The Firebird32, a new dev board on the block

Here is yet another development board to add to your list (If you are into keeping lists), introducing the Firebird32. There seems to be no end to the production of new development boards, following the current style the Firebird32 comes in the familiar Arduino form factor to fit all of your Arduino shields.

The Firebird32 from [Wytec] is build around the 32bit Freescale Flexis MCU [MCF51JM128] running the Coldfire V1 core commonly found in industrial and medical equipment. We were kindly donated a board before release, the first thing that we noticed was  the onboard 8×2 segment LCD which makes the perfect debuging tool. The board along with fitting standard Arduino shields has extra input headers for a keypad, an accelerometer and an extra communication header (IC2/SPI/SCI). It’s also sporting 8 x 12bit analogue inputs, external 32k EEPROM, an RGB LED, a buzzer and an extra push button. The Flexis chip along with the beefy 32bit processor can run at a clock rate up to 48Mhz using PLL and has an integrated USB port, all of this for under $30.

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Air hockey robot


Don’t be ashamed, we suck at air hockey too. Luckily for us, we now have a robot opponent to blame or losing streak on. Engineers at Nuvation didn’t build this air hockey playing robot, they simply adapted a standard industrial robot arm for the task. It is controlled jointly by a ColdFire processor and a 9S08 microcontroller. An array of high power LEDs and a camera are positioned over the air hockey table, which captures the position of the puck. The robot reportedly wins 90% of its games, even against solid opponents. While this is more of project to show the power of ColdFire processors, we can’t help but think it will lead to a rash of unbeatable robot opponents. We’ve already been robo-owned at foosball; what’s next?

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