Teensy Gets A Prop Shield

God of microcontrollers and king of electrons [Paul Stoffregen] is famous for his Teensy microcontroller dev boards, and for good reason. If you have a project that does more than blink a few pins, but doesn’t need to run a full Linux build, any one of the Teensy dev boards are a great option. As a dev board, [Paul] has released a few ‘shields’ that add various functionality – for example the audio adapter board that is able to play CD quality audio and perform DSP and FFT operations. Now, [Paul] has launched a new shield designed for interactive light and sound effects on art installations and for the rest of the crew at Burning Man. It’s called the Prop Shield, and adds more sensors, audio amps, and blinkies than a Teensy has ever had.

The Teensy Prop shield is equipped with 10DOF motion sensors, including a FXOS8700 accelerometer/magnetometer, a FXAS21002 gyroscope, and an MPL3115 altimeter and temperature sensor. A two Watt LM48310 audio amplifier can drive 4 or 8 ohm speakers, and 8 Megabytes of Flash memory can hold all the data for audio or a very long string of APA102 individually addressable LEDs.

The combination of motion sensors, audio amplifiers, and LED drivers may seem like an odd combination, but this is a shield for very odd projects. Stage effect, wearables, and handheld props become very easy with this board, and haunted houses are about to get really cool. With the on-board Flash, this board makes for a very capable data logger, and although the altitude sensor only reads pressure up to about 40,000 feet, this could be a very handy board for high altitude balloons.

The Prop Shield is available now in [Paul]’s shop. There are two versions, one ‘wit’ the motion sensors for $19.50, and the other ‘witout’ motion sensors for $8.40. The distinction is based on the Philly Cheesesteak protocol.

For the last few weeks, [Paul] has put the prop shield in the hands of a few dozen beta testers. Their impressions are in a forum thread, and like all of [Paul]’s projects, the response has been very good.

21 thoughts on “Teensy Gets A Prop Shield

  1. > audio adapter board that is able to play CD quality audio and perform DSP and FFT operations.
    Audio adapter board only provide the audio I/O. It is the microcontroller on the Teensy that runs the DSP and FFT library.

  2. And here I thought he released a daughter board that contains a Propeller Microcontroller. Hmm, overloading terms in this day and age can cause all sorts of confusion.

    1. You use a very English sounding name though. But by your own admittance you lack knowledge of the not that uncommon word ‘prop’.
      Shows you how the internet can fool people I guess.

      1. What does his name have to do with anything? This is a hacking website, so the use of the word “prop” is typically reserved for the propeller or possibly regarding RC equipment like a quadcopter.

      2. His name sounds English, and the name of this board is ‘prop shield’ (and so that makes it a tech name).
        Now prop means:
        1 a pole or beam used as a temporary support.
        2 a major source of support or assistance.

        And propeller is different word than prop.

        propeller (also propellor)
        a revolving shaft with two or more broad, angled blades, for propelling a ship or aircraft.

        And to blindly assume anything with few recognizable letters belongs to one specific item seems a bit.. odd.

        And no I wasn’t talking about an odometer when I said ‘odd’ :)

        BTW when I hear prop I am reminded of the constant annoying bullshit of the memo US journalists got to describe the action of the russians in syria as being ‘propping up the asad regime” in all mention of it.

      3. >But by your own admittance you lack knowledge of the not that uncommon word ‘prop’.
        You might be valid but unless you are an English Grammar Teacher. We all hate you. Yes, that is right. We think being a holier then thou co-rekt-a-tood means you are a flaming non-hypoallergenic troll. Get lost dip-shit.

  3. I got started with microcontrollers using Paul’s 8051 development board before Arduinos were a thing. I still like that board even today. Plenty of IO and big enough that I don’t lose it. Plus I can program it in plain C with a text editor and a simple compiler without having to mess with an IDE.

      1. Hey! Do you happen to heavily committed to ATMEL and Freescale chipsets? The STMicroelectronics STM32F756VGT6 LQFP-100 14×14 look like they are currently selling. NXP after merger seem to be foot dragging anything on the KV5x series.

        Any chance on Teensy 4.0? Cortex-M7? yay? nay?

        Seriously considering buying one from cheapest Octopart supplier and having the distributor mailing it to your P.O. box

        1. I’m waiting on Cortex-M7 ’til less expensive chips appear using higher performance 65 nm silicon. ARM clearly designed M7 in anticipation of 65 & 45 nm, and their early marketing slides show it was intended to scale to these and eventually even 28 nm. Implemented on 90 nm, M7 ends up very expensive and power hungry, as you can see with the STM32F756.

          As a separate matter, loss-leader products like ST’s Nucleo & Discovery and TI’s Launchpad create a major financial disincentive for use any 3rd party dev boards like Teensy or Arduino to adopt those chips. Long term, it’s also a very good question whether any 3rd party dev products can remain viable with ultra-cheap products like ESP8266 and Raspberry Pi Zero. Would you personally take the financial risk of designing and manufacturing a dev board with the expensive STM32F756 chip, given all the products on today’s market?

          But in the shorter term, a Cortex-M4F based Teensy has been in development for some time, so that’ll be next…

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