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Picaxe stage 2

Damien George has a Kickstarter project for Micro Python: Python for microcontrollers. The project is an open-source, open-hardware, MIT type license for a 32 bit microcontroller development system. It takes off on Revolution’s Picaxe idea in that it provides a boot loader for the microcontroller and a byte code interpreter for software. The Picaxe uses BASIC for its model and George’s project uses Python.

The target microcontroller is the STM32F405RG, a “High-performance and DSP with FPU, ARM Cortex-M4 MCU with 1 Mbyte Flash, 168 MHz CPU, Art Accelerator”. The Python project looks to need about ten percent of that Flash memory for its resident code. There are 30 general purpose lines, a real time clock, a USB port, a Micro SD slot, 2 each of SPI, CAN and I2C, 5 USART, and 14 ADC pins in a 33×44 mm board with 46 connection holes.

Eight bit microcontroller development systems such as the Arduino or Picaxe serve quite handily for many robotics, remote sensing, or control projects. If you need something with a bit more oomph but not so much as something like the PC on a board like the Rabbit offers, this project might fit the bill. It looks like a Pledge of £24 or more plus £4 to ship outside the UK will get you a board with estimated delivery of March 2014. That’d total about $46 including shipping at current exchange rates. With 2 weeks to go, the project has alread subscribed nearly three times its funding goal.

The Kickstarter website is worth a bit of looking over as well. It is an innovative way to raise capital to kick start entrepreneurial or other creative projects. They claim that “Since our launch in 2009, 5.3 million people have pledged $895 million, funding 52,000 creative projects.” … I think the USPTO could learn a few things from the project guidelines suitable for the website.

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