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Adafruit’s Top Ten New Products of 2018 #AdafruitTopTen

Adafruit top ten 2018 blog

Happy 2019! To celebrate another year in the books, here are our top 10 New Products from 2018!

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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. You can even use code.org CS Discoveries to learn all about coding right in your browser!

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. CRICKIT FOR CIRCUIT PLAYGROUND EXPRESS

Sometimes we wonder if robotics engineers ever watch movies. If they did, they’d know that making robots into slaves always ends up in a robot rebellion. Why even go down that path? Here at Adafruit, we believe in making robots our friends!

So if you find yourself wanting a companion, consider the robot. They’re fun to program, and you can get creative with decorations.

With that in mind, we designed Crickit – That’s our Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express that lets you #MakeRobotFriend using CircuitPython, MakeCode (coming soon), or Arduino.

Bolt on your Circuit Playground using the included stand-off bolts and start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends the Circuit Playground so you can still use all the goodies on the CPX, but now you have a robotics playground as well.

The Crickit is powered by seesaw, our I2C-to-whatever bridge firmware. So you only need to use two data pins to control the huge number of inputs and outputs on the Crickit. All those timers, PWMs, sensors are offloaded to the co-processor.


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3. CRICKIT FEATHERWING FOR ANY FEATHER

Sometimes we wonder if robotics engineers ever watch movies. If they did, they’d know that making robots into slaves always ends up in a robot rebellion. Why even go down that path? Here at Adafruit, we believe in making robots our friends!

So if you find yourself wanting a companion, consider the robot. They’re fun to program, and you can get creative with decorations.

With that in mind, we designed Crickit – That’s our Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Feather ecosystem that lets you #MakeRobotFriend using CircuitPython, MakeCode (coming soon), or Arduino.

Plug in any Feather mainboard you want into the center, and you’re good to go! The Crickit is powered by seesaw, our I2C-to-whatever bridge firmware. So you only need to use two I2C data pins to control the huge number of inputs and outputs on the Crickit. All those timers, PWMs, sensors are offloaded to the co-processor.

The only thing that is not managed by seesaw is the audio output. We provide a small jumper you can solder to connect the audio amplifier to the first analog pin. On our Feather M0’s this is a true analog output (DAC) and you can play audio clips with CircuitPython or Arduino. Other Feathers may not have a DAC! In that case, you can solder a wire to jumper the audio amp to a PWM pin.

You get to use all the non-I2C signal pins on your feather and get a boat-load of extra in/out pins, motor controllers, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your Feather so you can still use all the goodies, including stacking FeatherWings on top. But now you have a robotics playground as well.


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4. CRICKIT HAT FOR RASPBERRY PI

Sometimes we wonder if robotics engineers ever watch movies. If they did, they’d know that making robots into slaves always ends up in a robot rebellion. Why even go down that path? Here at Adafruit, we believe in making robots our friends!

So if you find yourself wanting a companion, consider the robot. They’re fun to program, and you can get creative with decorations.

With that in mind, we designed the Adafruit Crickit HAT – That’s our Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to the Raspberry Pi that lets you #MakeRobotFriend using Python!

Plug the Crickit HAT onto your Pi using the standard 2×20 GPIO connector and start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get 8 signal pins with analog inputs or PWM outputs, capacitive touch sensors, a level-shifted NeoPixel driver and 3W amplified speaker output from the I2S port. It complements & extends your Pi, doing all the things a Pi can’t do, so you can still use all the goodies on the Pi like video, camera, Internet, bluetooth… but now you have a robotics playground as well.

Control of the motors, sensors, NeoPixels, capacitive touch, etc is all done in Python 3. It’s the easiest and best way to program your Pi, and after a couple pip installs you’ll be ready to go. Audio is handled by the Pi’s built in audio system, so anything that plays audio will come out the speaker – that includes Python commands or any application with sound.

The Crickit HAT is powered by seesaw, our I2C-to-whatever bridge firmware. So you only need to use two data pins to control the huge number of inputs and outputs on the Crickit. All those timers, PWMs, NeoPixels, sensors are offloaded to the co-processor.


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5. ADAFRUIT FEATHER M4 EXPRESS

It’s what you’ve been waiting for, the Feather M4 Express featuring ATSAMD51. This Feather is fast like a swift, smart like an owl, strong like a ox-bird (it’s half ox, half bird, OK?) This feather is powered by our new favorite chip, the ATSAMD51J19 –  with its 120MHz Cortex M4 with floating point support and 512KB Flash and 192KB RAM. Your code will zig and zag and zoom, and with a bunch of extra peripherals for support, this will for sure be your favorite new chipset.

And best of all, it’s a Feather – so you know it will work with all our FeatherWings! What a great way to quickly get up and running.

The most exciting part of the Feather M4 is that while you can use it with the Arduino IDE – and it’s bonkers fast when you do, we are shipping it with CircuitPython on board. When you plug it in, it will show up as a very small disk drive with main.py on it. Edit main.py with your favorite text editor to build your project using Python, the most popular programming language. No installs, IDE or compiler needed, so you can use it on any computer, even ChromeBooks or computers you can’t install software on. When you’re done, unplug the Feather and your code will go with you.


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6. ADAFRUIT TRINKET M0

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!

We’ve taken the same form factor we used for the original ATtiny85-based Trinket and gave it an upgrade. The Trinket M0 has swapped out the lightweight ATtiny85 for a ATSAMD21E18 powerhouse. It’s just as small, and it’s easier to use, so you can do more.


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7. NEOTRELLIS M4 WITH ENCLOSURE AND BUTTONS KIT PACK

So you’ve got a cool/witty name for your band, a Soundcloud account, a 3D-printed Daft Punk helmet… so what could be missing from your road to stardom? The NeoTrellis M4 Kit Pack, of course!

The NeoTrellis M4 is an all-in-one USB + NeoPixel + Elastomer + Audio board. It’s powered by our new favoritest-chip-in-the-world, the SAMD51, a Cortex M4 core running at 120 MHz. This chip has a speedy core with CircuitPython and Arduino support, hardware DSP/floating point, dual DACs (more on that later!) and all the goodies you expect from normal chips like I2C, ADC, DMA, etc. It has a roomy 512KB of flash and 192KB of SRAM so it’s great for CircuitPython, we added a full 8MB flash chip so tons of space for files and audio clips. Or you can load Arduino in for bonkers-fast audio processing/generation with our fork of the PJRC Audio library.


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8. HALLOWING M0 EXPRESS

Are you the kind of person who doesn’t like taking down the skeletons and spiders until after January? Well, we’ve got the development board for you. This is electronics at its most spooky! The Adafruit HalloWing is a skull-shaped ATSAMD21 board with a ton of extras built in to make for an adorable wearable, badge, development kit, or the engine for your next cosplay or prop.

On the front is a cute 1.44″ sized 128×128 full color TFT. Our default example code has our spooky eye demo running but you can use it for anything you like to display in glorious color.

There’s also 4 fang-teeth below the display, these are analog/capacitive touch inputs with big alligator-clip holes.


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9. PROP-MAKER FEATHERWING

The Adafruit Feather series gives you lots of options for a small, portable, rechargeable microcontroller board. Perfect for fitting into your next prop build! This FeatherWing will unlock the prop-maker inside all of us, with tons of stuff packed in to make sabers & swords, props, toys, cosplay pieces, and more.

We looked at hundreds of prop builds, and thought about what would make for a great low-cost (but well-designed) add-on for our Feather boards. Here’s what we came up with.


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10. ADAFRUIT FEATHER NRF52840 EXPRESS

The Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Express is the new Feather family member with Bluetooth Low Energy and native USB support featuring the nRF52840!  It’s our take on an ‘all-in-one’ Arduino-compatible + Bluetooth Low Energy with built in USB plus battery charging. With native USB it’s even ready to join the CircuitPython party. We have other boards in the Feather family, check’em out here.

This chip has twice the flash, and four times the SRAM of it’s earlier sibling, the nRF52832 – 1 MB of FLASH and 256KB of SRAM. Compared to the nRF51, this board has 4-8 times more of everything.

For this chip, we’ve added Arduino IDE support – you can program the nRF52840 chip directly to take full advantage of the Cortex-M4 processor, and then calling into the Nordic SoftDevice radio stack when you need to communicate over BLE. Since the underlying API and peripherals are the same for the ‘832 and ‘840, you can supercharge your older nRF52832 projects with the same exact code, with a single recompile!

We’ve also chosen this chip for our first BLE-friendly CircuitPython board! CircuitPython works best with disk drive access, and this is the only BLE-plus-USB-native chip that has the memory to handle running a the little Python interpreter. The massive RAM and speedy Cortex M4F chip makes this a good match.


Honorable mention:

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CUPCADE!

Never be bored again with an adorable little arcade cabinet you can fit in your bag! This Raspberry Pi-powered kit combines our sharp PiTFT 2.8″ displaymini thumbstickmini arcade push buttons, and a whole bunch of components to create the most adorable arcade cabinet in the known universe.

Comes as a big kit with lots of parts including all electronic components, the laser cut enclosure, and a blank SD card (you’ll need to write the RetroPie image). You provide a Raspberry Pi, soldering iron, solder wire, basic electronic hand tools, tape, etc.

New! In December 2018 we’re happy to annouce the newest-bestest cupcade ever. It’s completely redesigned to be easier to use and faster to make. The kit now works with any modern Raspberry Pi (with 2×20 connector), including the Pi Zero and Pi 3.

This kit has a lot of steps, so it’s best for people who have soldered before and, even better, have a little Raspberry Pi/Linux use under their belt. Give yourself a nice long afternoon to put together (about 4-6 hours altogether).


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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