Since I'm just getting into using the Arduino, this column came at a great time for me -- I can see all sorts of uses for being able to embed these little boards in all sorts of projects ... once I'm a bit further along, I think I'll be investing in a bunch of these little beauties.
Thanks for constantly finding all of this interesting "stuff" -- I already pledged to that Pixy machine vision system for the Arduino Kickstarter project you blogged about -- my big problem is whether I'm going to be able to afford to keep reading your columns since they keep leading me to buy "stuff" :-)
Caleb, Max forced me to say that red is better... Please don't ask me why :) And re the board, I could say that small is beautiful but after this nail color story, let me just thank you for another blog with cool stuff.
This is a great board for Hobbyists, students and in general for MCU development Newbies.
For more experienced embedded developers this is not in my opinion ideal. Especially when you can buy STM32F0Discovery board with 64KFlash, 8K Ram, 48MHz 32-bit cortex-M0 STM32F0 core with tonnes of superior peripherals and a debugger for around $8-$10. A free IDE (Coocox.org) supports this chip.
Other boards that are similarly priced also include the TIVA C Launchpad board based on a 80MHz Cortex-M4F with 256K Flash and 32K ram. The board also includes a debugger and works with TI's CCS IDE. That board goes for about $12-$14.
I would tend to comment on the class of boards rather than this specific one. Something like this is not what you are going to put into a consumer device that has a production run of a million units, but it is a great building block for prototyping or low-rate manufacturing. I am very interested in this, given that I am more comfortable with a compiler than a soldering iron. I could use boards like this to drop into any number of projects.
Halharta, thanks for the addtional board options! Everytime I look I find more development boards and prices keep falling! What a great time to be an engineer.. It makes me wonder what will be available in a year or two, I can't wait. What other low cost high performance boards do EETIMES readers know of and could recommend???
Also worth checking out the Digispark (http://digistump.com) - the first attiny85 dev board to do the USB+Bootloader thing with a whole ecosystem of shields, code, and users (first commercially produced, many projects did it first) - glad to have Adafruit join us with their awesome take on the concept!
I haven't been keeping up with Arduino or anything ATtiny either (probably because of a philosophical opposition to architectures with crummy low-res non-extensible timers), and I was one of the legions who was an early purchaser of John Hyde's fabulous book "USB Design by Example" so I was pretty used to thinking about USB access in terms of "certifiable" architectures. And when you look at the USB "world" that way you get used to the premise that to use any subset of USB at all you have to think only in terms of designs that incorporate the specified protocol "state machine" functions in hardware, and you are allowed only to implement prespecified device classes etc. And in that "worldview" even architectures like those in FTDI's wonderful USB protocol adapters seem borderline miraculous. In such a world an 8-pin device without even a pretense of any kind of USB hardware support is clearly not a candidate (or at least not an obvious one) to do anything on such a relatively complex communications mechanism except violate protocols and cause confusion. Then along comes some inglorious hacker and invents something called USBtiny and just turns the whole applecart upside down:
I think maybe THAT'S the real story for lots of us, I hope I'm not "burying the lead" about the Trinket itself but I think USBtiny may be a BIT more of a "disruptive technology" if you see what I mean, anyway it's all good news!
Wow -- very interesting -- I just emailed "The Mighty Hamster" (a blogger over on All Programmable Planet) asking if he might be interested in implementing a USBtinyFPGA in the programmable fabric of a regular low-end FPGA...
While it may be fun to put an ittybitty controller board into something and make it work, there is certainly not much electrical learning going on. That has been my thought when folks praise the arduino for being ssuch a wonderful learning tool. No understanding of the limitations of I/O even. Just hook it up and load some code and it does things. No understanding of how to make a comparator function or how to use an opamp or how to implement an H-Bridge driver. So while it can be an entertaining toy and it is certainly able to teach folks about programming, there is a whole lot more to things than just soe code that is a variation of what somebody else wrote. AND, software is not the real world.
WKetel, I wholeheartedly agree with your premise. Using the Arduino platform to teach Engineering/Technologist students Embedded systems & Electronics is a horrible idea because the Arduino platform abstracts so much of the hardware and even software concepts and knowledge required to build "proper" hardware and software.
Having said that, the arduino platform is a great tool to get high school kids excited about technology, electronics & programming. Furthermore, in my opinion, kids that do get into into programming/ electronics earlier on in their lives will develop much better critical & independent thinking / problem solving skills than most.
The arduino platform is also a great tools for artists, hobbyists and others who want to get something going without having to go get a degree related to embedded systems.
Even engineers/technologists can use the Arduino platform for rapid prototyping
HalHerta, that is my point, which is that teaching a bit of programming won't be teaching anything else. So yes, it can possibly get people interested in something, but then they won't have any ideas about what is wrong and how to fix it when some hardware doesn't work quite as expected.
My point being that it winds up not teaching any of the stuff that is the foundation, and without that everything is just cook book, follow the recipe. Which is fine for baking a cake but not much use for grilling a hamburger.