When we talk about the design of a piece of hardware, we usually default to observations about its outward appearance–its form, its color, the materials it’s made of. Often, though, that’s only half the equation. For a product like the new Square Reader–a sleek update to the familiar credit card-swiping dongle that’s nearly twice as thin as its predecessor–most of the design work is out of sight. It exists in the meticulous selection and arrangement of the components inside–the delicate stacking of circuitry and silicon that make our gadgets go. In this unseen world, every millimeter shaved is a victory. And in terms of getting tiny things even tinier, the new Square Reader makes for an excellent case study.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.