Jared Bouck has created what he calls the sprout board. It’s is a high-quality main board that is designed to allow users to simply plug in an Arduino and create a wide variety of high-quality practical projects.
Jared's system is 100 percent open-source and totally customizable to the needs of each implementation. The applications based on the sprout board range from automated gardening control, home heat, and sprinkler systems to interactive art projects. Because this gadget is based on the flexible Arduino platform, anyone from a beginner to an expert -- with a little programming background -- can customize it.
Here is the finished sprout board. It allows the microcontroller and an accessory shield to dock with it
and utilize the on-board features with ease.
Here is the board with Arduino and Ethernet shield mounted.
The assembly of the sprout board is very simple and requires very little experience with soldering.
Seems like Jared has come up with a design that will give a lot of aspiring engineers and enthusiasts a solid foundation for creating whatever kind of innovation they can come up with. Yet another good example of how open source technologies can be a springboard for creativity.
I applaud the newly-rediscovered enthusiasm for "homebrewing" and "hacking" -- though I do find the negative connotations of the latter term somewhat disturbing.
Building stuff and, in too many instances cases, filling my parent's basement with the pleasing aroma of charred electronic components was my path to a career in electronics. I think this has been lost for the past 30+ years simply because it wasn't considered "cool" or some other equally stupid reason.
The bone I have to pick with all of this is that seems that it is being done in a vacuum. Perfectly good terms that we have used to name and describe things for years are being replaced by new ones for no good reason and, I believe, to the detriment of all.
For example, why would the Arduino (sp?) crowd feel it necessary to rename a "daughter" or "piggy back" card a "SHIELD"? Isn't that word already being used for something else? When I first started reading about the new, inexpensive hobby stuff built for and around this nifty new part I was confused by the continued reference to "shields" when there were obviously none (by my definition) present. Finally, I figured out what was going on. I just don't understand why. Do "they" not know what terminology already exists?
Also, when did machine code, programs, software, etc. become "scripts"? Has Silicon Valley been moved to Hollywood?
Wouldn't we all be better off to continue to use the terms that we have developed over the last 50-75 years and just add new terms for the things that are actually new. That way, we minimize the confusion, accentuate the new ideas and move things ahead.
There are two meanings for "hacking", the original constructive usage from MIT, and the destructive term used badly by the media. We've failed to replace the latter with "cracking", so we're stuck with two meanings. The first meaning is not going to go away and shying away from using "hacking" in the proper way is no way to encourage proper usage.
We should all be educating people on the proper, better usage. One of the best developments has been the emergence of "hacker spaces". I'm a member of Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, CA. There are many more, popping up all over.
It seems that every time someone re-discovers a largely forgotten technology, they invent new terms. I used to build micro-processor computers based upon the infamous Z-80. I wrote EVERYTHING, and burned it in to an EPROM.
As long as we're acting curmudgeonly, here's my rant:
These days, the focus for I/O seems to be quite different. One thing I find disturbing is the continued lack of anyone teaching people how to properly ground and harden inputs and outputs. Things such as power supply decoupling, galvanic isolation, snubbing a relay coil, how to properly shield a device, or signal wiring integrity are STILL barely even mentioned in schools or hobbyist publications.
The end result is that guys like Howard Johnson make lots of money teaching what should have been taught before.
While I agee, I'd point out that leaving out all those paranoid details makes the Arduino much more beginner friendly. I've been working with one for eight months and it amazes me how much you can do and have it just work.
Also would point out that there are several other micros available in the Arduino form factor that could be used with the Sprout board with Arduino shields. I think this is because there is a critical mass of Arduino shields out there that are useful to any architecture.
Wow... I am so tired of these 50 year old has been old school myopic elitist ass hole engineers that think they know everything and don't know the world around them in the slightest. This is a great idea, design and in no way is responsible for the anti arduino, vernacular troll bs you are dumping. CELIBRATE CREATIVITY AND DIVERGANT THINKING! The main goal this has is to disrupt an industry that is overpriced with an open source appliance. That is revolutionary and worthy of praise.For the last 20 years I have been the head of special R&D projects and I have learned to see talent above mindless automatons that can use cad programs and do as they are told. This shines heads and shoulders above many of the projects ive seen here and is starkly contrasted with the negative bs. This is visionary, the type of visionary that solves real world problems, founds companies and employees mindless drones that know it all and troll post comments because of there superior intellect.
Now to address the arduino side of things....If you don't get it, I'm sorry for you. But arduino is here to stay and frankly is our countries only hope to get more highly skilled technical engineering capability in the job market in the future. Unless you like shipping our work to India and China because they have more degree holders now than the USA. Arduino is not hardware alone. It's a movement. And it has massive weight and potential. We can troll all day long but your job security still sucks just as much. Our future will need ideas, innovators and those brave enough to make steps regardless of all the negative muck that holds back progress. We need an army of kids going into the work force with a understanding of these concepts. And I applaud arduino for doing just that. Then couple that with it being in fashion or vogue that helps propel it even further and we have a win.
So in short... stop trolling and start helping make it better, otherwise your just old, pathetic and feeble and will be replaced soon by younger, more vibrant stars.
" I am so tired of these 50 year old has been old school myopic elitist ass hole engineers"
Whoa ! I am a 64 year old with wide angle ( somewhat fading ) vision .
I had been designing and building equipment with CMOS logic since the 60s, always saying I will get into micros one day, but never had the time to learn.
The Arduino concept ( warts and all ) was my stepping stone that allowed me to quickly absorb the programming concepts, and within a year I am using ATmega 328s on nearly all my projects.
I am sure if I had time to get into Z80 or whatever 30 years ago, I would still rave about the Arduino concept now, not because of its name, shape , or its offset socket mistake :-), but because its ability to allow beginners and old-farts alike, to jump straight into the hands-on side of microprocessors.
Those with the inclination can then move on to "real" micro projects should they wish.
Tom, I think you need to calm down a bit. There are lots of ways to solve any problem. As for the Arduino, I am not so impressed. I have found vendor evaluation and startup boards that are less costly and are stull "open" enough to be set up in lots of different ways. They generally come with complete drawings and software. They are meant to be modified and adapted to an application. While I see the Arduino used in some Univeristy programs, I have been advocating that they use boards from the commercial vendors. There are two reasons for this. One, in the real world, they will need to be familiar with the vendors' products. Part of an engineer's job is doing a make/buy trade study. They need to determine if there is an existing part that will meet the need (perhaps with some modification). Second, I have found that a lot of the vendor boards are less expensive. Software is generally free with a restriction on the size of the application.
I work with kids in the Lego robotics world and have run across a LOT of kids that would love to get into something like this but have no way to even see into it let alone get access to this sort of thing.
You want to help this country get out of the mess were in? Get this into kids hands! In weeks they will blow you away with what they can do!
You can find the list of parts to build the board if you scoll down the story. Als, at the very bottom you'll find detailed build instructions. We always run parts and build instructions with our Gadget Freak postings.
This is a nice project but it's not earth shattering news. Parallax has had the Basic Stamp for over 20 years!
The Parallax development board is more compact.
Also the Pic microcontroler has been around just as long, and I am sure there are priject boards out there for them too.
As far getting them into schools, I know Parallax has a forum dedicated to teachers, and they offer discounts to schools on their project boards. The even kit the microprocessor with components to create a fully functional and programmable robot.
This board appeears to be designed for a rack mount system. I doubt most casusal Arduino hackers need a rack. It would be more appropriate to eliminate the fragile connection strip and put the connectors on the main board, perhaps as a second board spin. Better yet, add holes for a pair of double row headers right at the junction between main board and the connection fin. Then you could saw off the strip, move it anywhere and connect it up with an old hard drive cable. Finally, get Adafruit or Evil Mad Science to stock them.
This is only true in part overall. It looks like more thought has gone into this than you give credit. They also have a wall mount version that allows the placement of an lcd screen in the board cutout. Seems to me while yes still ridged, it provides a great amount of further flexibility.
First off, nice work, Jared! Probably a lot nicer than a software monkey like myself will ever understand. Good luck with 'the market'!
I tend to agree about renaming stuff - ditto the shields 'wt...' - but the question is not so much what bugs us, but what works. Arduino has succeeded nicely in a world overfilled with iPods and PSPs. Jared's rack-mount form factor may be short-sighted -- or it may be way ahead of its time. We'll know in a few years!
IMHO, the coolest innovation is seeing open source invade the hardware world. Sure, it makes a lot of people uneasy - just like it did with software. But proprietary SW didn't die, which bodes well for the future of HW. Meanwhile. open source continues to 'democratize magic.' Freak on!
('Bodes well'? I'm dating myself!) The more I think about Jared's design, the more I like it. Know what's missing? An ugly jumble of wires. Fantastic!
Because it fulfills a need. It provides open source server room / general environmental monitoring platform that is fully open source. This is not a catch all product. It is for specific industries. And costs about 10% of a comparable comical product with no residual licensing costs. For companies, data centers, even green houses this is a critical savings and will drive prices down to a reasonable level.
Your attitude is a "what have you done for me lately?" sort of thing. If I'm such a geezer, then you don't need me.
Seriously, I do help out. I have the Arduino, some MSP-430 stuff, protoboards, radios, ocilloscopes, DVMs, and a really messy shop where I can show my kids and their friends what real electronics and ham radio are like.
I teach these kids programming at assembly, low level, and high level languages, soldering, receiver design, modulation theory, and many more things.
You want people to contribute? Don't insult them. And don't make assumptions about their character.
May your new year be less elitist and more hands-on than this one.
and not intended for mobile or industrial use. No provisions have been made for surviving EMC compliance tests, so better be careful if using this board for home automation, except if you are at home...
Nevertheless, this is another helpful contribution, now based on the Arduino form factor. Give it to kids which are otherwise destroying the universe several times a day with their game computers, and they will show you whether they are able to do something useful or not. Let' see!
Things are getting quite lively here with the generational bickering. Interestingly, the kids' skills with gaming software and familiarity with electronic communications and social networking will come in handy with future technology, even present-day technology. One of the trends mentioned in Beth's piece, The Top 6 Design Hardware and Software Trends of 2011 mentions design tools that use social networking.
The final showdown is under way in our first-ever Gadget Freak of the Year contest. Who will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show? It's up to you, dear readers, to tell us.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.