Meet Digispark, the smaller and cheaper alternative to Arduino

By on August 20, 2012, 5:00 PM

Kickstarter has served as a hotbed of tech innovation all year and if the latest project to gain media attention is any indication, there’s no sign of letting up anytime soon. The Digispark campaign launched 10 days ago as a tiny alternative to the versatile Arduino development board, easily surpassing project founder Erik Kettenburg’s goal of $5,000 to fund the first round of devices.

The Digispark came to life after the design team became frustrated with having to leave their pricey Arduinos behind when moving on to another project or worse, having to pull one from an old project to build something new. Furthermore, they felt the Arduino was too big and powerful for many projects where a smaller, cheaper and less powerful device would suffice.

The result is the Digispark, a device that is fully compatible with Arduino so many of the great things about the original like the community, ease of use and the IDE all remain common ground.

Specifications for the quarter-sized development board are as follows:

  • Support for the Arduino IDE 1.0+ (OSX/Win/Linux)
  • Power via USB or External Source - 5v or 7-35v (automatic selection)
  • On-board 500ma 5V Regulator
  • Built-in USB (and serial debugging)
  • 6 I/O Pins (2 are used for USB only if your program actively communicates over USB, otherwise you can use all 6 even if you are programming via USB)
  • 8k Flash Memory (about 6k after bootloader)
  • I2C and SPI (vis USI)
  • PWM on 3 pins (more possible with Software PWM)
  • ADC on 4 pins
  • Power LED and Test/Status LED (on Pin0)

As of writing, Digispark’s Kickstarter campaign has generated well over $100,000. But instead of just pocketing the extra funds, the team has implemented stretch goals that provide extra discounts once certain milestones have been surpassed. For example, after passing the $100,000 mark, they were able to slash 50 percent off the price of RGB shield kits.

There’s still 20 days left in the campaign should you wish to get your order in for a Digispark. The $10 option has already sold out but you can be one of the first to receive a unit for only $12 – and it ships free to anywhere in the US.

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