uChip Gives Arduino Zero Compatibility, Fits On a Breadboard
Tom Spendlove posted on March 21, 2019 |
Itaca Innovation has developed a small but powerful Arduino Zero compatible board.

Itaca Innovation is a company founded by four engineers from the University of Padua, with the goal of taking academic principles and creating practical devices. When the group looked at optimizing Arduino compatible boards some problems were evident. Boards without an integrated power supply needed an external power source, and this could take erase the low cost, small footprint benefits. Some boards were not compatible with standard breadboards, and others had limited memory or pin count. The group’s solution was to make their own Arduino compatible board called the uChip, and a Kickstarter campaign is running right now to fund the first production run.

There were several design requirements for the board – the first was USB connection to allow for Arduino style programming. The microcontroller should have a good amount of RAM and FLASH, and the board should be capable of providing 3.3 or 5 Volts when powered by USB. The system needed to be breadboard compatible and have a 0.3” dual inline package footprint. The central processing unit for the board is a Cortex MO+ ATSAMD21 chip running at 48 MegaHertz, with 256 kiloBytes of Flash memory and 32 kiloBytes of RAM. Fourteen input output pins are available and two power pins, with an LED and multi-function push button. The board is 28.5 x 10.16 millimeters including the USB port protrusions. Programming can be done in C, C++, assembly language or Python. The project is committed to Open Source software and hardware, and the campaign shows several projects already developed using the boards.

The engineers here have done a great job not just developing their tool but showing off several examples of what the tool can do. There’s a huge amount of information on the campaign page discussing the specifications, power requirements, comparisons to the Arduino Uno, pinouts, programming, and port functions. Makers who are passionate about Arduino projects have been busy in the comment section of the campaign and I’m excited to see what they can do over the next few years. The campaign ends on April 9, 2019.

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