One of the main features and unbeatable strengths of open source hardware is the number of ways in which it can be used, modified, and improved upon. HealthyPi v4 aims to provide all of these features by allowing you to add functionality by re-programming the firmware, developing new UI elements, and integrating additional hardware.
The idea behind including Qwiic connectors on HealthyPi v4 (there are two on-board) is to simplify the process of adding sensors, displays, and additional actuators from the Sparkfun Qwiic portfolio. Qwiic's ever growing range of sensors makes prototyping simpler, connections less complex (no soldering required), and I²C interface libraries easier to use. The video below shows how easy it is to connect Sparkfun's Qwiic microOLED display to render HealthyPi v4 output.
HealthyPi v4 ships with support for Arduino software that is simple enough for beginners, powerful enough for advanced users, and flexible enough to let you code the way you want to. Adding applications to the basic HealthyPi v4 sketch, within Arduino IDE, is as simple as installing the required driver libraries from the IDE'S Library manager. After adding the library, simply include the relevant header files and add the initializing code. At that point, you can start reading from sensors and writing to output devices from the main loop!
In some cases where you need maximum performance, improved compatibility, and low overhead, you might want to use the native SDK. ESP-IDF is Espressif's official development SDK for the on-board ESP32-WROOM32 module. ESP-IDF also helps you understand what is happening under the hood. We will provide a version of the basic program for the ESP-IDF in addition to the Arduino sketch and libraries.
How about creating a vital signs monitor that also keeps track of air quality and correlates the results? Or one that includes an Inertial Measuring Unit (IMU) to combine health data with activity data? Or make your own activity monitoring smartwatch? The possibilities are endless. For more on this topic, stay tuned for next week's update!