Piconomix's PX-HER0 Offers an Interactive, Command-Line Development Environment via Serial Link

Built around the popular STM32, Piconomix's board targets everyone from embedded development students to badge builders.

Cape Town-based embedded specialist Piconomix is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign for PX-HER0, an STM32-based development board that aims to bridge the gap between educational and practical use-cases.

"The PX-HER0 board has been carefully crafted to engage human senses (sight, sound, and touch) and map the journey to becoming a true embedded hero," claims Piconomix's Pieter Conradie, who is looking to support the development board with a "practical embedded engineering course for students and professionals" which aims to allow backers to "discover and free your inner hero!"

The board is built around an STM32L072RB microcontroller, featuring an Arm Cortex-M0+ CPU alongside 128kB flash storage, 20kB static RAM (SRAM), and 6kB of EEPROM, with an additional 4Mb of serial flash memory provided by an Adesto AT25SF041 and further storage via microSD. An FTDI FT230XS USB-serial bridge provides connectivity, while a 128x64 monochrome LED, piezoelectric buzzer, LED, and six user-controllable buttons provide a user interface.

Peripheral connectivity on the board includes three I2C buses, one via a SparkFun Qwiiic and STEMMA QT compatible connector, one via a Seeed Studio Grove compatible connector, and one via 2.54mm pin headers, four analog-to-digital and one digital-to-analog converters (ADC and DAC), two UARTs, one SPI, and eight general-purpose input/outputs (GPIOs) of which four support pulse-width modulation (PWM). The board also includes a Li-Po battery charger and voltage monitoring circuit.

A key feature of the PX-HER0 isn't in its hardware, however, but in its software: The board comes running Piconomix's CLI Explorer, an interpreter used at the command line and designed to provide a text-based interface to most of the board's features over a serial link in an interactive environment.

The PX-HER0 is now available on Crowd Supply, with a price tag of $42 for a single board. Units are expected to ship at the end of July.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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