ST says its introduction is one of the first 96Boards CE small-mezzanine specification cards available; the B-F446E-96B01A simplifies development of context-aware functionality. It integrates ST’s STM32F446 microcontroller based on an ARM Cortex-M4F core, smart peripherals, as well as on-board MEMS accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, pressure sensor, and microphone. Arduino Uno and Seeedstudio Grove connectors simplify adding extra-function extensions using expansion boards or modules from either ecosystem. These include light sensors, humidity sensors, wireless-communication interfaces, user-interface devices, and many others.
The 96Boards CE specification streamlines product development based on ARM Cortex-A processors and Linux operating systems including Android by specifying a compact compute-board form factor, baseline I/Os such as WiFi, BLE, USB, MicroSD, and HDMI, and standardised connector positions. The specification also standardises low- and high-speed peripheral connectors to allow functional expansion by adding mezzanine boards such as ST’s B-F446E-96B01A. (The standard 96Boards CE form factor is 85 x 54 x 12 mm. An extended 85 x 100 x 12 mm form factor is also specified.)
Developers can work with the B-F446E-96B01A using the same ecosystem as ST’s STM32 Nucleo boards. This gives access to resources including the STM32CubeMX initialisation code generator, as well as application-code samples, software snippets, and a hardware API. The mezzanine board comes with an embedded ST-Link debugger, which eliminates any need for a separate debug probe, and allows drag-and-drop Flash programming. It is also enabling direct access to ARM mbed online tools, allowing projects to start immediately without having to install any software.
The B-F446E-96B01A is sampling now to lead customers and will be generally available in Q2 2016.