Much of the limit to size is sensibly getting useful signals in and out.
None of these boards have gone to die-bond and globbing.
Using standard parts (not bare) I laid out a board a few years ago with a TI uBGA MSP430 DSP on one side, a DFN EEPROM on the other, several OPAs and a bunch of related discrete, thermistors and a pressure sensor, all on 19mm x 6.9mm.
Not a development board, of course, but not pushing the shrink limits all that hard, either. (wildlife telemetry fwiw).
These kind of development boards not only help the engineers, but also help the students and electronics enthusiasts to develop innovative staffs at a very low cost. About 12 years back I bought a 8951 board which was 10-15 times larger than these boards and I paid ~$100. I used that a lot learning and doing several home automation staffs. The enthusiasts now can do much more with these tiny things without spending more money.
I'm wokring with the Teensy3 right now and it does infact support the Arduino IDE / language. You'll need to download and install the Teensyduino (URL below) add-on, but once you do you are good to go. You may need to tweak some 3rd party libraries to get them to work, but I am currenlty using the Mirf lib for the NRF24L01 and it seems to be working fine without any changes. So far I think it is a great little dev board with lots of peripeherials and power to spare. I also really love the formfactor, being able to just plug it into a breadboard is great, and for one off's you can just solder it in like it was a standard dip package. It also one-ups the Leonardo in the USB HID area with native MIDI device support, which I think is sorely lacking from the Leonard.
Nice slideshow, Caleb. What other boards have you used from your slideshow? Anyone else use any of these boards? What was your experience like and what do you make? Share a story, post a comment. Thanks.
I've used the digispark, the femtoduino, and the teensy (teensy2, not teensy3). I had good experiences with all of them. The only gripe I had was how you had to program the femtoduino (it had no usb initially), but they fixed it.
I used one to emulate keyboard and mouse movement in a game controller for a kid who has muscular dystrophy. I chose the Teensy 2 because it natively supports HID. I can plug it into any computer and it will be seen as a keyboard and mouse. I don't have to install any software at all.
This makes it a great choice for gaming controllers and I can make it, then ship it to someone. All they have to do is plug it in and it works!
@calebkraft Well, since you asked, the concept was to sew the lilypad into a Fedora so that I would have a blinking light show around the brim.
The project didn't quite turn out as lovely as I hoped, in fact it was rather ugly, and there were a few technical challenges and even bloodshed along the way but I learned a lot. The coding (to the extent there is coding) was easier than the sewing!!
@calebkraft I made it for the DIY Gadget Freak Clinic at DESIGN West 2014. It was fantastic - six of us gave short, five minute presentations of our gadgets and had a lot of fun interacting with the audience. We're doing it again in 2014, if you're ready to get motivated and do something with your FLora!!
Someone brought the Jeenode to my attention. It looks pretty cool, but I'll be happy never to have to use another usb to serial converter again. They have RF modules bult in though, so that makes up for it.
You can buy the Jeenode as a kit that you assemble yourself. That is also kind of neat.
@Caleb: Someone brought the Jeenode to my attention...
The frustrating thing for me is that I would have killed to have this sort of thing when I was younger, but there was nothing like these boards available -- and now that they are available (and affordable) I simply don't have the time to play with them (sad face).
Max, I completely relate to your post! I would have killed for these when I was a kid and now that they are out and low cost I just don't have the time to PLAY anymore.. Very sad face. I was wondering what the various programming options are for these boards. Only one really talked about an on line compiler and while I am familiar with the PIC programming they are very difficult (at least the 32bit ones) to configure properly. I would love to see an overview of the free/low cost compiler programming options for these and other low cost boards!!
I've used the CCS C compiler for PICs for about 5-7 years now. I really like it. Some C compilers don't come with many built-in functions, but CCS does. They cover most all of the PICs except for the 32bit PICs.
You can download their manual for free on their site below:
They also offer educational discounts. However, some time ago, I got a lower-cost license as a hobbiest, agreeing not to use it for any profit venture. Not sure if they still offer that. Their IDE is really good. Their software works with their programmers or Microchip's programmer units.
This is an excellent compilation... just like @Max The Magnificent says below, it would have been great if these were available even 10 years ago, would have made serious changes to my career! I also see some one below commented on TI's Launchpad which is another good one for school kids to play with (and some grownups watching & wishing!).
I can`t believe you left put the king of development boards : Pololu Witcel!! Besides housing the industry standar 8051, it includes a full featured RF link! Avaliables FREE libraries allow to set a UART wireless link in 2'. Priced at 19 dollars this little thing is a bang for the buck!
Another very new tiny development board is the RFDuino. It's just a tiny bit larger than the Digispark, and needs a seperate USB shield for programming. On the plus side, it's got an ARM Cortex M0 CPU, and low energy Bluetooth 4.0 built in. Programming is via the Arduino IDE, with some added hardware libraries and definitions. Many Arduino libraries will work unchanged, as long as they're not too hardware specific.
They're just finishing digging out from under a mountain of Kickstarter backers, so it's still in nthe preorder stage, but at $21 each, it looks very interesting.
The Other Tesla David Blaza5 comments I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...