Let's Make Robots!

Tiny Arduino designed for mini robots

Hi all, I'm new to Let's Make Robots, but I wanted to let you all know of a project that I'm working on specifically targeted to RC and micro robots. I'm in the process of starting up an open source hardware company in Akron, OH, from a project that I started as a member of SYN/HAK, the Akron, Ohio Hackerspace, and we just launched a Kickstarter campaign last week. This is a family of boards that shrink the size of the Arduino to a new low, but without giving up the signals, processor power / memory, and expansion capabilities (via shields) that make the Arduino so powerful.

There are obviously other tiny Arduino type boards out there (like the Digispark or the FetmoDuino), but our big focus is on creating tiny shields as well to make for an awesomely small project. We've past our initial goal and our now working on a number of stretch goals to create tiny shields for things like motor control, Bluetooth, Wifi, Ethernet, etc.

We really see this as being an enabler for the internet of things, to allow makers to add their projects very easily to the internet.

Here's a brief overview of the project:

The TinyDuino is just 20mmx20mm (Smaller than a US Quarter)! with a coin cell battery holder option, but still has stackable shield support and all the Arduino shield signals available! And it uses the same Atmel microcontroller as used on the Arduino Uno.

The TinyLily Mini is 14mm in diameter (Smaller than a US dime)! This board has large sewtabs for easy soldering to, and also uses the same ATmega328p as used on an Uno. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kenburns/tinyduino-the-tiny-arduino-compatible-platform-w-s

Since you see all of the similar type projects out there, I'm extremely interested on your thoughts of the project. 

Thanks! Ken @ TinyCircuits (http://Tiny-Circuits.com)

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for this to work i would think a usb,power, and a proto sheild would need to be included...or else it cant be programmed or used.

You are right that a USB TinyShield is needed to program the unit, and this will also supply power.  However, if you don't need USB all the time, you can just disconnect the USB shield after programming.  The nice part about this is you only need one USB shield, and can program a bunch of main processor boards. 

Needing a power shield is application dependant - if you are running off of USB or anything less that 5.0V, you don't need one.  So if you're running directly off of a battery less than 5.0V (like a coin cell, Li-Ion, or three AA's), you don't need a power board.

A proto board is pretty much needed to attach to your project, the good thing about these is that they are very cheap and very easy to solder to.

Thanks!

Ken - TinyCircuits

Is this the one I inserted into Merser's swarmbot thread?

Yes

The problem with any Arduino or compatible board is always going to be interfacing / connecting it to other devices. Once you start going really small like this then you are forced to use special connectors and thus your range of custom shields.

The popularity of the Tiny Arduino is really going to come down to not just cost or size but how easily can you interface it to everything? I think your small connector may prove "user unfriendly" for many.

Thanks for taking a look!  I certainly understand the concern about the small connector, we don't really expect that most makers would try to connect directly to the connector itself, unless designing your own custom TinyShield. 

Just for this reason, there are several different types of prototype shields that break out all of the signals to very easy to solder to connections.  There are protoshields available with standard 0.1" spacing, the same spacing as on an standard Arduino Uno.  So if you've been able to interface a standard Arduino to your project, it's just as easy to interface the TinyDuino as well. 

Thanks!

Ken

 

 

Well at least there are proto shields, and I imagine a shield breaking all the signals out to an UNO form factor would a) be cool and b) defeat the purpose except for testing purposes anyway.

You know, I like this idea. Fully powered arduino in a tiny tiny solution, yet with shields....