MicroView Education Kit – first look

I have just received the MicroView Education kit, the result of a Kickstarter project by the team at Geek Ammo and I’m pretty impressed.

Hardware Overview
The hardware is distributed by Sparkfun and essentially comprises the MicroView with the accessories normally included in the (Arduino) Sparkfun Inventors Kit.  There are many tutorials and books that use these components and as the MicroView has the same functionality as the Arduino Uno, they can all be used.

kr

What’s Included

  • MicroView
  • USB programming board + USB extension lead
  • Breadboard and good supply of leads
  • 10 each of red and yellow LEDs
  • 1 tricolour LED
  • 1 LDR
  • 1 potentiometer
  • 1 push button (non-latching)
  • 1 buzzer
  • 3 transisters
  • 1 relay
  • 1 motor
  • 1 servo with assorted horns
  • 1 soft potentiometer
  • 1 shift register
  • Cardboard box

With the USB board can be directly plugged into a USB port on the RHS of your laptop, which makes for a really nice set-up.  If a USB socket on the RHS is not available, just use the USB extension lead – a nice touch.

On my (quite old) laptop, there is enough space below the USB socket for the breadboard to fit in as well.  Nice.

kr

Software

A number of useful quickstart tutorials have been prepared at www.sparkfun.com/microview.  Having started with a fresh Windows installation, the instructions were easy to follow.  Two options are presented, one using Codebender online which has all the MicroView libraries installed, and one using the regular Arduino IDE in which case the MicroView library has to be installed manually.  I chose the latter as my internet is not always the best and found it easy to set up.

Projects

I have begun practicing a few projects from the excellent ‘Arduino Workshop’ by John Boxall, so the real opportunity here is to combine these projects with the display ability of the MicroView.  In the first instance, perhaps use the display to report progress through a program, or the value of variables.  Then of course to start using the graphing routines included in the library..  it’s going to be fun!

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