We're often not adverse to referring to something that we can't pinpoint or specifically define as a "thingy", and so Nordic has consciously adopted this term to show us all that the "Thingy:52" development kit is so versatile that it can't be pigeonholed. The kit enables app developers to configure, test and demonstrate Bluetooth low energy IoT devices connected with mobile apps or a cloud services - entirely without firmware programming experience or development tools.
"Thingy:52" is based on the nRF52832 Bluetooth® low energy system-on-a-chip (SoC) and is a fully-functional, Bluetooth 5-compatible single-board development kit that enables "out of the box" wireless configuration via smartphone apps or through the cloud. The circuit board is located in a 2.4 x 2.4 inch housing made of plastic and rubber and has a USB socket to charge the Thingy:52's lithium-ion battery. The kit itself includes an installed microphone and speaker, 9-axis motion sensing to detect acceleration, rotation and magnetic field intensity, as well as an "ultra-low-power wake-up" accelerometer and sensors for pressure, temperature, air humidity, air quality and color. It is also shipped with example firmware and apps for iOS, Android and the web, including source code. This enables firmware developers to modify firmware accordingly and adapt the board to their expectations.
The "Thingy:52" is especially compelling for app developers with no experience in firmware programming or development tools. The kit enables them to quickly develop IoT devices for a whole range of applications. For instance, the parameters of sensors can be changed quickly and easily using a smartphone or web app without needing to modify the firmware. One practical example is the ability to change the LEDs of the Thingy using voice commands issued from a digital assistant like Google's Alexa. The voice command makes Alexa contact a cloud platform, which in turn makes a Raspberry Pi wirelessly transmit the activation command for the "Thingy". This shows how the possibilities are limitless.
Nordic's SoCs, like the one used in the "Thingy:52", enable numerous innovations - Cosinuss, for instance, uses the brand-new nRF52840 in its crowdfunded in-ear thermometer "degree°", which we present to you in our "What We Like" section. Cosinuss already had very good experience with the predecessor chip, the nRF51422, in the "Cosinuss One" fitness tracker.