Getting Started

Working with the sensor API.

Working with Sensors

Netduino.Foundation has a huge list of supported peripherals, all exposed via a modern and efficient API. The sensor API, for instance, exposes sensor readings via both a traditional low-level polling API, in which readings are manually triggered via an Update() method, and a high-level event/notification architecture, in which the polling is automatic, and readings are surfaced via events.

Polling and Events

The eventing API allows sensors to raise events when a particular reading change crosses a specified threshold; notifying your application only as needed. With some sensors, they handle the change threshold checks natively and send an interrupt signal when a change large enough to raise an interrupt is detected. Most sensors, however, are polled by Netduino.Foundation in the background, and when a change is significant enough, an event is raised.

Consider the following example, which listens for temperature changes from an HIH6130 combined temperature and humidity sensor:

using Microsoft.SPOT;
using Netduino.Foundation.Sensors.Atmospheric;
using System.Threading;

namespace HIH6130InterruptSample
    public class Program
        public static void Main()
            //  Create a new HIH6130 and set the temperature change 
            // threshold to half a degree.
            var hih6130 = new HIH6130(
               temperatureChangeNotificationThreshold: 0.5F);

            //  Hook up the interrupt handler.
            hih6130.TemperatureChanged += (s, e) =>
                Debug.Print("Temperature changed: " + 


In the constructor, we specify the change notification threshold for temperature as 0.5º Celsius. The TemperatureChanged event will then be raised if the sensor detects a change of 0.5º since the last event.

Controlling the Polling Frequency

Most sensors are polled every 100 milliseconds by default. However, for those sensors that Netduino.Foundation polls, you can specify how often they are read (polled/updated) via the updateInterval constructor parameter. For example, the following code instantiates a new HIH6130, but sets the updateInterval to 10000 milliseconds, or 10 seconds:

var hih6130 = new HIH6130(
    temperatureChangeNotificationThreshold: 0.5F, updateInterval: 10000);

In between updates, the thread that polls the sensor is put to sleep, allowing the CPU to go into a power-saving mode, if no other processing is happening; therefore, a lower polling frequency can greatly affect power usage, and should be taken into consideration when powering from a limited current source such as a battery.

Next - Check out the Peripheral Library!