Anvil, a popular web applications development tool has today announced a new toolkit developed for the recently released Raspberry Pi Pico W. The toolkit provides a means of communicating between a web application and a Raspberry Pi Pico W using nothing but Python.
This new toolkit brings secure IoT applications for the Wi-Fi enabled $6 microcontroller. Applications normally reserved for the more powerful, and hard to come by Raspberry Pi.
The magic which makes this possible is two-fold. A custom "Just Press Go" MicroPython UF2 firmware release and "Anvil Uplink", a two-way communication link between your physical project and Anvil's servers. Applications are written using pure Python via the Anvil online IDE and on the Raspberry Pi Pico W we write our code using MicroPython. The uplink enables transmission between the Pico W and Anvil's servers and via the online IDE we can easily create user interfaces to send messages to the Pico W, or receive data from the board.
The "Just Press Go" firmware image is just that. We had access to a pre-release image and within minutes had our Raspberry Pi Pico W connected to the Wi-Fi and to Anvil's servers. Via this firmware we have a lot of opportunities for invention. The low cost Raspberry Pi Pico W can work with common sensors and components, enabling projects such as remote data collection and robotics. Now with Anvil we can create GUI web applications for these projects using a drag and drop layout editor and Python code.
Anvil founder Meredydd Luff explains that Anvil's firmware offers a more secure IoT experience "Anvil have added proper TLS security to the Pico firmware, including enabling server certificate validation and making use of the Pico's real-time clock to verify certificate validity. These changes have been contributed back to the Micropython and Pico SDK projects."
The Anvil team have also been working on documentation for the Raspberry Pi Pico W toolkit and it can be found via Anvil's microsite. In just ten lines of code you can be controlling an LED on your Raspberry Pi Pico W from any location in the world. A few more lines and you can be collecting data from remote Pico W sensors, and displaying it all in your web browser.
With a low cost microcontroller, Anvil's new toolkit and a little imagination we can't wait to see what makers will do with this exciting new tech.