Electronics designer Patrick Mitchell has launched a crowdfunding campaign for an oversize Arduino-compatible board designed to pack as many educational features onto the board as possible, all linked to an online education platform with code samples and project videos: the Epoch.
"The Epoch is a 7 x 7" learning board that comes with TONS & TONS of fully commented code samples and project videos to help you along," Mitchell, who has previously launched 34 other crowdfunding campaigns for devices ranging from the BobbeeBot to a 4x4x4 LED cube, explains. "Think of it as a MASSIVE Arduino shield with tons of learning aids. If you're an Arduino enthusiast, circuit designer, student, engineer, or someone who just wants to start learning how to program, then the Epoch is for you!"
The Epoch bundles a selection of Mitchell's prior designs, and more, into a single oversize board powered by two Microchip ATmega328P-PU microcontrollers. There's a 254-word speech synthesizer based on Mitchell's Little Buddy Talker project, an MFRC522 RFID reader, nRF24L01+ radio-frequency transceiver, HC-06 Bluetooth transceiver, HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensor, MCP9700 temperature sensor, DS3231 real-time clock (RTC) with battery backup, servo motor connector, and microphone with amplifier.
The board also features an infrared receiver and transmitter, passive and active piezoelectric buzzers, red, yellow, and green LEDs, a light-dependent resistor (LDR), piezo vibration sensor, two 50k potentiometers, joystick, 10-digit analogue keypad, 16-digit matrix keypad, two momentary switches, a passive infra-red sensor, a single-pole double-throw relay, DIP switches, an external input, 16x2 LCD display, four-digit common-anode 7-segment LED display, micro SD slot, test area, and a breadboard, plus a PS/2 socket for an external keyboard.
In short: The Epoch is packed with all the components most commonly used in introductory-level Arduino courses, plus a selection of more advanced parts. Each of these, Mitchell promises, will be backed up by fully-commented code samples and instructional videos, and the kits come with all the extras required to get started including power supply, cables, a servo motor, RFID cards, cables, and an adapter for PS/2-capable USB keyboards. An optional nRF24L01+ Arduino shield is also available, to give the transceiver on the Epoch something to talk to.
The Epoch is now available to back on Kickstarter, priced at $190 CAD (around $145) for early bird backers.