Kevin Santo Cappuccio's Jumperless Breadboard Gets a High-Speed Probe Mode for Rapid Rewiring

Just pop a probe next to your component and the Jumperless will rewire itself automatically — no controlling computer required.

Gareth Halfacree
5 months agoHW101 / Debugging / Productivity

Maker Kevin Santo Cappuccio has significantly upgraded the magical Jumperless Breadboard — which, as the name suggests, connects components together without a single jumper wire required — by adding a probing mode, allowing connections to be made just by prodding where you want them to go.

Cappuccio showed off the initial capabilities of the Jumperless Breadboard back in March last year: a solderless breadboard in which components can be programmatically connected without the need for jumper wires. The secret: a network of 11 crosspoint switches hidden underneath the breadboard, initially accepting instructions from a controlling device via UART or I2C buses.

The magical Jumperless Breadboard has a shiny new feature: physical probe-based rewiring. (📹: Kevin Santo Cappuccio)

In August, the project had reached the point that it was far more than a proof of concept — as Cappuccio demonstrated with a project to turn a vintage 16mm camera into a timelapse photography system, prototyped using a later revision of the Jumperless concept equipped with eye-catching RGB LEDs.

The breadboard's latest revision, though, includes something designed to dramatically speed up its rewiring: a physical probe, which lets you rewire the connections on-the-fly without needing to connect the device to a host computer. "The new Jumperless firmware (1.3.1) can scan the board really quickly (~100 times per second) to look for the PWM [Pulse Width Modulation] signal coming from the probe," Cappuccio explains. "So now you can just poke out the connections you want to make and the Jumperless will make them into real hardware connections. No computer required.

"You don't even need to make a probe like I did here, a piece of wire shoved into GPIO [General-Purpose Input/Output pin] 19 will work too. And you just tap the wire to GPIO 18 to act as the button. Near the end [of the demo video I'm clearing the connections by holding down the BOOT button, you can also double tap BOOT to load the last circuit you made."

The new mode allows for high-speed reconfiguration, even with relatively complicated circuits. (📹: Kevin Santo Cappuccio)

To show just how flexible the new mode is, Cappuccio has recorded a video showing a Jumperless being used to wire a counter circuit from scratch in just two and a half minutes — still without any flying jumper wires.

The Jumperless is available on Cappuccio's Tindie store at $299, plus $39 for an optional acrylic carry case; the latest hardware revision includes a probe kit. The hardware design files and firmware source code are available on GitHub under the CERN Open Hardware License Version 2 Weakly Reciprocal and permissive MIT license respectively.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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