‘Raspberry and chips,’ not something you’d like to eat but in the world of silicon it’s actually a great combination. Eben Upton recently shared with us Raspberry Pi’s exciting vision for a revolutionary product that they were working on: a microcontroller, the RP2040, based on Raspberry Pi silicon.
The news was both disruptive and exciting at the same time. At Arduino, we love to put our hands on innovative technologies, micros, sensors and all the building blocks that allow us to fulfill our mission of making technology simple to use for everyone. The curiosity was growing and a few weeks later we were already tinkering with the initial development tools. The processor is a very intriguing beast — it’s a dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller with fairly sophisticated architecture.
Since we have been experimenting quite a bit with multi-core processors with our Pro product, the “Portenta,” we decided to build an Arduino board based on this new silicon.
We started from the Nano format with its own tiny footprint, leveraging on some of the existing key features of other Nanos like the versatile u-blox NINA WiFi and Bluetooth module. The goal being to enable people to develop connected products leveraging our hardware powered by Raspberry silicon, a solid radio module with exceptional performance, and the Arduino Create IoT Cloud.
The new board will come packed with some high-quality MEMS sensors from STM (namely a 9-axis IMU and a microphone), a very efficient power section, and a bunch of other innovations that you can already spot from the design.
Whereas the majority of microcontrollers use embedded flash, the new RP2040 chip uses external flash. To provide plenty of space for all your code and storage we’ve included 16MB flash memory — this is also particularly useful to allow OTA (over-the-air) updates.
But there’s more! We are going to port the Arduino core to this new architecture in order to enable everyone to use the RP2040 chip with the Arduino ecosystem (IDE, command line tool, and thousands of libraries). Although the RP2040 chip is fresh from the plant, our team is already working on the porting effort… stay tuned.
While we consider what other products to develop to leverage the RP2040 architecture, we’d love to hear what you’d like us to build with this exciting new processor.
Join us in welcoming the new Raspberry Pi RP2040 and the newborn Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect, which will be available for pre-order in the next few weeks!
– Massimo Banzi (co-founder & chairman) and Fabio Violante (CEO)