Digi-Key and Make: Use AR to Simplify Board Selection

The Guide to Boards and Digi-Key AR app compare over 150 MCUs, SBCs, and FPGAs to help engineers make the right choice.

Electronic components distributor Digi-Key and Make:, a network of maker platforms (including Make: Projects, a collaboration with engineering.com), have released an update to their joint Guide to Boards.

The updated document contains over 150 detailed comparisons of microcontrollers (MCUs), single-board controllers (SBCs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to help engineers select the right option for rapid prototyping or embedded design.

Along with the addition of detailed specs for dozens of new boards, the updated board guide is now accompanied by the Digi-Key augmented reality (AR) app. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices and allows users to experience over 50 boards in AR, according to Digi-Key.

“Being able to scan the boards and get an up close look in AR is an experience you must see to appreciate,” said Kevin Walseth, manager of technical marketing at Digi-Key, in a company press release. “The ability to rotate, zoom and see all angles of the new boards is a great visualization tool for students, makers and engineers wanting to take their projects from ideation to a useful design or project.”

The Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller in AR. (Source: Digi-Key.)

The Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller in AR. (Source: Digi-Key.)

The Boards Guide includes boards from major vendors including Adafruit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, SparkFun, BeagleBone, Micro:bit, Seeed Studio, DFRobot, Espressif and others. The updated guide also includes commentary from Make: community editor David Groom and a new article discussing the popularity of the Raspberry Pi RP2040 and Espressif ESP32 boards amidst ongoing chip shortages.

“The Make: Guide to Boards has been updated with detailed specs of the 79 hottest microcontrollers, single-board computers, and FPGAs you can find. Whatever your project, if it needs an MCU or SBC, check our guide first for the most ideal, most available board to base it around,” said Groom in the press release.

Written by

Michael Alba

Michael is a senior editor at engineering.com. He covers computer hardware, design software, electronics, and more. Michael holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Alberta.