Judgment SeeedStudio Wio terminal:
The SeeedStudio Wio terminal is packed with sensors, buttons, a color LCD screen and a Wi-Fi connection. It is fantastic value and well documented. This makes it easy to get ahead of what’s really important: great stuff.
Programming electronics can sometimes be frustrating. Acquiring components, finding the right libraries to take advantage of them, figuring out the right parameters to get into, and hoping there are some examples of code to get you started. It all adds a massive time to suck, which reduces the fun. For this reason, I have fallen love Arduino ecosystem. However, SeeedStudio thinks the Wio terminal might restore my relationship to electronics, and I think they’re right.
Wio Terminal is an Arduino-compliant Development Center, full of features and documented, available totally reasonable $ 30. Read on to see why it’s the coolest thing after the Arduino Uno.
Wio terminal features and specifications
The Wio terminal is built on the ARM Cortex M4F system chip, which is a 32-bit ARM processor running at 120MHz (200MHz burst). It has 4MB of storage, 192kB of RAM, and a Realtek RTL8720DN wireless chip that provides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity (even though the Bluetooth stack wasn’t enabled at the time of writing).
There is a lot to shout about in terms of built-in features:
- 2.4 ″ color LCD display
- 3 buttons
- 5-way joystick
- Micro SD card slot
- light sensor
- IR radiator
- USB-C for client or host mode
- Two Grove system connectors
The USB-C connector provides power to the device for the time being, although the battery pack is expected to be available later. The Wio terminal can act as both a USB client, to mimic a keyboard, mouse, or MIDI device to a host computer; or host, so it can read signals from a wired game controller, for example (although it is not yet clear how to start it in this mode).
For more complex projects or those who just want Python, the Wio terminal is able to combine the best of both worlds with ArduPy. You can program in Python with the MS Visual Code editor, but still import your favorite Arduino library (or use existing ArduPy libraries). Personally, I can’t stand Python, but you can learn more about using the Wio terminal this way SeeedStudio blog.
Getting started with your Wio terminal
Turn on the device with the switch on the left side of the screen – and a small Flappy-bird-style retro game (coded available here if you ever want it back).
You need an installed Arduino IDE to start programming the Wio terminal and to install support for Wio cards. Enter the URL of your choice, then use the Boards Manager screen to search for Wio.
You will find countless code examples for all the different components of the device Wio wiki. Many require you to install an additional library in the Arduino Libraries folder, but it is a simple process (Draft -> Include Library -> Add Zip).
My first meeting included a sample code to read the accelerometer values and display the results on the screen. Very neat, and it really shows the device’s ability for data collection projects. You will also find code to write values to the SD card.
From there, it was trivial to change this to read the values from the included light sensor instead.
Even ten minutes later, I combined the joystick code sample with the presentation of LCD fonts to make a simple joystick test program as a visual output.
At the time, I wanted to connect another sensor from my bit housing, and that’s when I realized that a small change needs to be made to such a polished device. Compared to the bare chest boards and pin access of the Arduino Uno, it’s a little harder to get to the pins of the Wio terminal. The pinouts of the 40-pin connector can be found in the network instructions, but they are not marked on the device itself, and there is always a risk of connecting the wrong things.
What takes us exactly to the next topic: what are the options for adding components and sensors?
There are two Grove connectors on the front of the device. Grove is a mature hardware ecosystem that covers all kinds of sensors you might want, and more.
This is by far the easiest way to add something to a Wio terminal, and of course all Grove components are also documented in the libraries provided. For beginners, it is a great place to expand. The sensors and components in the Grove system have a small premium, but not a huge amount – and the time you save without having to mess up is definitely worth it.
For professional users, you can still take advantage of existing components either directly with a pin on the underside or by using Grove system disconnect cables. You don’t have as many digital or analog pins as the Arduino, simply because many of them are already in use by vehicle components.
Actually, however, how many times have you needed it all from IO-nastat?
The model submitted for review is a technical prototype, so enabling Wi-Fi requires a firmware update. It’s a great process, and it only needs to be done once, but I expect with later models that this is ready to leave the box.
Unfortunately, the Bluetooth hardware is not yet operational. It’s all there on the board, but the libraries needed to use it haven’t been developed yet. This is an early prototype again, so I look forward to honing a couple of things. Wio-terminal is the latest Wio-branded devices in the long line, and SeeedStudio is a well-established company, so I’m sure it will be added in time. However, if you wanted to use Bluetooth features right away in your project, keep shopping now.
On the underside of the Wio terminal you will find a 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible connector that allows you to use the Wio terminal as a Raspberry Pi-Hatiana. This works through a serial device, so you can send messages from Python running on the Pi screen in the Wio terminal, for example. You can easily decompress some processing work on the Wio terminal (it can run Tensorflow Lite), use it for buttons, etc., but this will be wasted. Unless you really want to program in Python, you’re probably better off doing everything naturally in the Wio terminal itself. Still, it’s nice to have options.
Is the Wio terminal right for you?
When choosing a Wio terminal full of hardware features like a color display and joystick, at a perfectly reasonable price of $ 30 – or $ 20 for an official Arduino Uno with literally nothing else … I know which one to choose.
Of course, you can select unofficial clones and then get only the additional features and components you need at a somewhat cheaper price. But you should also consider your time. Part of the appeal of the Wio Terminal package is that everything is documented so well that I don’t have to trace compatible libraries or code snippets. This means you can focus on things that matter: awesome stuff.
That’s why I call it now. The Wio terminal is a new standard for IoT and data acquisition development boards. For beginners looking to start programming electronics, the Grove sensor system saves time and frustration at these important early stages. At $ 30, the Wio terminal is affordable.