Texas Instruments calls its eZ430-F2013 the "world's smallest microcontroller development tool." Residing in a Universal Serial Bus (USB) stick, the device serves as an emulator that allows new users and experienced developers to evaluate the company's power-stingy MSP430 microcontroller architecture. The company's engineers stress, however, that it's more than a demo tool — users can fully develop their applications with it. "You can go as far as prototyping your application with this one board," notes Juan Alvarez, MSP430 marketing manager. "There's a lot of capability in it." By providing that capability, TI engineers say they are enabling users to minimize current consumption in such applications as motion detectors, smoke detectors, digital cameras, televisions and various sensors. Because the unit's die is so small, current consumption is just 200 µA/MIPS. Standby current is an extraordinary 500 nA. The eZ430-F2013 can be obtained from TI for $20. Learn more at http://rbi.ims.ca/4919-516.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
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