A general-purpose input/output (GPIO) is an uncommitted digital or analog signal pin on the MetaWear board.

All boards come with general purpose I/O pins allowing users to attach their own sensors. You can attach an analog heart-rate sensor, a thermistor, a push sensor and more using the GPIOs on the MetaWear board.

Functions for communicating with the gpio pins are in the gpio.h header file.

Analog Data

Analog input data comes in 2 forms, an ADC value or a absolute reference value. These two modes are distinguished with the MblMwGpioAnalogReadMode enum.

To read analog data, call mbl_mw_datasignal_read with your analog input signal. ADC values are represented as an unsigned integer and are simply ratiometric values with no units. The absolute reference value is also represented as an unsigned integer but has units of milli volts.

#include "metawear/sensor/gpio.h"

void gpio_analog_stream(MblMwMetaWearBoard* board) {
    auto adc_signal = mbl_mw_gpio_get_analog_input_data_signal(board, 0,
    mbl_mw_datasignal_subscribe(adc_signal, [](const MblMwData* data) -> void {
        // Cast value to uint32_t*
        printf("gpio 0 adc= %d", *((uint32_t*) data->value));

    auto abs_ref_signal = mbl_mw_gpio_get_analog_input_data_signal(board, 1,
    mbl_mw_datasignal_subscribe(abs_ref_signal, [](const MblMwData* data) -> void {
        // Cast value to uint32_t*
        printf("gpio 1 voltage= %dmV", *((uint32_t*) data->value));

Enhanced Analog Reads

Starting with firmware v1.2.3, additional features have been added to the analog read. To use these features, call mbl_mw_datasignal_read_with_parameters and use a MblMwGpioAnalogReadParameters struct as the parameter. Not all of the struct variables are required, for the read. To indicate that any of the pin variables are not used, set them to MBL_MW_GPIO_UNUSED_PIN, and to indicate the delay variable is unused, set it to 0.

// read with pullup pin 0, unused pull down pin, virtual pin 21, unused delay
MblMwGpioAnalogReadParameters read_params= { 0, MBL_MW_GPIO_UNUSED_PIN, 0x15, 0};
mbl_mw_datasignal_read_with_parameters(adc_signal, &read_params);

Pullup and Pulldown Pins

Setting a pullup/pulldown pin will have the board automatically set the pull mode on that pin prior to reading the analog data.

// pullup pin 0 before reading pin 0
MblMwGpioAnalogReadParameters read_params= { 0, MBL_MW_GPIO_UNUSED_PIN,
        MBL_MW_GPIO_UNUSED_PIN, 0 };
mbl_mw_datasignal_read_with_parameters(adc_signal, &read_params);


The delay parameter controls how long the firmware will wait after the pull mode is set before reading the data. The firmware will wait for up to 1 millisecond or if unused, immediately read the analog signal.

// wait 10 milliseconds after pulling down pin 2 before reading pin 1
MblMwGpioAnalogReadParameters read_params= { MBL_MW_GPIO_UNUSED_PIN, 2,
        MBL_MW_GPIO_UNUSED_PIN, 10 };
mbl_mw_datasignal_read_with_parameters(abs_ref_signal, &read_params);

Virtual Pins

Virtual pins are dummy GPIO pins that can be used to redirect the analog output to another pin. For example, you can assign a unique pin for each read configuration in your circuit which will send the data for the configurations to different message handlers. Keep in mind that when using virtual pins, you will need to subscribe to both the original and virtual pin for streaming.

auto virtual_adc_signal = mbl_mw_gpio_get_analog_input_data_signal(board, 0x15,

mbl_mw_datasignal_subscribe(virtual_adc_signal, [](const MblMwData* data) -> void {
        // Cast value to uint32_t*
    printf("gpio 21 adc= %d", *((uint32_t*) data->value));
mbl_mw_datasignal_subscribe(adc_signal, nullptr);

// read pin 0, direct output to pin 21
MblMwGpioAnalogReadParameters read_params= { MBL_MW_GPIO_UNUSED_PIN,
        MBL_MW_GPIO_UNUSED_PIN, 0x15, 0};
mbl_mw_datasignal_read_with_parameters(adc_signal, &read_params);

Digital Data

Digital input data is an input signal that is interpreted as a 1 or 0. As per the product specification section 6.1, a logical high is between 2.1 and 3.0 volts and low is between 0 and 0.9 volts. To ensure that your input signal resides within one of the valid ranges, set the pull mode with mbl_mw_gpio_set_pull_mode.

To read the data input value, issue a call to mbl_mw_datasignal_read with your digial signal. Digital data is interpreted as an unsigned integer.

#include "metawear/sensor/gpio.h"

void gpio_digital_stream(MblMwMetaWearBoard* board) {
    auto di_signal = mbl_mw_gpio_get_digital_input_data_signal(board, 2);
    mbl_mw_datasignal_subscribe(di_signal, [](const MblMwData* data) -> void {
        // Cast value to uint32_t*
        printf("gpio 2 digial= %d", *((uint32_t*) data->value));

Input Monitoring

The firmware can also monitor the digital state of the input signal and alert the user if the state changes. Set the change type by calling mbl_mw_gpio_set_pin_change_type and then call mbl_mw_gpio_start_pin_monitoring to start the monitoring.

#include "metawear/sensor/gpio.h"

void gpio_digital_stream(MblMwMetaWearBoard* board) {
    auto state_handler = [](const MblMwData* data) -> void {
        // Cast value to uint32_t*
        printf("gpio 3 state= %d", *((uint32_t*) data->value));

    auto state_signal = mbl_mw_gpio_get_pin_monitor_data_signal(board, 3);
    mbl_mw_datasignal_subscribe(state_signal, state_handler);

    // Send notifications when the state transitions from high to low
    mbl_mw_gpio_set_pin_change_type(board, 3, MBL_MW_GPIO_PIN_CHANGE_TYPE_FALLING);
    mbl_mw_gpio_start_pin_monitoring(board, 3);