MAKE Controller Kit

Controller1
Intefacecontroller1
Last year, MAKE magazine approached “MakingThings” to create the MAKE Controller Kit, a next-generation family of modular, programmable controller boards. We were delighted, and we’re even more delighted to announce that the kit is now available! The kit appears in MAKE 06 and it’s now available in our store!

Wide-ranging fields have been revolutionized — or even made possible — by microcontrollers, including industrial robotics, automotive engineering, special F/X, irrigation, interactive exhibits, motor control, and all kinds of research. For a long time these powerful chips, and the tools required to use them, were so specialized that few people could explore their potential without a formal background in electronics and software engineering.

That’s changing, but the effort required to program a chip and design a circuit is still a barrier that excludes countless creative, imaginative people. Fortunately, new software and tool communities are making microcontroller programming easier and cheaper. Meanwhile, the chips themselves have reached a new level of power, 32-bit designs with built-in networking capabilities. All the elements are in place for the next revolution in general-purpose controller boards: a flexible design that takes advantage of the latest chips but is easier to work with. A controller kit that’s fully programmable, and a great platform for shared code, but that’s also fun and configurable right out of the box, without any programming. An open source hardware standard that’s visible enough to attract a healthy developer community, and inspiring enough to make it grow – Link.

16 thoughts on “MAKE Controller Kit

  1. I viewed the specs on this thing and noticed no digital I/O listed. Are there any or are the analog inputs configurable as digital?

  2. I viewed the specs on this thing and noticed no digital I/O listed. Are there any or are the analog inputs configurable as digital?

  3. To be honest, isn’t this a little expensive for a hobyist board? OK – it has the power to do some serious work – but how about something a little smaller – say, based on the Atmel AVR.

    OK – so it wouldn’t have ethernet, or some of the other features, but for simple projects, it would be perfect (I use AVRs myself for most things!). A plug-in board that contains everything you need like voltage regulator, reset device and crystal (and perhaps even a MAX232!) would be excellent. Couple that with the winAVR distribution (including gcc-AVR), then you’ve got a pretty nice setup…

  4. hey steve, as you said – this kit has a lot of power, it’s all open source, you can do a lot with it. this is the first of many kits for us… so we’ll consider this and keep everyone posted!

  5. I could knock up a simple design for the 8-bit board – but manufacturing (in volume anyway) would be quite an issue for me…

    …and, of course, having a UK stockist for the Make Store would be a great advantage for those of us on the other side of the pond!

  6. ethernet is pretty interesting…

    …if i could use this to make an embedded shoutcast client, i’d be all over it.

  7. Addressing the “isn’t this too expensive for a hobbyist?” and “no digital I/O?” questions.. if you want to get you r feet wet with microprocessors, you could go grab an Arduino board from http://arduino.cc and/or http://sparkfun.com … It’s also open source hardware and cross platform open source software, has FAR FEWER bells and whistles, but still enormously useful, especially for the price. (US$29) If you like it, and continue to progress with it, I gaurantee you’ll start looking for more I/O, networking, wireless, etc, etc,… that’s when this board is going to start becoming super attractive.

  8. my feet are becoming wet, so this board is looking pretty attractive. :) I’d also love to see you produce the Wiring board and distribute it in the US… it’s sort of in between the arduino (low end for cost and features) and the makingthings board (high end cost and features)

    http://wiring.org.co/ioboard/compare.html

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