New Arduino Boards

It seems that the month of September will always be the month full of surprises and excitement. The Open Hardware Summit and Maker Faire New York that takes place on the same weekend provides many surprises and news that the community crave for. The Arduino team has revealed several new boards and also the new Arduino 1.0 IDE.

Few months back when we get to know about the new Arduino Uno replacement board called Arduino Leonardo, we were not surprised that eventually the main Arduino board will be single chip solution. This is a very good move that will reduce the overall cost (kick out a chip together with other supporting components like crystal, resistors and capacitor) and also make the board simpler to manufacture. The only drawback we could see is there won’t be a DIP package that is currently removable from the Arduino board. But, what if the new board will cost lower which we believe will help to make Arduino even more accessible to everyone. We see more good in the new Arduino main board! On another note, we wonder how the auto reset will be implemented in this new board. The AVR is not capable of software reset as far as we can remember. One way of resetting would be using the watchdog timer and maybe a pin to control the reset pin (not sure whether the low state managed to hold on for a minimum amount of time to cause reset). Let’s wait and see…

The biggest surprise would be the introduction of the new Due board which is Arduino first board utilizing the ARM Cortex-M3 core. This beast uses a 144 pins package SAM3U4E microcontroller that has everything that you could have imagine to fit into a 96 MHz microcontroller. We believe that this will eventually replace the Arduino Mega 2560 board in the long run. On top of that, this microcontroller runs at 3.3V and with majority of the IC in the current market running at 3.3V or even lower, this seems to be a good move. The amount of flash is same as the Mega 2560 but the size of the 52 kB RAM will help the board to go into applications where previous board finds it hard to go into. What we loves most is the availability of DMA  controller on the microcontroller that will allow more efficient execution of a process like processing a bulk of SPI data one shot rather than single byte at a time. The availability of the Atmel’s signature QTouch peripheral and the HSMCI (High Speed Multimedia Card Interface) module will allow the Arduino board to fit into many projects that requires interaction but without adding too many external peripherals. The solid ARM GCC compiler is a winning point but we like to see how the Arduino IDE works with both 8 and 32 bits microcontroller compiler residing in the same software. [highlight type=”light”]Notice the extra I2C port next to the analog reference pin? :)[/highlight]

Another new board revealed is the Arduino WiFi board. The information revealed is still a bit sketchy at the moment but we think the AVR32 residing in the WiFi module made by H&D Wireless will also be hosting the application firmware of the user. Now, you can add WiFi connectivity to your project without stacking a WiFi shield on top of your Arduino board. 🙂

The most important release would be the Arduino 1.0 IDE. We have tested the beta version before this and we feel that overall improvement is awesome with few important updates of the libraries (notably I2C aka Wire). Now, you can even enable the verbose output option through the preferences section of the IDE. However, the IDE will most probably require many libraries out there to make changes and upgrade like for example on the dependcy of the WProgram.h header file which is now replaced with Arduino.h header file.

We just can’t wait to get our hands on Leonardo and Due!

Take care and happy tinkering.

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