Sparrow is a sensor-to-cloud LoRaWAN solution based on STM32WLE5 microcontroller

Blues Wireless Sparrow is a LoRaWAN solution designed to connect a group of low-cost, low-power device sensors for shared data backhaul to the cloud. It is comprised of STMicro STM32WLE5 LoRa-based sensors whose data is then routed through the company’s Notecard-powered WiFi or cellular gateway and ultimately a cloud app hosted on AWS, Microsoft Azure, or other IoT cloud platforms.

The company claims the Notecard and Sparrow solutions ease the development of IoT networks in a way that was previously only available “to sophisticated engineering firms”, and now Blues Wireless supports cellular, WiFi, and LPWAN technologies.

Sparrow LoRaWAN boardLet’s have a look at the “Sparrow Essentials” board specifications first:

  • Wireless SoC – STMicro STM32WLE5+ Arm Cortex-M4F microcontroller @ 48MHz with 256KB Flash, 64KB of SRAM, Semtech SX126x LoRa transceiver
  • I/Os
    • Breadboard compatible 2.54mm headers with digital and analog I/O, I2C, UART, and SPI
    • Qwiic Connector
  • Debugging – JTAG (SWD capable) debug jack
  • Misc
    • Onboard programmable momentary button (PAIR)
    • 3x programmable LEDs (red, blue, green)
    • BOOT and RESET buttons
  •  for easy wiring and debugging
  • Power Supply
    • 2-pin connector for LiPo battery
    • Coin-cell battery holder (on the back of the board).
Sparrow Gateway Reference Sensor Node
Sparrow Gateway (left) and Sparrow Reference Sensor Node (right)

The Sparrow Essentials board can also be used in conjunction with a Notecard gateway, or within an enclosure (the Sparrow Reference Sensor Node) with a Bosch BME280 temperature, humidity, and pressure) sensor,  a PIR motion sensor, and a battery holder for two AAA batteries.

The solution allows you to create a last-mile sensor cluster with a few Sparrow Essentials board or Reference Sensor Nodes that connects to a cellular Notecard gateway forwarding the JSON formatted data to the company’s Notehub cloud-based service and ultimately to your customer cloud app hosted on whatever cloud IoT platform.


blues wireless network topology

You’ll find more details on the developer’s website and the product page. In order to quickly get started and evaluate the solution, there’s also a Sparrow development kit that includes a Wi-Fi Notecard, a Notecarrier A with antennas and Qwiic connectors, two Sparrow Reference Sensor nodes with AAA batteries, three Sparrow Essentials boards (one for the Gateway and two for adding your own sensors) with CR2032 batteries, an STLINK-V3MINI probe for sensor programming, a USB cable, and a Qwiic connector for turning the Notecard and Notecarrier into a LoRaWAN gateway.

Sparrow Development Kit

Besides the hardware, the development kit also comes with example firmware and a web application. You’ll find everything to get started in the documentation. The Sparrow development kit can be purchased for $199 on the Blues Wireless store.

Thanks to TLS for the tip.

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