Got a CLUE? Haven’t a CLUE? Time to get a CLUE about why we called it CLUE – product naming

On Twitter and Discord – David Whale, Darrell, and Romilly’s RAREblog asked why we called the CLUE, CLUE! We’ve talked about this on our weekly live shows, and here’s a post about it. Naming products is fulfilling … it’s rare, but possible, in just one word, to capture the imagination, or become something memorable for ages.


Sometimes a name just floats our way, FEATHER for example! We wanted a name that demonstrated a form factor that is small, light, but also something powerful that can take flight, or give wings to something. Uplifting, rising, soaring. FEATHER is what we came up with, and there are now hundreds of FEATHERs and FEATHER WINGS.


Adafruit 2019 3500

Other names we’ve come up with evolved over time: Circuit Playground is a device, it’s a kid’s show, and it’s also part of our mobile app naming.


For the devices we have Circuit Playground Classic, Express, and Bluefruit. Bluefruit being the wireless (Bluetooth / BTLE / Bluetooth Smart), and for Express – a faster chip (ATSAMD21 ARM Cortex M0 Processor, running at 3.3V and 48MHz).

What about CLUE?

Adafruit 2019 3503

When we started developing the board, we kept saying “COME TO YOUR SENSORS!” … that is a play on “come to your senses”. There are so many sensors packed in the board, with a great display, what can we call the board something people will remember and be able to make the name their own too? Well, what are the next generation of scientists and engineers doing? They’re doing a lot of sensor work in some way, from the kid in 4-H to the grad student, to the citizen scientist – everything is a sensor, we’re all trying to find clues to what has happened, what is happening or what might happen. What can we do with that information? We’re looking for a CLUE.

And that’s really it, we’re all looking for that CLUE that can help solve that problem, help with a mystery, a clue for a puzzle we need help with … all to give us a tiny glimpse of the universe. If we work together and get enough clues, maybe we’ll better understand this existence, and most of all, maybe we’ll better understand each other.

Adafruit 2019 3502

Thanks for reading. The CLUE is available now.

And below is my sketch when we were planning the product last year.


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, 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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