Digilent Inc.'sI/O Explorer board is a microcontroller-powered USB based input/output
expansion peripheral for PC computers. The I/O Explorer is useful for introductory
to intermediate programming classes to give students the ability to interact with
I/O devices outside of the PC.
USB Peripheral Devices
The I/O Explorer
provides RC servo connectors and a number of built-in I/O devices, such as switches,
push buttons, LEDs, rotary encoders and a speaker/buzzer. Also included are
Digilent Peripheral Module (PmodTM) connectors that allow access to and control
of devices external to the I/O Explorer. The board may be used either as a USB bus powered device or as a
self powered device. The board provides analog input channels and analog output
channels via on-board Analog to Digital (A/D) and Digital to Analog (D/A) converters.
There is also a Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter (UART) interface
for asynchronous serial communications.
The I/O Explorer can also be used as a microcontroller development board. It
microcontrollers, one having USB device capability. All the user requires is a
programming cable or in-system debugger to load firmware into the microcontroller.
Digilent supplies the firmware images needed to restore the I/O Explorer to the
factory configuration as a USB peripheral device if it has been reprogrammed
with user defined firmware.
The fun factor continues to draw developers to Linux. This open-source system continues to succeed in the market and in the hearts and minds of developers. Design News will delve into this territory with next week's Continuing Education Class titled, “Introduction to Linux Device Drivers.”
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