Tindie Blog | Embedded with Swift: SwiftIO Boards


There have been many projects over the last 5-10 years to introduce new languages to the embedded development space. While they still haven’t made huge inroads against C/C++ in the professional embedded development world, in the hobbyist world projects like Micro/CircuitPython and Espruino have strong followings. Well, you can now add Swift to that list! Yes, the Apple-created but now fully open-source language has made its way into the embedded sphere, thanks to the SwiftIO Mainboard and the SwiftIO Playground!

Using a combination of Swift, the Zephyr RTOS and a powerful i.MX RT1062 microcontroller, the basic development system uses Visual Studio Code and a library simply called SwiftIO. The communication with the board is all built into the Visual Studio Code extension created by the developers. Once your code is ready, simply compile and hit the download button, and the code is programmed into the board and starts executing!

The benefit of higher-level languages like Swift is in prototyping speed and ease of use. It’s straightforward to quickly sketch out your ideas, even complex ones, and let the library handle the nitty-gritty complexity behind the scenes. This can make getting a new project up and running extremely fast, with fewer debug cycles and often easier-to-read code.

The SwiftIO Playground Kit includes the main board and a huge number of sensors and actuators to play with, all housed in a nice case. As delivered, all the components are connected via the carrier PCB, allowing you to get started right away without having to wire up a single jumper. If you later decide to use just a few components in a project, they all easily snap out of the PCB and then can be connected with common 4-pin JST PH connectors (aka Grove/STEMMA connectors).

If you’re a Swift expert and have wanted to get into the world of embedded electronics, this looks like a great way to get started!



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