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Espressif Systems presents ESP32-S3-BOX-3 AIoT kit

Aug 28, 2023 — by Giorgio Mendoza 3,313 views

A few days ago, Espressif Systems unveiled a new development kit, the ESP32-S3-BOX-3, featuring the latest ESP32-S3 System-on-Chip and offering support for the Matter ecosystem. This device is targeted at hobbyists, educators, and makers, thanks to its versatile peripherals and range of open-source tools.

As its name implies, the BOX-3 accommodates the ESP32-S3 SoC which has the following architecture:  

  • ESP32-S3Xtensa 32-bit LX7 dual core (up to 240MHz); 512KB + 8MB RAM; 16 MB Flash storage; 2.4GHz Wi-Fi/BLE 5.0

ESP32-S3 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The product announcement indicates that the BOX-3 includes an additional 16MB of Quad flash and 16MB of Octal PSRAM besides the 512KB SRAM present in the ESP32-S3.

ESP32-S3-BOX-3 peripherals
(click image to enlarge)

The BOX-3 also offers compatibility with four new Expressif accessories designed to expand its capabilities: ESP32-S3-BOX-3-SENSOR, ESP32-S3-BOX-3-DOCK, ESP32-S3-BOX-3-BREAD, and ESP32-S3-BOX-3-BRACKET.

Both ESP32-S3-BOX-3-SENSOR and ESP32-S3-BOX-3-DOCK share a similar appearance. However, the former is equipped with a 18650 rechargeable battery slot, a microSD card slot, a temperature sensor, an IR emitter, and a radar sensor.

In contrast, the latter accessory features a PMOD compatible header that provides convenient access to 16 programmable GPIOs, a USB Host interface, and a power input interface.

ESP32-S3-BOX-3 ecosystem
(click image to enlarge)

The ESP32-S3-BOX-3-BREAD serves as an adapter, offering a 36-pin PCIe connector, 2x rows of 2.54mm pins that are compatible with breadboards, and 16 programmable GPIOs.

On the other hand, the ESP32-S3-BOX-3-BRACKET is designed as an adapter specifically for swiftly integrating AI voice, HMI, wireless connectivity, and other functionalities into non-smart devices.

ESP32-S3-BOX-3 accessories
(click image to enlarge)

Espressif System states that the BOX-3 can serve multiple functions, such as a Thread border router, a Matter gateway, or a Matter over Wi-Fi/Thread end device. For additional technical details, see the Espressif System GitHub page.

A few open-source tools seamlessly compatible with this device include ESP RainMaker. This tool facilitates easy GPIO setup and management of offline voice commands for the BOX-3. Additionally, there’s ESP Insights, offering a remote diagnostic solution to monitor the BOX-3’s status.

The company also highlights the device’s compatibility with Home Assistant, described as an open-source and cost-effective alternative to Amazon Echo and Google Home. Further details about the Home Assistant can found on the Willow GitHub repository and its Wiki.

Specifications listed for the ESP32-S3-BOX-3 include:

  • Memory/Storage:
    • 16MB Quad Flash
    • 16MB Octal PSRAM
  • Display:
    • 2.4” LCD display w/ capacitive touch
  • Audio:
    • 2x Microphones
    • 1x Speaker
  • Connectivity:
    • Expansion connector (PCIe x1)
  • Expansion:
    • 1x 36-pin PCIe connector
  • USB:
    • USB input Serial/JTAG
  • Other Features:
    • 1x Power LED
    • 1x Mute LED
    • 1x Mute button
    • 1x Boot mode button
    • 1x Reset button
  • Power:
    • 5V (via USB Type-C)

Further information

The product page can be found on AliExpress, although the item is currently listed as out of stock as of the publication date. The ESP32-S3-BOX-3 is priced at $49.00 (excluding shipping). For more details, visit the product announcement.

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