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unPhone - all-in-one LoRa, WiFi and BT dev device with touchscreen and LiPo battery

by Pimoroni

Open IoT electronics for educationalists, makers and developers, made by Pimoroni and taught at the University of Sheffield.

Phones. They’re miraculous! But: they use up scarce minerals that are often mined in peril. The server clouds they connect to use thousands of times more energy than bitcoin. And they steal our attention, leak our data, compromise our privacy. Perhaps we don’t need a miracle in our pockets every minute of the day? unPhone isn’t a phone alternative but it has the potential to replace some of the sledgehammers we currently crack nuts with (and keep more of your data under your own control).

unPhone is an IoT (Internet of Things) development platform built around the popular ESP32S3 microcontroller. It includes a bunch of convenient extra features for fast 'batteries included' IoT development and easy expansion through compatibility with Adafruit's FeatherWing standard.

Features

  • ESP32S3 microcontroller (with 8MB flash and 8MB PSRAM)
  • LoRaWAN licence-free radio communication (plus the ESP32's excellent wifi and bluetooth support)
  • 3.5" (320x480) LCD capacitive touchscreen for easy debugging and UI creation
  • IR LEDs for surreptitiously switching the cafe TV off
  • 1200mAh LiPo battery with USB-C charging
  • Vibration motor for notifications
  • Compass/Accelorometer
  • A robust case
  • SD card slot
  • Power and reset buttons
  • Programmable in C++ or CircuitPython
  • Expander board that supports two Featherwing sockets and a prototyping area
  • Open source firmware compatible with the Arduino IDE, PlatformIO and Espressif's IDF development framework

Kit Includes

  • unPhone (assembled)
  • Expander board
  • FPC cable (to link the expander board to unPhone)
  • Self adhesive mounts for the expander board

About unPhone

unPhone has been developed by the University of Sheffield, in partnership with Pimoroni and Gareth Coleman (of BitFIXit and Reyt Repair).

It's open hardware and open source software and comes with a 300 page textbook on the IoT. It supports teaching and prototyping, and is being developed in parallel with a control and monitoring system for aquaponic sustainable agriculture.

Because unPhone has been in use in academia for several years, it has an established community and resources to help you use it successfully. Check out the website for more info!

Code examples

The unit comes fully-assembled, but if you do take it apart, here is a handy assembly video.