It’s time to starting making some of these bits (pardon the pun) solid, both so I can work on new interesting abilities for Veronica, and so I can have some damn breadboards back.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and planning out various strategies. I’ve settled on what’s called a Backplane Design. Essentially, every component of the machine is treated as a module that is plugged into a large master bus. Wikipedia has a nice treatment of this topic. Ideally, everything is completely general, so you could have multiple CPUs, multiple memory systems, or any other weird combination of components. In reality, that’s a lofty goal, and mine won’t be so fancy. This is in contrast to a motherboard design, where most major systems are on one large board, and you have a couple of connectors or slots for expansion in specific ways.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.
Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !
Brings back memories of the S-100 bus backplane on the IMSAI-8080A that I built in 1975. Dang – I’m getting old 🙁
Ahh yes S-100 bus, etc. I built several as a tech in an early computer store (circa 1977). Then there was my own Processor Tech SOL computer – now hiding in a closet at CrashSpace (LA, CA makerspace).
Shield stacks are sorta like the backplane. I wonder what it would take to get a real backplane design working for Arduino (and other microcontrollers)? Bus Driver chips, contention for multi-masters? Support for different processors (Amtel, PIC, Propeller, …) It (design process) could get contentious itself. Would it be better than shields?
There were/are a few commercial backplane designs out there for embedded systems. Might be a place to start.