Adafruit’s Top Ten New Products of 2020 #AdafruitTopTen

Adafruit top 10 2020 blog

Adafruit’s Top Ten New Products of 2020 #AdafruitTopTen


To retire this very long year in the books, here are our top 10 New Products from 2020!

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10. Adafruit PMSA003I Air Quality Breakout – STEMMA QT / Qwiic

Breathe easy, knowing that you can track and sense the quality of the air around you with this Adafruit PMSA003I Air Quality Breakout. This sensor is great for monitoring air quality, in a compact plug-in format.

Best of all, unlike almost all other sensors we’ve seen that are UART interface, this one is an I2C interface, which makes it a great match for single-board Linux computers like Raspberry Pi, or even plain Arduino UNO’s that normally would use software serial.

If you’re an I2C fan (who isn’t?), we’ve included two of our handy dandy SparkFun Qwiic compatible STEMMA QT connectors for the I2C bus so you don’t even need to solder! Plug and play with other ‘QT boards and sensors to add quick air quality sensing.


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9. Adafruit Bonsai Buckaroo – micro:bit & CLUE Plant Care Helper

We can’t wait for spring to arrive, and we’re looking forward to caring for some plants! We designed this little add-on for micro:bit or CLUE boards – bolt it on with 5 screws to get a buzzer/beeper, motor driver, and breakouts for connecting a soil sensor (two alligator clips + nails work just fine). Simple, but effective!

  • 8mm Buzzer/Speaker on pin P0 – have your plant kit beep when it wants watering, or have it sing a song when it’s nice and happy.
  • 3V Motor control (on/off) on pin P2 – connect to a water pump to automatically water dry plants
    Alligator clip pads for pin P1, 3V, and GND – connect to two alligator clips and nails to measure soil resistance

Works with micro:bit in Arduino, MicroPython, or MakeCode. For CLUE, you can use CircuitPython or Arduino.


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8. Adafruit CLUE – nRF52840 Express with Bluetooth LE

Do you feel like you just don’t have a CLUE? Well, we can help with that – get a CLUE here at Adafruit by picking up this sensor-packed development board. We wanted to build some projects that have a small screen and a lot of sensors. To make it compatible with existing projects, we made it the same shape and size as the BBC micro:bit and with the same edge-connector on the bottom with 5 big pads so it will fit into your existing robot kit or ‘bit add-on.


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7. Adafruit Matrix Portal – CircuitPython Powered Internet Display

Folks love our wide selection of RGB matrices and accessories for making custom colorful LED displays… and our RGB Matrix Shields and FeatherWings can be quickly soldered together to make the wiring much easier. But what if we made it even easier than that? Like, no solder, no wiring, just instant plug-and-play? Dream no more – with the Adafruit Matrix Portal add-on for RGB Matrices, there’s never been an easier way to create powerful Internet-connected LED displays.


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6. Adafruit Voice Bonnet for Raspberry Pi -Two Speakers + Two Mics

Your Raspberry Pi computer is like an electronic brain – and with the Adafruit Voice Bonnet, you can give it a mouth and ears as well! Featuring two microphones and two 1 Watt speaker outputs using a high-quality I2S codec, this Pi add-on will work with any Raspberry Pi with a 2×20 connector – from the Pi Zero up to the Pi 4 and beyond (basically all but the very first ones made).

The on-board WM8960 codec uses I2S digital audio for great quality recording and playback – so it sounds a lot better than the headphone jack on the Pi (or the no-headphone jack on a Pi Zero). We put ferrite beads and filter capacitors on every input and output to get the best possible performance, and all at a great price.

We specifically designed this bonnet for use with making machine learning projects such as DIY voice assistants – for example, see this guide on creating a DIY Google Assistant. But you could do various voice-activated or voice recognition projects. With two microphones, basic voice position can be detected as well.


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5. Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Sense

The Adafruit Feather Bluefruit Sense takes our popular Feather nRF52840 Express and adds a smorgasbord of sensors to make a great wireless sensor platform. This Feather microcontroller comes with Bluetooth Low Energy and native USB support featuring the nRF52840!  This Feather is an ‘all-in-one’ Arduino-compatible + Bluetooth Low Energy with built-in USB plus battery charging. With native USB it works great with CircuitPython, too.

Like the Feather nRF52840, this chip comes with Arduino IDE support – you can program the nRF52840 chip directly to take full advantage of the Cortex-M4 processor, and then calling into the Nordic SoftDevice radio stack when you need to communicate over BLE. Since the underlying API and peripherals are the same for the ‘832 and ‘840, you can supercharge your older nRF52832 projects with the same exact code, with a single recompile!

This Feather is also a BLE-friendly CircuitPython board! CircuitPython works best with disk drive access, and this is the only BLE-plus-USB-native chip that has the memory to handle running a little Python interpreter. The massive RAM and speedy Cortex M4F chip make this a good match. Make centrals or peripherals with the ease of CircuitPython.


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4. Raspberry Pi 400 – Full Computer Kit

Raspberry Pi 400 is a complete Raspberry Pi 4-based personal computer, integrated into a keyboard. The Pi 4 is the first computer from the Pi Foundation that really feels ‘desktop computer’ speed – you can use it as an everyday computer at a great price!

Normally you’d need to pick up a keyboard and other accessories to turn the Pi 4 into a functioning desktop – but since most keyboards have empty space in them, you can just cram the Pi 4 inside to make an all-in-one kit. Think of it like a modern Apple IIe, but super light and powerful.


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3. Adafruit BrainCraft HAT – Machine Learning for Raspberry Pi 4

The idea behind the BrainCraft HAT is that you’d be able to “craft brains” for Machine Learning on the EDGE, with Microcontrollers & Microcomputers. On ASK AN ENGINEER, our founder & engineer chatted with Pete Warden, the technical lead of the mobile, embedded TensorFlow Group on Google’s Brain team about what would be ideal for a board like this.

And here’s what we designed! The BrainCraft HAT has a 240×240 TFT IPS display for inference output, slots for camera connector cable for imaging projects, a 5-way joystick, button for UI input, left and right microphones, stereo headphone out, stereo 1 W speaker out, three RGB DotStar LEDs, two 3 pin STEMMA connectors on PWM pins so they can drive NeoPixels or servos, and Grove/STEMMA/Qwiic I2C port. This will let people build a wide range of audio/video AI projects while also allowing easy plug-in of sensors and robotics!

A controllable mini fan attaches to the bottom and can be used to keep your Pi cool while doing intense AI inference calculations. Most importantly, there’s an On/Off switch that will completely disable the audio codec, so that when it’s off there’s no way it’s listening to you.


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2. Adafruit MagTag – 2.9″ Grayscale E-Ink WiFi Display

The Adafruit MagTag combines the new ESP32-S2 wireless module and a 2.9″ grayscale E-Ink display to make a low-power IoT display that can show data on its screen even when power is removed! The ESP32-S2 is great because it builds on the years of code and support for the ESP32 and also adds native USB support so you can use this board with Arduino or CircuitPython!

We designed this board to be low-power friendly – with a spot for a 350 or 420 mAh battery and built-in battery charging over USB C. During deep sleep, with the NeoPixels and speaker amplifier disabled, we measured 250uA power draw so you can run for a few weeks between charges.

And of course, the Mag in MagTag stands for magneticWe have four M3 standoffs that will work perfectly with these mini magnet feet. (Originally they’re designed for RGB Matrices but they’ll do an excellent job here as well). Screw on the feet and you can attach this display to a metallic shelf, fridge, or bench.


1. Adafruit QT Py – SAMD21 Dev Board with STEMMA QT

What a cutie pie! Or is it… a QT Py? This diminutive dev board comes with our favorite lil chip, the SAMD21 (as made famous in our GEMMA M0 and Trinket M0 boards).

This time it comes with our favorite connector – the STEMMA QT, a chainable I2C port that can be used with any of our STEMMA QT sensors and accessories.

OLEDs! Inertial Measurement Units! Sensors a-plenty. All plug-and-play thanks to the innovative chainable design: SparkFun Qwiic-compatible STEMMA QT connectors for the I2C bus so you don’t even need to solder! Just plug in a compatible cable and attach it to your MCU of choice, and you’re ready to load up some software and measure some light.


Honorable Mention:

Adafruit Prop-Maker Starter Kit – Make your own Lightsaber!

Szoom woom woom!

Use the force and Adafruit Feather to build a battle-grade lightsaber! If you can’t make the hyperspeed jump to Ilum for your Jedi rite of passage, the Adafruit Prop-Maker Starter Kit is perfect for making your very own 3D-printed NeoPixel Lightsaber. It contains practically everything but the khyber crystal, and you get 25% off the price of purchasing all the parts separately!

Use your maker skills and become the Jedi (or Sith!) you were meant to be! Construct your own lightsaber using 3D printed parts and electronics from Adafruit. This advanced prop uses an accelerometer to detect swings and hits to trigger super-bright NeoPixels with full-sound FX!


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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