CircuitPython reached a major milestone last week as it welcomed its 100th board into the fold: the wristwatch form factored badge designed for the 10th annual Open Source Hardware Summit, which takes place March 13th in New York City. Although CircuitPython — an open source derivative of MicroPython — was born at Adafruit, more than half of the boards on this list were produced outside of the company. That just goes to show the strength of the community in support of the snake.
The OSHW 2020 badge joins a litany of familiar boards happy to drop you into a Python interpreter. Among them there’s the Adafruit Feather ecosystem, the ItsyBitsy, specialized boards like the Edge Badge that was in some goodie bags at Supercon, and the CircuitPlayground — that Swiss army knife of sensors which now comes in a Bluetooth version. The first 100 boards were rounded out in strong fashion with [Joey Castillo]’s OpenBook e-reader and the Teensy 4.0.
Watch the Future of OSHW Begin
If you were at Supercon 2019 and ran into Drew Fustini, chances are good that you got to see a prototype of this awesome wrist watch badge as it was being passed around. One of the inspirations for this design was the card10 badge from the 2019 CCCamp which was a dual-PCB wristwatch form factor.
The OHS board is based on the Nordic nRF52840 inside the Rigado BMD340 module. It has a ton of features including environmental sensors, a gesture sensor, and a 9-DoF IMU. To give you some scale, that’s a 1.54″ LCD on the front. There’s also a built-in LiPo charger and a Sparkfun QWIIC connector for easily interfacing other sensors, relays, etc over I²C.
According to the IO page, contributors and comments are still welcome for this project, as the board is still in development. Unfortunately for many of us, the badge won’t be for sale, but everyone who attends OSHW Summit 2020 will be handed one of these beauties. On the other hand, the open source nature of the project means if you really want one, you can assemble your own.
CircuitPython’s Impact on Microcontroller Projects
The ease of CircuitPython makes it a good platform for beginners of all ages. Games are always a fun way to learn anything, and if you’re new to CircuitPython, [de∫hipu]’s PewPew Standalone puts a learning environment for game programming in your pocket. From the Shut Up and Take My Money department, CircuitPython lead Scott Shawcroft is working on a Game Boy-compatible cartridge for CircuitPython. Scott gave a talk at the 2019 Supercon 2019 about this very subject, which we’ll be featuring in the coming weeks.
CircuitPython is a fork of MicroPython, which is built on C. CircuitPython works by parsing Python into byte code, which makes it powerful at both ends — empowering to the programmer, who doesn’t have to learn C, while taking advantage of C’s processing power. It also means you can move from one chip architecture to the next without having to relearn all the underpinnings of each specific system.
There’s a little something for everyone, so if CircuitPython hasn’t snaked its way to your bench just yet, check out the list of officially-supported boards.