Feather M0, DotStars, and CircuitPython. What happens when you put them all together?
The Feather platform has really gotten my attention recently, especially since its move to using the ATSAMD21 MCU. This is a powerhouse chip based on the ARM Cortex-M0+ core. The other great thing about Feathers is the large (and constantly growing) ecosystem of add-on boards, called FeatherWings.
Another thing I’ve enjoyed playing with are NeoPixels. I’ve used them in various formats for a variety of projects. One of the joys is that you don’t need 3 PWM outputs per LED; you just need a single digital output to drive a fairly large string of NeoPixels. Recently, a new RGB LED has been showing up in Adafruit products: the DotStar. It requires 2 outputs, but is less timing sensitive, and can be updated faster. And it is a lot smaller. The latter point is huge: it means you can pack them denser, getting more pixels in the same space. Adafruit has done just that with their DotStar Featherwing. It packs a 6×12 DotStars in the same space that fits just 4×8 NeoPixels.
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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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