The State of Boards: Small, Simple Hardware Rules | Make

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a huge growth in the number and variety of both microcontroller boards and single-board computers. 
The modern era, defined by microcontrollers becoming conveniently packaged on boards, began with the Arduino. The “classic” Arduino layout, including the irritating, irregular offset between pins 7 and 8, has become a standard. Similarly, the Raspberry Pi’s layout has been imitated, with several newer boards duplicating it exactly. 
The microcontroller board market is in transition. 

The era of expensive and badly documented developer boards for the professional market have given way to cheaper microcontroller boards that are far more easily accessible. That’s been good for everyone.

The growing popularity of internet-connected smart devices, the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), has changed the face of the microcontroller board market.

The current generation of boards now come with radios, sometimes lots of radios. Manufacturers have started to produce integrated modules on a single board. Often destined to be mounmted on other circuit boards.

General-use microcontroller boards with onboard Wi-Fi can now be found for less than two dollars, while a single-board computer can be picked up for only a few dollars more.

ESP8266 has become the “third community” of the maker electronics world alongside the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi.

The age of the maker FPGA has arrived without much real fanfare. 

1 Comment

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    8 Standout Dev Boards

    Every year, companies big and small release scores of new microcontrollers, increasing the processing power and features we have access to.

    Sorting through the options can be the hardest part of a project, so we’ve selected our hot new board highlights in four key categories: Education, Robotics, IoT, and Art.


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