BNO055: A Sensor for the Makers Community

“If someone says your idea is stupid, then just do it” came the wise words of an eight year old at the Maker Faire in San Mateo when Dale Dougherty, founder of Maker Faire, asked the question: “what advice would you like to give to young makers like yourself?” Anybody can create anything in the Maker Community, a concept that would be entirely impossible a decade ago. The world has changed dramatically in the past 10 years since the foundation of Arduino, an open source hardware and software company, in 2005.

As the consumer market grows to be increasingly competitive with hundreds of startups coming with innovative and intuitive solutions, companies no longer have time to prolong their concept phase. They quickly confirm whether or not the concept works, and immediately go to market. The most widely used open source platform is Arduino to verify their concept.

Bosch Sensortec, which was also founded in 2005, has been in the sensor business for over a decade now, yet the BNO055 is the first intelligent sensor integrating an accelerometer, gyroscope, geomagnetic and a powerful ARM cortex M0 processor to have sparked the interest of the maker’s community. Since the release of BNO055 sensor in the market, there have been a wide variety of evaluation kits crafted by makers for makers that integrate the sensor: the Adafruit breakout board, Pico-Platinchen, the Tindie board, and the Arduino 9-axis shield.

Bosch Sensortec BNO055 Absolute Orientation Sensor

Bosch Sensortec BNO055 Absolute Orientation Sensor

Adafruit introduced a BNO055 breakout board in spring 2015 in which Lady Ada herself proclaimed that the BNO055 is the “the secret sauce that blends accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope data into stable three-axis orientation output.”

Guido Burger, an engineer and maker from Fab-Lab Europe presents Pico-Platinchen, a tiny board used for quick development of use-cases. Burger explains that Pico-Platinchen was born in order to establish the newest platform for wearable devices; the tiny board is coin-sized and can be sewn into any fabric, or implemented in wearable jewelry as seen below.

3D printed ring with Arduino compatible pico-Platinchen

3D printed ring with Arduino compatible pico-Platinchen

Tindie: where hardware comes to life. They boast themselves as a community marketplace of hardware creators and enthusiasts, which allows makers from all over the world to access their board. This is most certainly the case with Tindies new release of a BNO055 board that is also made for the wearable market.

Last but not least, the Arduino 9-axis shield: is yet another board for the Arduino community with a BNO055 sensor. This increases the total amount of available evaluation platforms on the market for the ever-growing Community of Makers.

Arduino 9 Axes Motion Shield

Arduino 9 Axes Motion Shield

Weren’t those the days when the customers themselves had to figure out a way to develop their own sensor fusion software, and purchase a license from a third party? And even this was only exclusively available to an elite group of customers who had all the resources to choose the best sensors and sensor fusion firmware from the selection on the available market. Though they had many resources to choose from, they still had to do the integration themselves in their application processor with support from the sensor manufacturer, and the sensor fusion supplier. Only those who have gone through this know what integration effort really means.

By creating the BNO055 absolute orientation sensor – a turnkey solution to the market – we have made this technology accessible not only to big OEMs, but also to the makers and the startups. A sensor that is already programmed with the sensor fusion algorithm in the 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller enables customers to use their imagination to create and produce their ideas faster and more efficiently.

This allows the programmers to focus their efforts on innovative projects and out-of-the-box ideas, rather than spending countless hours writing their own sensor-fusion software thereby overloading their application processor.

The Maker Movement is growing as we speak, and there is not one maker who wouldn’t be amazed by the ease and functionality of the BNO055. For those of you who enjoy taking things apart just to put them back together, those of you who spend your evenings and weekends building robots the BNO055 sensor is the optimal solution; and most importantly, those of you who have ever been afraid to fail: if a spunky eight year old is not afraid of failing, you shouldn’t be either.

1 comment on “BNO055: A Sensor for the Makers Community

  1. ChristopherJames
    September 12, 2018

    It is a bit too ambitious if you are willing to take any risks that come your way when you have an idea that you think is brilliant. However, that is always the scenario in the maker's industry. You would need to know where to begin in order to achieve that eventual result of yours. If you are too afraid to take that leap, then you might just end up pondering on things and never get started, ever.

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