It’s been an interesting year for micro-controller boards. We’ve seen a dramatic drop in the price of computing, along with the long anticipated collapse in the diversity of board form factors, the rise of the FPGA, and the new availability of RISC-V chips making ripples in the market.
Intriguingly, though, it seems that this year was also the year where high-level languages on low-level hardware took off. Which is why the appearance of Adafruit’s CircuitPython on a new board from SparkFun is far more important than it might seem on the surface. Because, like many of the early signs we’ve seen this year, this board may well be a leading indicator of things to come.
It’s been fascinating to see the maturing ecosystem around the use of Python on micro-controllers. Because I’m starting to think that, with our hardware now ‘good enough’ to do most of what we need, the next generation of micro-controllers will be defined, not by the hardware, but by their user experience. Because high level language support brings more accessibility, and a better user experience, and that can only be a good thing.
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.