What is Azure Sphere And Azure Sphere MT3620 Development Kit

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IoT (Internet of Things) is growing very fast and to be in the race of IoT era, all major companies are building solutions around IoT. Google, Microsoft and Amazon already provide cloud services for various IoT use cases. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a new service to provide a comprehensive IoT security solution including hardware, OS, and cloud components to help companies build more robust and secure IoT solutions. It is also an attempt from Microsoft to go deeper into this domain by providing embedded security support into the chip that is used in building IoT products. In this post we will talk about Microsoft Azure Sphere MT3620 development board which bring Microsoft security to chip level.

What is Microsoft Azure Sphere?

Azure Sphere is a comprehensive IoT security solution. It provides multiple layers of protection to help guard devices against and respond to various security threats. Microsoft also partnered with chip vendors to provide Azure Sphere–certified chips that have built-in Microsoft security technology to provide connectivity and a dependable hardware root of trust. Azure Sphere OS adds layers of protection and ongoing security updates to create a trustworthy platform and Azure Sphere Security Service brokers trust for device-to-cloud communication, detects emerging threats, and continually renews device security. In a nutshell security is the centre point of Microsoft Sphere offering.

Microsoft Azure Sphere MT3620 Development Kit

Microsoft partners delivers revolutionary new IoT hardware—from MCUs and crossovers to modules, development kits, and guardian devices—to bring Azure Sphere to a broad range of customers and applications. The current hardware partners include MediaTek, Avnet, Seeed Studio who are proving chips, modules and development kit for Azure Sphere.

Most of the Azure Sphere development kits are based around MediaTek’s MT3620 chipset. MediaTek’s new cross-over class of MCU includes built-in Microsoft security technology, built-in connectivity, and combines the versatility and power of a Cortex-A processor with the low overhead and real-time guarantees of a Cortex-M class processor.   

Azure Sphere Kit - Azure Sphere MT3620

The Azure Sphere Starter Kit.

The new Microsoft’s Azure Sphere Starter Kit is also based around the Avnet Azure Sphere MT3620 Module. This kit makes use of the MT3620 processor, a single-core Arm Cortex-A7 processor running at 500 MHz with 4MB RAM, as well as a dual-core Arm Cortex-M4F real-time core running at 200 MHz with 64KB RAM, and support for dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless. The 33 × 22 mm module is production-ready, both FCC and CE certified, and comes in two versions either with an on-board chip antenna or one with an external U.FL connector. The starter kit is based around the on-board chip version of the module.

The module has 3× ISU interfaces pre-configured for UART, SPI, I2C, along with 3× 12-bit ADC inputs (or 3 GPIOs) and 9× PWM outputs (or up to an additional 24 GPIOs). There is also support for an RTC.

The carrier board supports two MikroE Click board expansion sockets, and a Grove System expansion connector, and has a variety of on-board sensors including a 3-axis accelerometer and gyro, an ambient light sensor, as well as temperature and pressure sensors. There are also two user programmable buttons, and footprints to support a 128×64 pixel OLED display, and both +5V and VBAT supplies. Power and data are connection to the board are normally provided via a micro USB connector.

Pinout for the Azure Sphere Starter Kit - Azure Sphere MT3620

Pinout for the Azure Sphere Starter Kit

Avnet and Microsoft has also launched a contest that not only might bag you free hardware, but a share of $35,000 in prizes along with that. 

Stay tuned for more updates about awesome tech around the world.

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