Arduino Nicla Sense ME: The IoT Revolution in a Pocket-Sized Powerhouse

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The Arduino Nicla Sense ME is an incredibly small Arduino development board that integrates multiple processors, sensors, and other hardware needed to create powerful industrial, commercial, and IoT projects. Now, when I first saw the price tag for this thing, I was a tad shocked, thinking that there had been a mistake. But, and I cannot stress this enough, when I found out what this thing can do, I totally understood the price tag!

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What is the Arduino Nicla Sense ME?

So, to start, the Nicla Sense ME integrates a whole range of Bosch sensors capable of sensing the surrounding environment, including temperature, humidity, magnetic fields, and numerous gasses. It also incorporates a low-power ARM Cortex M4 as well as edge-AI capabilities, which is utterly insane when seeing how small this board is. There is so much stuff packed into this board, you will struggle not to find applications for it.

Review the Nicla Sense ME datasheet here.

Arduino Nicla Sense ME sensors

Features and specs of the Arduino Nicla Sense ME

Getting down to specifics, let’s start with the many sensors that this board packs, and they include the BMM150 magnetometer, BMP390 pressure sensor, BME688 4-in-1 gas sensor, and the BHI260AP motion sensor. Two of these sensors, the BME688 gas sensor and BHI260AP motion sensor, integrate AI engines that can, and I kid you not, self-learn. This means that during their operation, they can detect specific patterns (such as jogging and walking), as well as identify anomalies from normal operation. 

Arduino Nicla Sense ME pinout diagram

With regards to computation power, the Arduino Nicla Sense ME integrates an nRF52832 SoC which includes a 64MHz ARM Cortex M4, 64KB SRAM, 512KB Flash, SPI, I2C, 12-bit ADC, and Bluetooth 5.0 (4.2 if using the ArduinoBLE stack). A smaller microcontroller (the ATSAMD11D14A) is used as a Serial to USB bridge and as a debugger port, which makes programming and debugging a breeze. 

The Arduino Nicla Sense ME also incorporates a battery connector for use with portable power sources, castellated holes around the edge for soldering directly onto PCBs, and a weight of just 2g with dimensions of 22.86mm x 22.86mm, which is obscene for something with this many features.

Arduino Nicla  nRF52832 SoC

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What projects can you do with the Arduino Nicla Sense ME?

One project that the Arduino Nicla Sense ME would be ideal for is predictive maintenance in machinery. Just about any appliance with a large motor, such as a dishwasher, washing machine, or tumble dryer, can have this board attached to it to monitor the vibration, temperature, and even magnetic signature of that appliance. During operation, if small vibrations or unexpected changes in its sensory signature are detected by the AI, it could be used to alert you that the appliance may soon fail. 

View the offical project tutorials on the Ardunio website.

Another potential use for the Arduino Nicla Sense ME is as a wearable fitness tracker. The ability for the motion sensor to detect different activities (and using AI to better distinguish between these activities as it is used), enables for this device to track all kinds of data points. Furthermore, the ambient temperature, humidity, pressure, and gas sensors could even be used to provide early warning notifications on potentially harmful environments.


The low-energy nature of this board also makes the Arduino Nicla Sense ME super ideal for IoT applications (check out a good example here) that need to run for extended periods of time, periodically send data, and have the ability to monitor their surrounding environment. For example, this board could be used to monitor indoor air quality, and send signals to a remote server to make adjustments in thermostats and window controls. 

Are you intrested in learning how to use the Nicla Sense? Take a look at the getting started guide on the Arduino website.

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Should you buy the Arduino Nicla Sense ME?

In conclusion, the Nicla Sense ME is an extremely small, yet really powerful, development board that packs one hell of a punch. With its numerous AI-powered sensors, this thing is arguably more intelligent than the people who I am currently looking at, and the ability to detect temperature, pressure, motion, magnetic fields, and volatile gasses means that nothing, and I mean nothing, will get past this thing. So, if you are looking to create bleeding-edge projects for use in IoT, wearable, or industrial applications, head over to the Electromaker store where you can find all the parts you need to get making!


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