The only Arduino shield that can communicate with an Android device and provide many sensors and advanced features? Yes, it’s a thing now. 1Sheeld, actually.

From developers Integreight 1Sheeld blew its admittedly modest Kickstarter goal of $10k out of the water 8 times, but it’s now available to everyone from Amazon for $55. 1Sheeld is not intended to replace Arduino — it complements it by giving your Arduino projects access to the full set of smartphone sensor data and more. I can’t tell you about alternatives because there aren’t any.


No bigger than any other standard Arduino shield, 1Sheeld is based on the ATMEGA162 and includes a BlueTooth module on the bottom. The pin configuration is such that you will need Arduino Uno version 3 or newer (other Arduino models may vary, but anything newer than Uno rev3 should work). Each pin goes through so you can place additional shields on top, or use standard I/O pins as needed with adapter cables.

1sheeld - content

Two toggle switches are attached to the board. The first one chooses between 5V and 3.3V; 5v is the standard for use with most Arduinos, so if you’re not sure which one to use, use 5v.

The second switch, labeled UART SWITCH, will be in constant use; it switches between BlueTooth communication and Arduino programming mode. This is because it uses the same set of serial communication pins for both functions, but it’s not hard to figure out. If you find that sensor data is not being received, toggle it — it won’t break the board if you get it wrong.

1sheeld - underside

3 micro LEDs show sending, receiving and BlueTooth status.

All in all, this is a very professionally made shield with solid solder joints and a well thought out design. White on black labels are crisp and easy to read, with no typos or misplacement.


By my count, there are currently 37 different «shields» that 1Sheeld can emulate. 11 of them are touch screens such as accelerometer, light, gyroscope, pressure. 10 more basic input/output operations such as: buzzer, keyboard, microphone, gamepad and various buttons. Another 7 manage communications and social networks: Twitter, Facebook, phone, email, Skype. Finally, there are 9 special function screens, including: voice recognition, speech synthesis, notifications, camera, LCD and data logger. You simply click on them in the app to add this functionality, although some will require additional configuration, such as Twitter authorization.

1sheeld - associated with android

I think we can all agree that this is a phenomenal list of features — the sheer price of all these features from a single $55 purchase is pretty amazing (not including your phone, of course).


For your very first project, I would recommend simply going through the getting started tutorial on the 1Sheeld website. In it, you will upload sample code to your Arduino that listens to the smartphone’s microphone level and then processes the logic to chirp a message.

Once you’ve downloaded the sample code, switch the UART-SWITCH to the associated icon (which allows connection to your phone) and press SCAN on the app. After that, it’s a simple case of turning on the microphone screen and Twitter.

At first my mic level never went over 50, so the tweet just didn’t work — you may also need to adjust the sample Arduino code to work at a lower level. It worked well and here is the tweet he created (you need to authenticate on the android side so he knows who to send from):

It’s important to note that the logic for this worked on the Arduino itself — 1Sheeld didn’t connect the microphone and the Twitter shields in any way — it just passed the microphone level to the Arduino and provided a function for posting tweets. At any time, you can add your own physical components or replacement functions, and the program will still function as intended.

1sheeld - installed

After that, I was very eager to try out the voice recognition features to interact with my newly built giant LED display (only 210 pixels — tutorial coming soon!). Integrating the voice recognition sketch example with my Adafruit Matrix library test code took the full 5 minutes, creating the voice control demo you can see in the video at the beginning of the review.

To be honest, I felt like I was being deceived. Doing incredible things with an Arduino really shouldn’t be that easy!

Should I buy 1Sheeld?

1Sheeld is an incredibly smart kit, no doubt about it. The range of features it adds; the sensors it can become; the absolute versatility is outstanding.

1sheeld - side mounted

I think 1Sheeld is perfect for two situations.

First, if you’ve purchased an Arduino Starter Kit (what to expect in an Arduino starter kit), completed all of the included projects, and are starting to get bored, 1Sheeld will keep you up to date for at least another year or so — with that, you you can do a lot. You will add completely new dimensions to your project that are simply not possible with conventional hardware screens (such as voice recognition), so your imagination will be taken to the next limit.

However, it won’t be useful for long-term embedded projects — it should stay tied to your phone after all. If you only use one relatively simple aspect of 1Sheeld that can be implemented with a $5 component, it’s completely impossible to keep a dedicated $55 1Sheeld and Android phone for that purpose. This brings me to the second use case: when you desperately want to start programming, but some critical sensor or special shield hasn’t arrived yet. Instead of delaying a project or tricking a function into working with random numbers, you can get stuck right in.

In this regard, 1Sheeld is an amazing workshop kit. Inspiring new ideas and facilitating prototyping is exactly what Arduino is designed to do.

recommends: Do you have an Arduino and an Arduino? Buy 1Sheeld. It’s really that simple.

How can I win 1Sheeld?

Enter Competition

The winner will be chosen at random and informed by email. View the list of winners here.

Submit your products for review. Contact James Bruce for more information.

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