20,000 free Microsoft Azure Sphere Kits and $35,000 in prizes
Last year, Microsoft unveiled Azure Sphere — an end-to-end solution for securing microcontroller based smart things. Alongside the announcement was hardware support for boards built around the MediaTek MT3620 microcontroller.
The starter kit is built upon the Azure Sphere module, which makes use of the MediaTek 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.
Your project for the contest should integrate a new or existing Internet of Things edge device with the Azure Sphere, or secure a consumer electronics project. It should also show innovation around smart retail, factory solutions, buildings or home automation, or around renewables and energy solutions.
The focus of the Azure Sphere is to securely connect edge devices to the cloud, so to be eligible for the top prizes your project should be able to consistently stay online and connected for at least 15 consecutive days.
The top three competitors will win a Microsoft Hololens 2, while the next seven competitors will pick up a Surface Laptop 2. There are even brand new Raspberry Pi 4 boards for the next 500 entrants. Judging criteria for projects will focus on documentation, details of the Bill of Materials, the availability of schematics and code, and creativity. While your project doesn’t have to be original, it should be a creative take on the idea.