The Amazon Dash button is a tiny device that orders products from Amazon.com at the press of a button. It’s designed to be put wherever you store consumeables like paper towels, trash bags, etc. so that you can easily order more when they run out. The Dash is great at what it’s designed to do, but did you know inside the Dash is a powerful ARM Cortex-M3 processor and WiFi module that are very similar to wireless development boards like the Particle Photon? You’ll even find there are easily accessible test pads on the Dash which allow you to reprogram its CPU and turn it into your own $5 internet button! This guide will explore how to take apart the Dash and reprogram its CPU to run your own code.
This is a good introduction to ‘bare-metal’ embedded development where you write code to run on a chip without any operating system. Just like an Arduino you have total control over what the CPU does, but unlike Arduino you need to get closer to the hardware to tell it exactly what to do. Be warned that you’ll want to have some experience soldering, programming C, and using development tools from the command line to follow this guide–this is not a good intro to electronics project!
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, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, 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.
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