May Hardware Roundup
Take one look around online communities, crowdfunding sites and marketplaces, and it won’t be difficult to find countless pieces of hardware powered by Microchip technology.
Continuing on with our regular roundup of hardware powered by Microchip microcontrollers, we bring you a dozen more ranging from teeny tiny development boards to wearable badges.
Seeed Studio recently announced the latest member of their Wio (wireless input/output) family, capable of being used as an all-on-one platform or a Raspberry Pi HAT. Compatible with Arduino and MicroPython, the Wio Terminal is based on a SAM D51 MCU running at 120MHz (with boost up to 200MHz) and supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The device is equipped with a 2.4” LCD display, three user-programmable buttons, accelerometer, microphone, piezo buzzer, microSD slot, light sensor, and IR emitter. Additionally, the Wio Terminal has a pair of multifunctional Grove ports and 40 Raspberry Pi-compatible GPIO pins for expandability. The board can now be pre-ordered for $29.90.
The QuickDAQ.mikroBUS is a PIC32-controlled development system from Embeddetech, in collaboration with MikroElektronika, that provides your computer with the same low-level peripherals that a microcontroller has, such as GPIO, analog input, PWM, SPI, I2C, and UART. This allows the same mikroBUS sockets and Click boards found on most of Microchip boards to be accessed by Harmony, running in a low-code, node-based virtual environment. Although falling short of their Kickstarter goal, you can find more details on the platform here.
Albert van Dalen is an Arduino-compatible board that crams all of the Nano's functionality into a 30x10mm package, which is actually smaller than the ATmega328P chip itself. Thanks to its DIL24 form factor, the ATtiny3217-based Dily3217 is breadboard-friendly and can be easily integrated into space-constrained projects. It has 21 GPIO and comes preloaded with the Optiboot bootloader so it can be programmed over serial via its FTDI adapter. You can follow along with the project’s progress on van Dalen’ site.
NFC Copy Cat
NFC Copy Cat is a new open source security research tool from Electronic Cats and Salvador Mendoza, which combines the NFCopy and MagSpoof into a single SAM 21-driven device. The board works by reading or copying an NFC card. Similarly, the MagSpoof can wirelessly emulate and spoof any magnetic stripe card. So by using the NFC Copy Cat, researchers will have a unit capable of storing magnetic stripe data or NFC payment data to be replayed later — known in the cybersecurity world as a replay attack. The NFC Copy Cat, which is compatible with Arduino and CircuitPython, also sports a micro USB port, a 3.7V LiPo battery connector, antenna, two programmable buttons, LEDs, and a reset button. Those wishing to pick one up can do so on Electronic Cats’ online store for $79.
Launched on Kickstarter by a group of graduate students from Yale’s Society of Women Engineers, the SpinWheel is an ATmega32U4 wearable gadget designed for STEM exploration. The board is equipped with a motion sensor and 20 LEDs that children can customize with their favorite colors and patterns, and use to make measurements about the world around them. The SpinWearables team just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign, surpassing their $25,000 goal.
Social Distancing Badge
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures! SensorDots’ Social Distancing Badge is exactly what it sounds like. Built around an ATmega328PB, the badge leverages a VL53L1 time-of-light sensor to determine the space between its wearer and others in close proximity. The distance is then shown on an easy-to-read, four-digit LCD display to ensure everyone remains at least six feet away. The lightweight, low power design can be pinned to a bag, shirt or attached to a belt buckle. Aside from that, it could be used as a handy standalone measurement tool.
Back in 2018, Bits N Blobs Electronics launched what they claimed to be the world’s smallest ATmega328 module. Fast forward to today and the team has returned with another quarter-sized, Arduino-compatible board for hobbyists. With an ATmega32U4 at its core, the Piksey Atto has 11 digital I/O pins, four analog inputs, four PWM channels, and UART, SPI, and I2C buses, all operating at 5V. What’s more, the Piksey Atto’s castellated holes enable it to be used with proto boards, PCBs, and even breadboards. The board is currently being sold for $9.90 on Tindie.
Part of Microchip’s Get Launched program on Crowd Supply, the 644 Narrow and 1284 Narrow are a simple upgrade option for all your small footprint Arduino projects. As their names would suggest, Pandauino’s new family is built on the ATmega644 (with 64kB of flash, 4kB of RAM, and 2kB of EEPROM storage on-board) and ATmega1284 (upping the flash to 128kB, RAM to 16kB, and EEPROM to 4kB), respectively, bringing the power of an Arduino Mega to a Nano-like form factor. Both boards, though, share the same number of I/O with 24 digital and eight analog input/output pins. The boards even include an optional 0.49" 64x32 OLED. You can sign up to get notified of when the campaign goes live.
Smart Power Bank Keep-Alive
Keep USB power banks alive when running low-power projects from a USB power bank with this convenient module from Zak Kemble. The smarts of this device is an ATtiny10, which controls the on and off cycling of the constant current sink, since power banks don't normally need a continuous current to stay on. The current is adjustable via a small trim potentiometer from 0mA to 140mA and the supply voltage can be anywhere from 1.8V to 5.5V. If you’re tired of a build that continually shuts itself off because the current draw was too low, you’re in luck. Kemble has made his Smart Power Bank Keep-Alive available for $14.
Open Game Station
Miss the days of 8-bit gaming? Longan Labs is set to release an open source platform for creating customizable handheld consoles that’ll certainly spark some nostalgia. The modular system, called the Open Game Station, is based on what resembles a barebones version of a PlayStation controller with six buttons, as well as an ATmega32U4 microcontroller that supports all Arduboy titles. The controller features slots for expansion cards, such as a 128x64 monochrome display, a buzzer for background effects and chiptunes, and a AAA battery pack for portability. In addition, the Pro version comes with all of that plus a sound sensor, a 9-DoF sensor card, and an extension board for an additional three slots. Retro gamers, rejoice! The Open Game Station is coming soon to Crowd Supply.
Although still a work in progress, bobricius’ ARMACHAT is a SAM D21-driven, doomsday communicator and off-grid wireless messenger that allows users to send and receive messages over LoRa. The device comes in two sizes, a desktop and pocket-friendly version, with the latter a bit reminiscent of your old BlackBerry. The ARMACHAT is comprised of a QWERTY keyboard, an 18650 li-ion battery, and a 1.8” TFT display. Keep up to date with its development on bobricius’ project page.
Mini-Tone Keyboard Badge
Let the gentle squarewave tones of the beautiful ATmega328PB take you away from your worries! The Cyber City Circuits Mini Tone Keyboard is an Arduino-compatible musical keyboard with 2.5 octaves, a CH340G USB interface, four WS2812E RGB LEDs, an onboard speaker, and a 3.5mm jack adapter so it can be connected to an existing sound system. Those wishing to play some chippy tunes on the go can grab a badge of their own on Tindie for $40.
But wait, there’s more…
As Back to the Future fans, we’ve been geeking out over the magnificent work of Hojadurdy Durdygylyjov. That’s because thee electrical engineer has somehow miniaturized Doc Emmett Brown’s time travel technology into a wearable pendant. His custom PCB is designed around an ATtiny44 with a CR2032 coin cell battery and 28 animated SMD LEDs that produce the flux capacitor’s iconic effect. Although no word on when it’ll go on sale, be sure to check out Durdygylyjov’s videos on Twitter.
Like what you see? Remember to browse the last roundup here.