Micro Python is priming the presses. After smashing its Kickstarter campaign, the programming platform is almost ready to release its Micro Python boards into the public market.
Python is known for its ease of use and simplistic style. Although the programming language got its start in the early 1990s, it is still one of the most popular technology tongues used today. It's no wonder that when word got out that Python was marrying the microcontroller, everyone RSVP’d.
Damien George launched his Kickstarter campaign last fall for the Micro Python project, looking to raise £15,000 in funding. By December 2013, the campaign proved wildly successful and Python enthusiasts dished out £97,803 to support the production of the software and microchips. And it's no wonder; it’s a pretty wicked mini computer.
The Micro Python board is based on the STM32F405 Microcontroller. It comes ready for Python programming and is one of the fastest on the market, running 168MHz, with 1MiB Flash and 192KiB. The board measures up at 33 mm x 40 mm and with top-of-the-line processing speed and storage, it can handle complex scripts and functions, too.
Micro Python board.
The Micro Python board has a built-in interface for USB and functions much like a storage device. Programmers can write their Python scripts directly onto the battery-operated board and once stored, the Micro Python board will function entirely independent of a PC.
The new MCU is great for tinkerers that are just starting out, but also wets the palette of the seasoned tinker vet. As anyone who uses Python knows, simplicity is key. That’s why the micro Python board comes pre-loaded with a micro SD slot, four LEDs, a clock that functions in real time, accelerometer, switch, and 30 I/O pins, including USARTS, SPIs, 12C buses, DAC and AC pins, and four powered servo ports.
Micro Python board pinout.
When you open your Micro Python board, it functions right out of the box, as it's pre-installed with Micro Python. All you need to do is connect it to your computer via USB and begin programming it to execute specific functions. Once your board is plugged in, you need only program the servomotors, hit the reset button, and watch as your homemade robot begins its assault!
Coding the Micro Python board.
If you’re an experienced tinkerer, then you already know what this wicked chip can add to your projects. If you’re a newbie, this computer on a chip can add all sorts of fun things to your projects, including making LEDs flash, giving life to your device’s interface, or commanding the arm of your robot to swing in the direction of your kid brother. Oh, the possibilities.
What’s really unique about this board isn’t the board itself, but the program upon which it’s based. It began in the late 1980s/early 1990s as a programming language that would continue to develop into the simple style we know and love today -- Python.
Python was created by Guido von Rossum in the early 1990s to be a simple language for computer programmers. While the basis behind the language is simplicity, it can also handle complex scripts and tasks. For example, Python can write functions, execute string processes, write classes, create lists and dictionaries, read and write files, create a generation system, execute closures, design list comprehensions, and deal with execution handling.
The Micro Python software is a leaner, cleaner version of Python intended for the microcontroller, but it actually works for PCs, too. Micro Python is sort of like a mini operating system for computers that need to maintain low memory usage, and it actually runs faster than CPython.
Micro Python software is already available to the public through the MIT open-source license, but you’ll have to wait to get your board. Kickstarter backers will be the first to receive their boards and although most have already shipped, a faithful 21 backers have yet to receive them. Once they do, we can all get our hands on these nifty microcontrollers, which are expected to officially launch publicly in March, 2015.