Wireless sensor networks are the driving force behind many popular and interdisciplinary research areas, such as environmental monitoring, building automation, healthcare and assisted living applications. Requirements like compactness, high integration of sensors, flexibility, and power efficiency are often very different and cannot be fulfilled by state-of-the-art node platforms at once. In this paper, we present and analyze AmICA: a flexible, compact, easy-to-program, and low-power node platform. Developed from scratch and including a node, a basic communication protocol, and a debugging toolkit, it assists in an user-friendly rapid application development. The general purpose nature of AmICA was evaluated in two practical applications with diametric requirements. Our analysis shows that AmICA nodes are 67% smaller than BTnodes, have five times more sensors than Mica2Dot and consume 72% less energy than the state-of-the-art TelosB mote in sleep mode.