Making the most of your diy development boards

[Rajendra] built a rather impressive development board based around a PIC microcontroller. At its center, he’s got a PIC 16F1827 chip, but we think the design is easily adapted to your microcontroller of choice.

The I/O pins on the microcontroller aren’t actually connected to any of the components on the board. Instead, female pin headers neatly organize the pins grouped by their register. Jumper wires make for quick connections to all of the available peripheral devices. There’s an additional header for connecting the PICKit programmer, and the small blue breadboard lets you add your own components to the mix, or lets you utilize the board with a different microcontroller.

[Rajendra] took the time to carefully label all of the connectors, removing the guesswork (or pin counting) from the setup process. Many of the peripherals are i2c devices, and there’s a pin header to connect more, or to sniff the data using a Bus Pirate or other tool.

Karate Chop is Simon without all the touching

[Alan Parekh] and his daughter [Alexis] just premiered their entry in the Avnet Dog Days of Summer contest. It’s a game called Karate Chop that is basically an electronic Simon Says. The video after the break shows a demonstration of the device. When switched on it’ll play a little tune and start cycling the LEDs on the front of the case. Players interact by breaking the infrared beams in the two cutouts on either side of the case. You need to keep your hand flat to do this, which is where the name comes from. There are four different game modes which are selected at the start of the game. There are two difficulty levels of a Simon Says game which shows the player a pattern in light and sound, then watches for the user to repeat that pattern back. The other mode that [Alexis] demonstrates is a reflex game which requires the player to quickly react to randomly illuminated LEDs.

The circuit is built on a breadboard hiding behind the front bezel and uses a PIC 16F1827 microcontroller to drive the game. The case itself is made from laser cut MDF and plywood. We’re not sure how much time [Alan] spent on the case, but we think it looks wonderful. If you’re planning to participate in the contest you better get rolling, the entry deadline is tomorrow.

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