Upgrading the microcontroller.

Regarding the microcontroller, I intend to opt for a better alternative than the Arduino. A significant upgrade would be the ESP32, manufactured by Espressif Systems, which is a low-cost, low-power system-on-chip with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. As it is supported by the Arduino IDE, it is also ideal for beginners and intermediate users, making it a suitable element of my project. Unlike the Arduino boards that were designed for educational purposes, the ESP32 was designed for DIY projects where the results can be turned into a commercial product.

In contrast to most Arduino boards, such as the UNO that have 8-bit chips, all ESP boards are based on 32-bit microprocessors. By comparing the features of the ESP32 to more advanced Arduino boards, such as the Zero, further considerable differences appear. While the Arduino has 256kB of flash memory, the Esp32 starts at 4 MB with some modules going as high as 8 or 16 MB of memory. Additionally, the Arduino Zero houses only 20 digital I/O pins, with 6 analog input pins and 1 analog output pin while the Esp32 ranges from 38 to 77 I/O pins depending on the module. Subsequently, the Zero enables internet connectivity only when paired with an Ethernet shield, while the ESP32 has built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, so no add-ons are required.

I think the ESP32 is a far better option than any Arduino board (especially the UNO) and will therefore be the brains of my second prototype that I will develop during the exploration phase of this project. .

Sources:

  1. Ghosh, A., 2020. ESP32 vs Arduino : How ESP32 is Different from Arduino. [online] The Customize Windows. Available at: <https://thecustomizewindows.com/2020/05/esp32-vs-arduino-how-esp32-is-different-from-arduino/> [Accessed 2 December 2021].

2. Tan, C., 2021. Esp32 vs Arduino: The Differences. [online] all3dp.com. Available at: <https://all3dp.com/2/esp32-vs-arduino-differences/> [Accessed 2 December 2021].

3. Teja, R., 2021. Getting Started with ESP32 | Introduction to ESP32. [Blog] Electronics Hub, Available at: <https://www.electronicshub.org/getting-started-with-esp32/> [Accessed 2 December 2021].

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