We should all be familiar with Raspberry Pi now; it has captured the imagination of the computing world with innovative designs that are at the forefront of the electronics industry. They have made an impact on computing technology, and their products are used by technology geeks worldwide. Having said this, a new craze has arrived!
As we all know, technology moves faster than the speed of light with new gadgets, tools and other bits of technical kit cropping up left, right and center. This is where Adafruit Industries comes in. They’re an open source hardware company that designs and sells a wide variety of electronic components, tools, and accessories. Founded by Limor Freid in 2005, Adafruit puts strong emphasis on learning programs, with many tutorials published that encourage people to learn more about this fast growing industry.
The company supply many project kits that deliver practical systems, with their goal being to encourage more people to learn about computer science and engineering. They are now one of the leading companies in their field, so we’ve compiled a short list of things you can create using. If you like what you see, why not invest some time and money into this craze? You can order an Adafruit with companies such as Makersify, who are official resellers of all Adafruit products.
Adafruit NeoPixel Stick
These are ideal for creating your own LED strips, which are “chainable” by putting the output of one stick into the input of another. Each LED is addressable, as the driver chip is inside the LED.
Adafruit Arduino Uno R3
The Arduino R3 is the latest version with an improved USB interface chip. The Uno is pin and code compatible with the Duemilanove, Diecimilla, and older Arduinos, so all your shields, libraries, and code will still work. For more information on Adafruit products check out their website.
Adafruit HDMI 5inch 800X480 Backpack (with touchscreen)
This is a mini panel-mountable HDMI monitor that can be used as a display for any computer with HDMI output. The entire display can be powered from a USB port and there are two versions, one with a touchscreen and one without. This component is recommended for use with single board computers that have a DVI / HDMI output. The driver can be powered through the USB port, providing it can supply 500mA on the USB port.
Adafruit Perma-Proto Half-sized Breadboard PCB (3 pack)
This state of the art PCB has a white silkscreen on one side, with familiar markings to make transfers easier. The bottom has a 5-hole pad design that matches a classic breadboard with four power bus lines on the sides. There are two mounting holes to attach the PCB to your project box.
Adafruit Medium 16X32 RGB LED matrix panel
These panels are ideal for displaying short video clips or animations. There are 512 bright RGB LEDs arranged in a 16×32 grid on the front. On the rear, there is a PCB with two ICD connectors, one for input and one for output. The panels require 12 digital pins and a good 5V supply. If you use an Arduino, you will need 800 bytes of RAM to buffer the 12-bit colour image. These displays are “chainable” by connecting one output to the next input, although this would require more RAM than the Arduino has.