hardware prototyping

Mad scientist shrinks Arduino to size of an AA battery

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The hardware tinkerers and prototype mavens out there will invariably have stumbled across the Arduino platform. Completely open source and always pushing the limits for collaboration, there are a ton of different development boards available, but none are as awesome as Johan Kanflo’s AAduino. Behind the delightfully punny name, you’ll find an Arduino-compatible board the size of an AA battery.

Growing up in the bad old days, you’ll remember what an epic pain in the rear-end it used to be to get started with electronics and embedded circuits. That all went away when the Arduino team sprinkled a generous helping of user-friendliness across the proceedings, making it easy to (re)program the processors, and using a Java-clone and an easy-to-learn IDE made it ridiculously easy to develop software for hardware applications.

Based on the Tiny328, AAduino takes the platform to its sexiest form factor yet: Turning a three-AA battery holder with two batteries in it — the third battery compartment holds the AAduino — into a powerful, yet diminutive computing platform that fits in the palm of even the smallest hands.

Two AA batteries and an AAduino side by side, in a display of effortless cool we haven't seen this side of Hollywood in a decade.

Two AA batteries and an AAduino side by side, in a display of effortless cool we haven’t seen this side of Hollywood in a decade.

The truly ingenious thing about using the form factor of an AA battery is that by wiring it in “backwards” (i.e. with the + and – poles reversed), the AAduino can pretend to be a battery itself, and be powered by the batteries that are resting by its side. Elegant, cool and not something I’ve seen done before.

If you want to get your hands dirty and build your own, Johan has embraced the spirit of Arduino fully, and made schematics and all the other fun things you need available on GitHub.