There have been a rash of short videos popping onto the Adafruit youtube channel recently that depict Limor Fried showing off a new board driving some fun cardboard based projects. This new board, which we can hear Limor explain is the CRICKIT, appears to be in prototype stages. It got me really curious.
Here it is driving a servo to open and close a simple cardboard hand.
Art appears to be coming alive thanks to a motor rotating the painting.
And finally, a demo of several servos all running from the same board.
Phil Torrone was happy to fill in the blanks here, and give us some insight into what CRICKIT is and what Adafruit has in store around this new board. CRICKIT, “Creative Robot interactive Construction Kit”, is a board that you would use to drive motors, sensors, lights, and all kinds of stuff for your projects. This would work in conjunction with your Circuitplayground or Arduino (and many others) to allow you to create robotics without the hassle of figuring out all the additional circuits to do things like power your motors or do capacitive touch sensing.
The real magic is all the above is through a co-processor chip (adafruit seesaw) which manages everything via I2C. that means you can use it with an ESP8266 Feather or Circuit Playground Express, and only need 2 pins! You can make a full robotics project and not have to worry about managing PWMs, or NeoPixels, its all done for you and fully cross platform.
here’s a quick rundown of what the board will have
CRICKIT has everything makers want/need for their creative mechatronics or robotics project:
4 x standard servos (mini or large)
4 x high current ULN2003 ‘Darlington’ drive transistors with kickback diodes, great for relays, solenoids, large LEDs, single motors. can also drive a uni-polar stepper
8 x analog&digital digital I/O for connecting various sensors, buttons, LEDs etc. We have female socket headers so its easy to plug in jumpers & wires. matching power and ground pins on each
2 x bi-directional DC motor drivers (DRV8833) with PWM support and overcurrent limited to 1 Amp max each. can also be used to drive a bi-polar stepper
4 x capacitive touch pads
1 x Neopixel output with level shifter on output so its 5V logic
1 x mono class D speaker amp with volume adjust potentiometer
1 x 5V @ 4A DC power input with on/off switch. Power input protection, will automatically turn off when input voltage is about 5.5V – so no risk to smashing your board if you grab a 9V adapter by accident!
There’s more to this than just a board though. Adafruit has been thinking about cardboard a lot lately and has some ideas in store. I didn’t get specifics about their plans, on if they intend to have custom cut cardboard kits available, or if they are aiming to focus more on upcycling with solid plans, but Phil mentioned that they have many projects that will soon be gracing the Adafruit Learning system.
They’re hoping to have beta boards in the hands of testers within a few weeks and are aiming for the final product to cost less than $30.