UniHiker evaluate – A Linux-based STEM schooling platform with IoT and AI help, Micro:bit edge connector

DFRobot’s UniHiker is a STEM tutorial platform that used to be at first introduced in China, however now UniHiker is now to be had international during the DFRobot store. The corporate has despatched us a UniHiker pattern for evaluate, so let’s unpack the equipment and learn to utility the UniHiker platform. The primary constituent of the equipment is the Linux-powered UniHiker board which includes a 2.8-inch resistive touchscreen show and a BBC Micro:bit edge connector, so we will be able to utility enlargement forums for the Micro:bit board. Let’s get started unboxing it in combination.

UniHiker unboxing

DFRobot despatched us the UniHiker platform by way of DHL. The bundle is a familiar-looking DFRobot field in orange colour and springs with a plastic field to soundly bundle the UniHiker board and equipment next utility.

DFRobot Unihiker Unboxing

The plastic field accommodates every other plastic field with the board, some 3-pin and 4-pin cables for Gravity ports, and a USB Sort-C cable.

DFRobot UniHiker display
2.8-inch show with resistive touchscreen
DFRobot UniHiker board
Unihiker board with Rockchip RK3308 processor

The UniHiker is sort of a super-powered BBC Micro:bit with a 2.8-inch colour show with 320×240 answer changing the 5×5 LED matrix at the BBC board, a Rockchip RK3308 quad-core Cortex-A35 processor operating Linux and ready to deal with IoT and AI workloads, and diverse sensors equivalent to a microphone, a sunny sensor, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope.

Unihiker specs

We’ve already coated Unihiker specs in our preliminary announcement, however right here they’re once more for reference:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3308 quad-core Arm Cortex-A35 processor @ 1.2GHz with out GPU
  • MCU – Gigadevice GD32VF103C8T6 RISC-V microcontroller @ 108MHz with 64KB flash, 32KB SRAM
  • Device Reminiscence – 512MB DDR3
  • Store – 16GB eMMC flash, MicroSD card socket
  • Show – 2.8-inch resistive touchscreen colour show with 320×240 answer
  • Connectivity – 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.0 by the use of RTL8723DS module
  • USB
    • 1x USB Sort-C port for energy and programming
    • 1x USB Sort-A number port for peripherals
  • Sensors
    • Luminous Sensor (PT0603)
    • 6-axis accelerator and gyroscope (ICM20689)
    • Integrated microphone
  • Enlargement
    • 2x 4-pin Gravity I2C headers
    • 4x 3-pin Gravity header with 10-bit PWM, 2x 12-bit ADC
    • Micro:bit suitable edge connector with as much as 19x GPIO, I2C, UART, 2x SPI, 6x 12-bit ADC, and 5x 10-bit PWM
  • Misc – House button, A/B buttons, passive buzzer, Blue LED
  • Energy Provide
    • 5V by the use of USB Sort-C port (No longer the 3V/GND pin at the edge connector cannot be impaired for energy
    • Running voltage – 3.3V
    • Most wave – 2,000 mA
  • Dimensions – 83 x 51.3 x 13 mm

Occasion the Rockchip processor runs Linux, the GD32VF103 microcontroller handles all sensors – aside from the microphone – and controls the entire actuators as proven within the prevent diagram underneath.

Rockchip RK3308 GD32V connection diagram
Unihiker board prevent diagram

Additional information about the pins attached to the GD32VF103 RISC-V MCU can also be clear within the representation underneath.

UniHiker pinout diagram
Pinout diagrams


First run

The UniHiker board will robotically boot after we powered it from its USB Sort-C port and temporarily display a menu-style GUI known as House menu the place we will be able to make a choice all menus. There are 8 other divisions as proven within the video underneath and this permits us to configure the board with no need to utility a pc.

Community connection configuration

The UniHiker board can also be attached to the community for programming or the use of the Web in 4 other ways:

  • USB
  • Wi-Fi
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • USB to Ethernet

Let’s check 3 of the techniques:

  1. Visible the Wi-Fi hotspot and utility your pc to join to it, nearest observable a internet browser out of your pc to arrange a Wi-Fi connection to the UniHiker board during the internet interface.

    Unihiker Hotspot
    Putting in a hotspot

  2. Attach a USB Sort-C cable between your pc and the UniHiker board, nearest observable a internet browser window out of your pc to the IP deal with to arrange a Wi-Fi connection for the UniHiker board.

    UniHiker USB-C WiFi setup
    WiFi hotspot configured over USB-C

  3. Attach the USB Sort-C cable between the pc and the UniHiker board, which shall be clear as an Ethernet tool with the IP deal with Be aware that this mode calls for a USB cable to be attached all the time.UniHiker USB Ethernet

Checking out IoT with the Unihiker platform

The UniHiker board comes with a integrated IoT carrier platform known as SIoT (Science and Easy Web of Issues), which is composed of an MQTT dealer and a knowledge visualization platform. Written in Python, the platform supplies a very easy technique to bundle and export IoT knowledge.

Assessment of the capability of the SIoT platform

The SIoT platform is an MQTT dealer that transfers knowledge between IoT units. The platform’s challenge ID and tool ID construction are designed to be uncomplicated to govern with out the consumer having to develop a challenge or tool within the gadget. The SIoT platform robotically generates a challenge ID and tool ID from the title of the subject despatched to the gadget formatted the use of projectId/deviceId.

DFRobot siot topic

Enabling SioT at the Uniker platform

We wish to test the SIoT situation at the UniHiker board by way of getting access to the Provider Toggle menu on the internet interface and create positive it’s enabled.

siot status

We will now click on at the “Open Page” button to hurry us to the login web page (the use of port 8080) the place the default username and password are siot:dfrobot.

siot login pageFrom there, we will be able to get right of entry to the Venture record, Software Record, and Ship message tabs. As described above, the subject constructor will robotically generate a challenge and a tool.

siot project list

Checking out the SIoT platform with MQTTX

We can be sending values to the SIoT platform with the MQTTX program as we in the past did with GL.iNet GL-S10 BLE to MQTT gateway by way of putting in the relationship as follows.

mqttx setup for UniHiker
Connection setup for the SIoT platform in MQTTX program

and nearest put up a message to a subject matter named cnx-software/hi the use of a JSON payload.

MQTTX SIoT publish

You’re going to see a challenge named cnx-software seem and a tool known as hi displayed within the tool division.

SIoT Device List

One particular detail of the SIoT platform is the facility to make a choice whether or not the knowledge despatched is a command or telemetry knowledge for era order to be stored right into a database. If the message begins ->, it’s going to be detected as a command that is probably not stored to the database.

Programming the UniHiker platform

The UniHiker board can also be programmed in 4 other ways:

Jupyter Pocket book – We will observable the internet interface, input the IP deal with of the UniHiker board, and get started programming instantly.

UniHiker jupyter notebook

Terminal – Attach to the board by the use of SSH and program it from there the use of a Python script, or alternative programming languages to be had in Linux.

Unihiker ssh

Microsoft VS Code

UniHiker programming vscode

Thoughts+ seeing programming – Be aware: the installer is set 1 GB in measurement.


We will run check methods the use of the house menu at the display screen of the UniHiker board by way of settling on the “2-Run Programs” menu and the listing the place this system is stored. A listing of recordsdata will nearest seem and we will be able to click on at the desired record to run this system.

UniHiker Test Program
Systems evolved with Jupyter, VS Code, and Thoughts+

A flexible platform

The UniHiker board is a flexible platform and we will be able to develop all kinds of STEM initiatives together with IoT programs for the Mischievous House, Mischievous Agriculture, and so forth. That’s as a result of we will be able to join extra sensors by the use of USB Sort-C and Sort-A ports, 3-/4-pin Gravity attached, the Micro:bit edge connector, be it webcam, a driving force, a servo, or alternative sensors and actuator, and as the UniHiker board runs at the Linux working gadget so we’ve got a massive number of methods that may be put in such because the Node-RED platform to utility as an IoT gateway to govern alternative IoT units equivalent to ESP32 modules and board during the SIoT platform.

UniHiker AI USB webcam
We’ve attached a USB webcam to the UniHiker board to run a picture processing workload (face detection) from a Python code pattern from DFRobot


The UniHiker board is an intermediate board between extra robust unmarried board computer systems and microcontroller forums. The platform is acceptable for each rookies and complex scholars by way of providing the facility to check methods proper out of the field, Thoughts+ seeing programming for rookies, and as much as VS Code or Jupyter Pocket book for college scholars. An added bonus is the easy-to-use SIoT IoT platform.

Educators may additionally respect the numerous tutorials supplied by way of DFRobot for educating STEM. Next checking out the UniHiker for multiple era, we had been fairly inspired by way of the platform. However having mentioned that, there are nonetheless some options that may be additional evolved, equivalent to a Internet-based model of Thoughts+, as a result of maximum pupils in number one college (in Thailand) are principally the use of pills operating both Android or iOS working techniques. Its PC-only help makes it tough for college kids to utility outdoor of faculty when compared to a few alternative STEM schooling platforms.

We’d love to thank DFRobot for sending us the UniHiker board for evaluate and checking out. If you have an interest you’ll be able to purchase the equipment for $79.90 plus transport.

CNXSoft: It is a translation of the unedited UniHiker evaluate on CNX Instrument Thailand by way of Arnon Thongtem

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