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Adafruit’s Top Ten New Products of 2017 #AdafruitTopTen

Happy 2018! To celebrate another year in the books, here are our top 10 New Products from 2017!

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1. Circuit Playground Express

Circuit Playground Express is the next step towards a perfect introduction to electronics and programming. We’ve taken the original Circuit Playground Classic and made it even better! Not only did we pack even more sensors in, we also made it even easier to program.

Start your journey with Microsoft MakeCode block-based or Javascript programming. Then, you can use the same board to try CircuitPython, with the Python interpreter running right on the Express. As you progress, you can advance to using Arduino IDE, which has full support of all the hardware down to the low level, so you can make powerful projects.

Because you can program the same board in 3 different ways – the Express has great value and re-usability. From beginners to experts, Circuit Playground Express has something for everyone.


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2. Raspberry Pi Zero W

If you didn’t think that the Raspberry Pi Zero could possibly get any better, then boy do we have a pleasant surprise for you! The new Raspberry Pi Zero W offers all the benefits of the Pi Zero v1.3, but with one big difference – built-in WiFi!

More specifically, this giant upgrade is the addition of a BCM43143 WiFi chip BUILT-IN to your Raspberry Pi Zero – just like the Pi 3! No more pesky WiFi adapters – this Pi is WiFi ready. There’s also Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) on board making the Pi an excellent IoT solution (BLE support is still in the works, software-wise).


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3. BBC micro:bit Go Bundle

The British Invasion is here! No, not music…microcontrollers! New to the USA is the newest and easiest way to learn programming and electronics – the BBC micro:bit.

Designed specifically for kids and beginners, the micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that you can code, customize and control to bring your digital ideas, games and apps to life. It’s a small, code-able device that is a non-intimidating introduction to programming and making – switch on, program it to do something fun – wear it, customize it, develop new ideas.

The micro:bit platform combines the ‘bit, a pocket-sized coding device featuring several sensors and LEDs, with an awesome website full of coding examples and projects. Start out with the video tutorials, then check out the ideas page to get creative. From making your own games to taking selfies, the possibilities are endless!


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4. Adafruit Trinket M0 – for use with CircuitPython & Arduino IDE

The Adafruit Trinket M0 may be small, but do not be fooled by its size! It’s a tiny microcontroller board, built around the Atmel ATSAMD21, a little chip with a lot of power. We wanted to design a microcontroller board that was small enough to fit into any project, and low cost enough to use without hesitation. Perfect for when you don’t want to give up your expensive dev-board and you aren’t willing to take apart the project you worked so hard to design. It’s our lowest-cost CircuitPython programmable board!


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5. Adafruit GEMMA M0 – Miniature wearable electronic platform

The Adafruit Gemma M0 is a super small microcontroller board, with just enough built-in to create many simple projects. It may look small and cute: round, about the size of a quarter, with friendly alligator-clip sew pads. But do not be fooled! The Gemma M0 is incredibly powerful! We’ve taken the same form factor we used for the original ATtiny85-based Gemma and gave it an upgrade. The Gemma M0 has swapped out the lightweight ATtiny85 for a ATSAMD21E18 powerhouse.


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6. Adafruit HUZZAH32 – ESP32 Feather Board

Aww yeah, it’s the Feather you have been waiting for! The HUZZAH32 is our ESP32-based Feather, made with the official WROOM32 module. We packed everything you love about Feathers: built in USB-to-Serial converter, automatic bootloader reset, Lithium Ion/Polymer charger, and just about all of the GPIOs brought out so you can use it with any of our Feather Wings.

That module nestled in at the end of this Feather contains a dual-core ESP32 chip, 4 MB of SPI Flash, tuned antenna, and all the passives you need to take advantage of this powerful new processor. The ESP32 has both WiFi and Bluetooth Classic/LE support. That means it’s perfect for just about any wireless or Internet-connected project.


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7. Google AIY Voice Kit for Raspberry Pi

Need directions to your nearest dry cleaner? Or maybe you need to send a hands-free email? Perhaps you just want to know what the weather’s like in Timbuktu. Ask your new little friend – the Google AIY Voice Bot!

This no-soldering-required kit is an awesome addition to your Raspberry Pi 3 computer, and turns it into a smart home assistant!

Google AIY Projects brings do-it-yourself artificial intelligence to your maker projects. With this AIY Voice Kit from Google, you can build a standalone voice recognition system using the Google Assistant, or add voice recognition and natural language processing to your Raspberry Pi based projects. The kit includes all of the components needed to assemble the basic kit that works with the Google Assistant SDK as well as on-device voice recognition with TensorFlow.


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8. Adafruit Joy FeatherWing for all Feathers

Make a game or robotic controller with this Joy-ful FeatherWing. This FeatherWing has a 2-axis joystick and 5 momentary buttons (4 large and 1 small) so you can turn your feather board into a tiny game controller. This wing communicates with your host microcontroller over I2C so it’s easy to use and doesn’t take up any of your precious analog or digital pins. There is also an optional interrupt pin that can alert your feather when a button has been pressed or released to free up processor time for other tasks.

This FeatherWing features Adafruit Seesaw technology – a custom programmed little helper microcontroller that takes the two analog inputs from the joystick, and 5 button inputs, and converts it into a pretty I2C interface. This I2C interface means you don’t ‘lose’ any GPIO or analog inputs when using this ‘Wing, and it works with any and all Feathers! You can easily stack this with any other FeatherWing because I2C is a shared bus. If you have an I2C address conflict, or you want to connect more than one of these to a Feather, there are two address-select jumpers so you have 4 options of I2C addresses.


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9. IBM TJBot – A Watson Maker Kit

Say hello to your new little friend – it might just say “hello” back!

Have some fun and code your very own AI robot with TJBot, a do-it-yourself template to learn, experiment, and explore AI with IBM Watson. The project consists of open-source step-by-step recipes, or coding instructions, designed for a Raspberry PI to help you connect your TJBot to Watson developer services.

Want to chat with TJBot or teach it to dance? TJBot uses a Raspberry Pi to connect to Watson Services and control various hardware components. Use featured TJBot recipes on Github and Instructables or create your own new recipes and share them with the world.

TJBot is an example of ‘embodied cognition’ – the idea of embedding artificial intelligence into objects in our everyday lives. While in this case IBM is putting Watson technologies into a cardboard cutout, imagine these types of capabilities in your walls, in your furniture or in objects in your home.


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10. Circuit Playground Express Educator’s Pack

Circuit Playground Express is the next step towards a perfect introduction to electronics and programming. We’ve taken the original Circuit Playground Classic and made it even better! Not only did we pack even more sensors in, we also made it even easier to program. You can now start your journey with Microsoft MakeCode block-based or Javascript programming. Then, you can use the same board to try CircuitPython, with the Python interpreter running right on the Express. As you progress, you can advance to using Arduino IDE, which has full support of all the hardware down to the low level, so you can make powerful projects.

Because you can program the same board in 3 different ways – the Express has great value and re-usability. From beginners to experts, Circuit Playground Express has something for everyone, and our Educator’s Pack is the ideal package to get the aspiring learner going!


Honorable mention:

BRISTLEBOTS

BRISTLEBOTS!

Bristlebots are small robots, great for teaching engineering, motors, circuits, and principles of balance. They don’t require soldering or special tools, so they’re great for group builds.

Who knew we could cobble together an adorable, bite-sized robot with just a toothbrush head, motor, battery, and pipe cleaners?? It took us less than five minutes to assemble one, so we decided to build the rest of its buddies! Now, Adafruit has a veritable Bristlebot squad! We let them do their thing, and our desks have never been cleaner.

Make your Bristlebot by combining a toothbrush head and vibrating motor. By changing the position of the pipe cleaner arms, Bristlebots can travel in circles, straight lines, or scoot around randomly. Dip the pipe cleaner legs in acrylic paint for fun, self-propelled robot art! What will you make your Bristlebot do?


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.

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