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October 2020 Hardware Roundup

New hardware from Arduino, SparkFun, and Adafruit headline this month’s roundup. Let’s take a quick look at some of the latest boards and kits to emerge over the last couple of weeks.

New hardware from Arduino, SparkFun, and Adafruit headline this month’s roundup. Let’s take a quick look at some of the latest boards and kits to emerge over the last couple of weeks.

Arduino Oplà Kit

Arduino’s Oplà IoT Kit puts the Internet of Things at your fingertips! The kit contains all the components necessary to conveniently add connectivity to everyday appliances and build custom smart devices, along with access to a step-by-step online platform and a 12-month subscription to the Arduino Create Maker Plan. It’s based on a MKR IoT carrier with an integrated OLED color display, on-board environmental sensors and capacitive touch buttons, a MKR WiFi 1010 board, a circular plastic enclosure, and supporting accessories, such as two cables, a motion sensor, a moisture sensor, and a USB cable. Beginners can start out with eight out-of-the-box projects, while more advanced users can configure and hack their own smart devices controllable from the Arduino IoT Cloud. Automating your home has never been so easy! Order your Oplà IoT Kit now for $114.

SparkFun’s MicroMod SAMD51 Processor 

SparkFun has debuted an ecosystem of modular carrier and processor boards for rapid prototyping and dynamic project changes. MicroMod utilizes the M.2 standard to link microcontroller processor boards, like the SAM D51, to carrier board peripherals — allowing you to easily mix and match controllers depending on your specific needs. The plug-and-play series seamlessly connects to SparkFun’s Qwiic sensors, shields, LCDs, relays and other accessories as well, providing nearly limitless functional possibilities with no soldering required. Processor boards, including the MicroMod SAMD51, are priced at $14.95, while carriers range from $19.95-$59.95. More details can be found on the SparkFun website

Adafruit STEMMA Friend

Brought to our attention during a recent livestream, Adafruit gave a sneak peek of an upcoming board that’s designed to help you get friendly with I2C device development: the STEMMA Friend. A 240 x 240 1.3” IPS display takes up most of the front, while the back consists of a SAM D21E MCU, a pair of STEMMA connectors, a Grove-compatible connector, USB-C, and battery power. Those wishing to take a closer look at the STEMMA Friend can do so in Hackster’s article, and watch Ladyada’s demo to see it in action.


Currently funding on Crowd Supply as part of our Get Launched program, Sundance DSP’s PolarBerry is a production and deployment-ready system-on-module based on the PolarFire SoC with an FPGA and hardened RISC-V processor in an ultra-compact form factor. PolarBerry’s combination of features make it perfect for applications that call for high performance yet a low power draw, defense-level security, a real-time, deterministic RISC-V processor capable of Linux, a small physical profile, immediate connectivity, or custom extensibility. The board is essentially a single-board computer in an SoM format, it can be leveraged as a standalone module or along with a carrier board. A Raspberry Pi 40-pin header, two CAN bus interfaces, and an RJ45 port for Ethernet enables PolarBerry to tap into extensive ecosystems, and its Samtec connectors offer high-speed communication to a carrier board for powerful peripheral customization.


MassiveButDynamic has unveiled a low-cost, Arduino Nano-compatible development board with a built-in CAN bus targeting those working on automotive systems. The aptly named Canduino provides out-of-the-box CAN bus functionality thanks to its MCP2515 CAN controller, which is connected to an ATmega328P via SPI. Despite being a bit larger than the original Nano, the Canduino’s pins are indeed compatible with its Arduino counterpart. The Canduino is selling for $21 on Tindie

Maduino Zero CAN-BUS

While on the topic of CAN bus, Makerfabs has also launched an Arduino Zero-compatible board. The $20 Maduino Zero CAN-BUS combines a SAMD21G18A, an MCP2515 controller, and a MAX3051 CAN transceiver to create a ready-to-use CAN-bus port. 

Wireless Solar-Powered Sensor Node

Designed by pseudonymous software engineer strange.rand, this solar-powered ATmega328P node stores energy in a simple 1F supercapacitor, measures different parameters (such as temperature and humidity), and sends readings to a remote gateway. Still a work in progress, you can follow along on strange.rand’s Hackaday project log

VT100 Terminal Kit

Peter Hizalev’s VT100 Terminal Kit includes a PIC32MX-based PCB and all the parts needed to build a VT-100 and Xterm-compatible ASCII video terminal. It features a serial interface with TTL or RS-232 signal levels, uses conventional PS/2 keyboard for input, and outputs to a VGA screen. There is also a USB interface that supports serial over USB and acts as a USB-to-serial converter. Hizalev’s device is available as a $52 kit or a barebones PCB for only $18. 

Violin PCB 

A tiny violin for tiny tunes! Alexandra Covor has shared one of the more unique PCBs we’ve seen. Her circuit is comprised of an ATtiny85 that controls two LEDs and a piezoelectric buzzer, a push button for switching between songs, and a 3.7V LiPo battery. Beyond that, there are a set of strings made from wire attached to an analog input of the microcontroller. If Covor’s project really struck a chord, be sure to check it out on Hackster

Skull CTF

Every hacker loves a mind-bending hardware puzzle! In the spirit of Halloween, the Wokwi team created the Skull Capture the Flag (CTF) riddle that invites you to hack its brain while exploring the internals of the AVR® architecture. The board is equipped with an ATtiny45, a CR2032 coin coin battery, a pair of 5mm LEDs, a resistive touch panel on the back, and an optional solder-it-yourself ICSP header. When it’s not leaving you stumped, the Skull doubles as a decorative badge that flashes its sinister eyes. Want to give it a try? Get your Skull CTF on Crowd Supply for $20


Described as the “perfect evolution of Arduino,” Frizzy Electronics’ Grape is a $19 Uno clone with the ability to provide up to 3A of output current for external devices from large servos to long LED strips. The development board packs the specs you’d expect, including an ATmega328P-AU microcontroller with 32KB of flash memory, 2KB of SRAM, and 1KB of EEPROM, 14 digital I/O pins, eight 10-bit analog inputs, and a half dozen PWM pins.


Watterott Electronic has released the CO2-Ampel, an open source traffic light that shows the carbon dioxide concentration in a room. With a SAM D21 at its core, the unit packs a CO2 sensor, four WS2812B RGB LEDs, a piezo buzzer, a Qwiic-compatible I2C connector, and a USB-C for power and data/programming. Those interested can now pick up a CO2-Ampel of their own for about $80 on the Watterott store


Michael Grand has come up with an add-on board for securing Raspberry Pi boards using the ATECC608 CryptoAuthentication engine. Looking to bring an extra layer of security to your SBC? The raspiECC is on Tindie for $10. 

Want to see more? Browse last month’s list here

Microchip, Nov 21, 2020