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Raspberry Pi based sensor kit offers Google Cloud analytics

Oct 29, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1246 views

RS Components has launched UrsaLeo’s “UrsaLeo Pi” kit, which combines a Raspberry Pi 3 and a 2.4GHz radio equipped Silicon Labs Thunderboard 2 sensor board that connects to Google Cloud.

UK-based distributor RS Components announced the availability of San Francisco based UrsaLeo’s UrsaLeo Pi IoT development kit. UrsaLeo’s kit, which was recently introduced by Mouser under its original “UrsaLeo UL-RPI1S2R2” name, is designed to send sensor input to Google Cloud for storage and analytics. The kit is designed for Industry 4.0, automotive diagnostics, healthcare, and general data monitoring.

The UrsaLeo Pi offers the same Silicon Labs Thunderboard Sense 2 sensor board found on UrsaLeo’s earlier UrsaLeo UrsaCloud UltraLite, also called the UrsaLeo UltraLite or UL-NXP1S2R2. While the UltraLite kit combines the Thunderboard 2 with NXP’s official development board for its Cortex-A7 based iMX6 UltraLite (UL) SoC, the UrsaLeo Pi uses a more powerful Raspberry Pi 3 SBC.

Ursaleo Pi (left) and closeup of Thunderboard 2 board
(click images to enlarge)

The UltraLite version offers more better debugging functionality than the Pi, as well as reduced “restrictions on hardware re-use,” says RS Components. However, the Pi version is faster and much cheaper. It costs 154 Pounds ($197) without VAT at RS Components compared to 455 Pounds ($582) for the UltraLite. Mouser’s prices are $195 and $550, respectively.


The Thunderboard Sensor 2 (or Thunderboard 2) board provides temperature, humidity, UV, ambient light, barometric pressure, indoor air quality, and gas sensors. You also get a 6-axis inertial sensor, a digital microphone, and a Hall sensor. The board is equipped with Silicon Labs’ EFR32 Mighty Gecko multi-protocol radio, which supports 2.4GHz wireless technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Thread, ZigBee, or proprietary short-range protocols.

Ursaleo UltraLite (left) and Ursaleo Pi dashboard
(click images to enlarge)

The kit is pre-loaded with an OTA-updatable Linux stack based on Yocto Project code. It automatically links up to a pre-registered Google Cloud account. Up to 50MB of data per month can be sent to the cloud platform free of charge.

A customizable dashboard “allows users to view sensor data and launch IoT applications such as storage and analytics,” says RS Components. The dashboard, which can be shared with third parties, is said to streamline the addition of new sensors and support user-definable events to trigger alerts.

Sample applications and APIs are provided to manage sensors, run diagnostics, and share information with enterprise or business intelligence applications. The shopping page lists the inclusion of Bluetooth sensor and Ethernet connectivity code samples.

We saw no technical details on how the two boards connect or whether any of the Pi’s GPIO remains accessible when connected to the Thunderboard 2. Mouser, however, mentions that the kit includes a Strontronics universal power supply for the Pi.

Further information

The UrsaLeo Pi (UL-RPI1S2R2) is available (including the Raspberry Pi 3) at RS Components for 154 Pounds ($197). It’s available at Mouser for $195. More information may be found in the RS Components UrsaLeo Pi announcement, as well as Mouser’s UrsaLeo Pi product page and the UrsaLeo website.


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