Single-board microcontrollers today online circuit board design

- May 19, 2017-

Single-board microcontrollers today online circuit board design

Single-board microcontrollers today


Dwengo board

It is now cheap and simple to design circuit boards for microcontrollers. Development host systems are also cheap, especially when using open source software. Higher level programming languages abstract details of the hardware, making differences between specific processors less obvious to the application programmer. Rewritable flash memory has replaced slow programming cycles, at least during program development. Accordingly, almost all development now is based on cross-compilation from personal computers and programs are downloaded to the controller board through a serial-like interface, usually appearing to the host as a USB device.

The original market demand for a simplified board implementation is no longer as relevant for microcontrollers. Single-board microcontrollers are still important, but have shifted their focus to:

  • Easily accessible platforms aimed at traditionally "non-programmer" groups, such as artists, designers, hobbyists, and others interested in creating interactive objects or environments. Some typical projects in 2011 included: the backup control of DMX stage lights and special effects, multi-camera control, autonomous fighting robots, controlling bluetooth projects from a computer or smart phone, LEDs and multiplexing, displays, audio, motors, mechanics, and power control. These controllers may be embedded to form part of a physical computing project. Popular choices for this work are the Arduino, Dwengo or Wiring.

  • Technology demonstration boards for innovative processors or peripheral features:

    • AVR Butterfly

    • Parallax Propeller

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