unPhone – An ESP32-S3 IoT development platform with LoRaWAN, touchscreen, open-source ecosystem

Pimoroni, in partnership with the University of Sheffield, introduced the unPhone – an open-source non-cellular IoT development platform built around the ESP32-S3 wireless microcontroller. The unPhone isn’t meant to replace phones but can simplify tasks and give you more control over your data.

In addition to the ESP32-S3, it features a 3.5″ 320×480 touchscreen display, LoRaWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a vibration motor, an accelerometer, and various other features. Designed with these capabilities, this module can be used for teaching and rapid prototyping, while also finding applications in aquaponics.

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

unPhone key features and components

  • Wireless module – ESP32-S3-WROOM-1U-N8
    • MCU – ESP32-S3 dual-core Tensilica LX7 up to 240 MHz with 512KB SRAM and 8MB PSRAM
    • Storage – 8MB Quad SPI flash
    • Wireless – 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE 5
  • Hardware Features
    • LCD touchscreen for debugging and UI creation.
    • LoRaWAN for free radio communication
    • Vibration motor for notifications.
    • IR LEDs for remote control.
    • Accelerometer for motion sensing.
    • SD card reader for data storage.
    • Power and reset buttons.
    • 1.2Ah LiPo battery management and USB-C charging.
  • Expansion Options
    • Expansion board with three Featherwing slots
    • Supported by 3D print housings with freely available designs.
  • Dimension – Not Available

The project is completely open-source, with all files including schematics, board, firmware, and more available on their GitLab repository. To simplify the development process, Professor Hamish Cunningham of the University of Sheffield has created an open-license 300-page textbook covering the hardware and making it easier for developers to get started.

unPhone Internals with Battery, ESP32-S3, and LoRa Module
unPhone’s internals with battery, ESP32-S3, and LoRa module

The unPhone is also software-friendly and supports popular development environments such as Arduino IDE, PlatformIO, and Espressif’s IDF framework. It also allows programming in both C++ and CircuitPython, for added simplicity. Additionally, LVGL graphics support and broad compatibility with Raspberry Pi extension modules make it easy to integrate into a wide range of projects.

The unPhone can be found in Pimoroni’s official shop and it is priced at £139.50 around $173.25, but at the time of writing it’s out of stock. For more details, you can check out unphone.net.

Via Hackster

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1 month ago

Looked too nice.. and then I saw the price :c

1 month ago

This looks like a really interesting piece of kit. Is the ESP32-PS3 RISC-V?

1 month ago

Dual 32bit Xtensa LX7 cores
I thought Espressif had announced they were moving to RISC-V…

Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)

For the new chips only, the ESP32-S3 was announced before that.

1 month ago

🙂 thank you

Jens Alfke
Jens Alfke
1 month ago

There are a lot of cool things about this … but a 320×480 display (½ VGA) is really disappointing. It’s like GUIs are an afterthought. For the price I’m not expecting a smartphone “Retina” display, but surely they could do better than something out of the PalmPilot era. I’d gladly trade the LoRa radio for a display upgrade.

Khadas VIM4 SBC