Production Digisparks (via Kettenburg & Kickstarter)
Platforms like the Arduino or RPi offer infinite possibilities to create and invent — anything you can dream of or at least anything you can assemble and code. A large part of those possibilities do not require all of the features or power of those big name units. Once you finish a project, it is nice to keep it functional and start working on something else without dissecting old projects for those valued micro controllers.
With this in mind, hobbyist Erik Kettenburg decided he would take it upon himself to develop an affordable solution that could be used in less demanding applications. He wanted to take advantage of open source community contributions and Arduino's IDE (integrated development environment) that the Arduino model has already established as extremely effective.
His device is called the Digispark. It is a tiny (0.69in x 0.75in) microcontroller that can be plugged in via USB and is compatible with the Italian standard, Arduino's IDE and existing Arduino code.
Kettenburg started a Kickstarter for this idea and set the bar at a modest $5,000. With 20 days to go, the on-line community has shown their full support, contributing over $118,000!
Here is the list of notable features:
- Support for the Arduino IDE 1.0+ (OSX/Win/Linux)
- Power via USB or External Source - 5 V or 7-35 V (automatic selection)
- On-board 500ma 5 V Regulator
- Built-in USB (and serial debugging)
- 6 I/O Pins (2 are used for USB only if your program actively communicates over USB, otherwise you can use all 6 even if you are programming via USB)
- 8k Flash Memory (about 6k after bootloader)
- I2C and SPI (USI)
- PWM on 3 pins (more possible with Software PWM)
- ADC on 4 pins
- Power LED and Test/Status LED (on Pin0)
Regardless of the monetary success, Kettenburg says he wants to price the Digispark at just $12 a piece so developers do not feel the financial pressure to salvage them. He is also committed to making Digispark a piece of open source hardware. When the project is finalized, schematics, firmware and all necessary tools to hack the Digispark will be made available.
The heart is in the right place, and looks like the price is too.