With all of the recent creative innovation in the maker world due to the growing popularity and availability of small, cheap computer boards, Texas Instruments has also gotten into the fun with its Stellaris Launchpad platform. The Launchpad equips developers with an ARM-based evaluation board that provides onboard emulation and debugging for project builds without the need for external hardware. In fact, a group from TI chose to show off their own creative skills at this year’s SXSW Festival by assembling and displaying a future Texas Instruments prototype mouse based on the Stellaris board.
The Stellaris LM4F120H5QR board provides users with a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 processor operating at 80 MHz, 256 kb of Flash memory, two 20-pin dual-gender stackable headers for Boosterpack compatibility, and several peripheral options including: USB, SPI, 12C, MSPS ADC, and UART ports.
TI spokesperson Austin Blackstone shows off new mouse prototype based on the Stellaris Launchpad evaluation board with an added accelerometer. (Source: Texas Instruments)
For this project, the TI group made use of a Stellaris sensor prototype pack’s onboard accelerometer to communicate motion to a Windows XP PC via USB. The accelerometer senses motion left, right, up, and down, passing it down the Stellaris board headers to the ARM processor, which then communicates the information to the computer. TI’s spokesperson Austin Blackstone then demonstrated its use by controlling an on-screen pointer’s movement on Microsoft point, though he points out that the group was unable to work out the click-and-drag feature in their 30 minutes of preparation.
No information was given about what the technology is a prototype of, but Texas Instruments assures us of a big surprise that will be announced later in the year. In addition, just as the TI group showed the creative potential of a few simple modifications to their project-based board, so too will several other makers lucky enough to attend this year’s SXSW festival. Were you able to check out the maker tent in between the overwhelming presence of emphatic musical performances and film screenings?
Cabe, I think it was mostly music until the last few years. It's been known as an edgier version of the Austin City Limits Festival. Of course, the Austin City Limits Festival is so huge there is an edgy festival buried in it. I'd like to go to SXSW too. It might be a tad overwhelming with scores of big and little venues throughout the city. The City Limits Festival has the advantage and focus of a single location.
SXSW hasn't been edgy for years. Like most things that become popular and mainstream (including TED or Coachella), it doesn't attract truly alternative thinkers and artists anymore. MtyMx is a good alternative to SXSW and e.g is a good alternative to TED today.
But, I think SXSW is edgier than CES for new companies to launch in the right atmosphere. IT's good to go and see what's hitting the mass market.
Depending on how much TI's board will end up costing it will be interesting to see what 3D printing hobbyists will make from it. The potential could be astronomic and could include not only custom made mice but miniature smart robots or even personal mobile devices such as MP3 and media players as well. It will be interesting to see what these new mini-boards will be used for in the near future.
Yes, NadineJ, SXSW is certainly coming into its own. But I hope it doesn't begin to compete with CES. SXSW has a nice alternative edge. This is the even that debuts the edgier side of music, film, and technology. I say let it stay edgy.
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