Microduino Studio wants to make Arduino more accessible by creating a smaller, flexible and cheaper hardware addition to the prototyping platform. All Arduino-compatible boards and extension modules created by Microduino are about the size of a quarter and stackable, which makes it easy to build micro-robotics and other tiny projects.
After launching on Kickstarter last week, Microduino hit its goal of $20,000 in just three days. You can still back the project until October 19 for pledges starting at $20, which will get you the Microduino basic kit with functions equivalent to one Arduino Uno circuit board.
Microduino achieves its tiny size by separating the Arduino Uno into its controller and communication cores and stacking them on top of each other. All core boards and extension modules use the same U-shaped pin-out, which means they can also be stacked together.
Tiki Wang, the startup’s CEO, says Microduino’s boards and extension modules were created to help users decrease prototyping and production expenses. Each has only the circuits necessary for their specific function, which keeps size and cost down. Extension modules currently ready for production includes ones that add Ethernet connectivity, 2.4GHz wireless communication, Micro SD card jacks, a Bluetooth Shield, a 10 DOF Sensor, Li-ion battery management and OLED display. More are currently being tested by members of Beijing Makerspace and other Microduino users.
Many of Microduino’s first users belong to Beijing Makerspace and some of their projects are linked to on Microduino’s Kickstarter and Facebook pages. Wang says robots and copters are two popular projects that take advantage of the Microduino’s small size and lightness. One maker used Microduino in a GPS logger that can be attached onto a bicycle frame, while a university professor created a “smart garden” so he can monitor his plants’ soil moisture, wind exposure and temperature over the Internet. All of Microduino’s design files and firmware are available at the Microduino Wiki.
Microduino is the first Kickstarter project from members of Beijing Makerspace, and Wang says he expects to see many more exciting open-source hardware projects emerge from the community soon.