There are lots of ways to make programming microcontrollers really easy – CircuitPython, MicroPython, and Arduino are all options to get your project up and running, even as a beginner programmer. But sometimes you don’t just need easy – you need beefy. When it’s time to break out the big guns, you might consider using an RTOS – a Real Time Operating System, sort of a very tiny version of what runs on your desktop or laptop computer, but one that’s built for single-chip microcontrollers like those on an Arduino or Feather board.
RTOSes can be big and complex, since they’re usually marketed toward corporate teams or very experienced freelancers. But they don’t have to be hard to learn! In this guide, we’ll be sticking to the basics – getting an LED up and running in an up-and-coming RTOS, Zephyr, which has been backed by the Linux Foundation, Intel, NXP, and many other powerful microcontroller companies.
You’ll learn how to:
Install the Zephyr core on Mac OSX or Linux computers
Install Zephyr’s custom management tool, West
Test your setup with the RTOS’s built-in sample projects
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.