Building from the success of the first Espruino board, creator Gordon Williams revisited Kickstarter to launch its successor, the Espruino Pico. The biggest changes are its processor — a powerful ARM Cortex M4 — and its form factor — a diminutive 1.3″ x 0.6″, with a USB type-A male plug on one end, letting you pop the board directly into your computer to program it.

And that programming aspect is what continues to make Espruino unique, letting makers control their hardware with Javascript, which runs directly on the board itself. You can write code for it directly into a terminal window, or use the Espruino web-app IDE. Because there’s no compiler element, the original code stays on the board, accessible for modifying anytime you plug it into your computer. This also speeds up prototyping — uploading is simply just saving the file, without having to wait for the board to flash itself. It’s also very efficient, running for extended periods of time on nothing more than a small battery.

With the company’s open-source ideals, there is an active community that can help a maker transition from a C++ based Arduino language and workflow to prototyping with Javascript (see also the Make book Making things Smart, also by Williams). But from our experience, it’s as simple as plug-and-play.