It is getting difficult to find a desktop or laptop computer with only a single CPU. Even a typical ARM-based computer now probably has multiple cores. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from using multiple microcontrollers — like the Arduino — together. To make the process neater, [Dimitris Platis] put together Moltoduino, essentially an Arduino on a shield made to plug into another Arduino. And, yes, they will stack. You can see a video about the open source boards, below.
The key is how the board brings the pins out to connections that are easy to jumper between boards. There are several obvious use cases, but one that [Dimitris] is particularly interested in is hardware-in-the-loop testing. The idea is that you can use a simulated I/O device in one computer to exchange fake data with the software under test.
For example, you might be working on a sous vide cooker that reads a temperature and controls a heater. A second computer could stand in for the temperature sensor and heater. You could log outputs and also control the inputs. This is really nice when you want to set up repeatable test cases.
Of course, you don’t have to stack the boards to make that work. In fact, you don’t have to use another Arduino. A PC or some other controller could be the surrogate test device. But having it all in a stack is handy. There are several examples of doing testing using simulated hardware on the project’s GitHub page. The test subjects are a robot car and an ultrasonic device.
One neat feature is that each board has a switch to enable the master Arduino to ISP program it. So while you might not need to stack boards to use any of the proposed techniques, it does make for a nice and compact package.