the over-the-air programming (OTAP) feature mentioned earlier, this board can be the ideal candidate for home automation or smart home projects, low power applications in hard-to-reach locations or where deep integration is required. Let’s take a look at some characteristics of the AirBoard.

AirBoard Quick Specs

Dimensions 40x25x9mm or 1.6×1.0x0.4in, 14mm or 0.6in thick with BLE shield attached
Weight 5.7g (0.2oz) board only, 9.7g (0.34oz) with battery
MCU 8MHz ATmega328P with Arduino Fio bootloader
I/O 7xGPIO, 3xPWM, I2C, SPI, 3xADC 10-bit resolution

Up to 18xGPIO, 6xPWM, 6xADC
Supported radio shields BT 2.1 RN42-XV, BLE Link, RN-XV WiFly, XB24-API XBee
Power source 3.7V, 155mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery, 40-60 minutes charge time
Power management Built-in charger via microUSB, surge protection, 5V/500mA and 3.3V/200mA outputs for prototyping board, 3.3V/1A output for radio shield, status indicators
Autonomy 3 years stand-by, 6 months communication @ 0.01Hz
Other OTA programming, full color RGB status LED,

The AirBoard project is the brainchild of French electrical engineer Olivier Ménard, who has over 20 years of experience in microelectronics and computing for space satellites and software engineer Loic Bouyssié, specialized in new technologies integration.

A minimum pledge of US $25 will get you an AirBoard with the 3.7 V, 155 mAh battery, while for $50 you can get an AirBoard plus a Bluetooth LE 4.0 radio module. A complete starter kit including 2 sensors, micro motors, drivers and USB dongle, can be preordered for $100. Take a look at the Kickstarter campaign page for more pledges and information. Also check out this short interview with Olivier Ménard.

What is your opinion about the AirBoard, how would you intergrate it into your projects?