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July 5, 2016 AT 10:40 am

Maker to Market 2 – Research – How Adafruit developed Circuit Playground @makerio @DigiKey #DeskOfLadyada

Maker to Market, Step 2 – Research —How Adafruit developed Circuit Playground, an educational board for makers.

While you’ve probably done a bit of Googling, now is the time got to get serious about researching your idea. You’ll need to review platforms, evaluate price points, and perform a competitive analysis. Now might also be a great time to look into existing intellectual property.

In this second video Ladyada the engineer explains how she researches potential designs:
The toughest part is often being able to get the programming itself to be accessible. Look at various online and offline tools such as Scratch, Blockly, Johnny5/Nodejs, Firmata, codebender, etc. A lot have compatibility with Arduino which we know really well. Other hardware tools that do the same are like MaKey MaKey, CodeBug and Micro Bit (and possibly even others we haven’t seen) but they depend on a fully-online-only and/or special compiler which are not ideal. It’s good to be able to have a wide range of programming languages available ranging from Scratch up to C++.

You may ask yourself things like do I want to have Bluetooth LE, or Wi-Fi? On one hand these are great features, but on the other it will add a lot of complexities. We decided to go with Arduino as it’s the lowest-cost and/or simplest platform possible that can do what we needed.

Come up with a name and trademark then search the registry on USPTO. Hopefully you’ll have picked something brand new.


If you missed the first episode, “Concept”, watch it here!

This series is a special edition of “From the Desk of Ladyada” with our Circuit Playground launch partner, Maker.io & Digi-Key (be sure to check our interview with the CEO of Digi-Key, Dave Doherty, too!).

Why are we doing this? It would be challenging to meet the demand we’re expecting with Circuit Playground orders, shipping, outreach and more – so we’re working with -the best- to get as many out there, to as many people as possible, and “showing our work” about the entire process. Special thanks to David, Jim, Dave, Brooks, Dawn, Jennifer, Paula, Kevin, Wayne and everyone at Digi-Key.


About Maker.io
Digi‐Key was started by a maker professional and has a long history of being a destination for entrepreneurial engineers. Maker.io is the first site to help those people take their ideas from concept to product.

Maker.io was created to help makers understand the phases that occur from concept through production. Digi-Key knows designers will have stumbling blocks throughout the phases, and the main objective of the site is to walk makers through the design-chain “Roadmap” that offers an aggregated community of tools, ideas, solutions, and information that properly meet the needs of the marketplace every step of the way.

By leveraging Digi-Key resources including design tools such as Scheme-it and PCBWeb, complete BOM management support, leading edge maker-friendly solutions from companies like Adafruit that are augmented with full line support from industry leaders and having the world’s largest available inventory for immediate shipment, Digi-Key truly is the best destination for the maker professional.

The availability of very low cost modular hardware tools combined with simple-to-use free software development environments has led to an explosion in the number of makers and developers. As a result, Maker.io is platform (Arduino, BeagleBone, Raspberry Pi, Photon…), post, and project based. Beyond the roadmap, maker professionals as community members can submit projects either publicly or privately. This collaborative and project-based approach will help designers better understand the phases along the map.

Maker.io is the perfect complement to digikey.com. Whether you are just starting out or are already down the design path, you are able to access pre-curated content, solutions and resources from industry professionals, as well as your peers, to help guide you through the phases. No matter where you are on your design roadmap, Maker.io can help you bring your product and dreams to market.

Adafruit is proud to partner with Digi-key and introduce Maker.io to all our customers and fans. This is our second installment of Adafruit’s video series Maker to Market, which will take you on the journey that was the creation of Circuit Playground, Adafruit’s all-in-one board — the perfect microcontroller for learning electronics.


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