Project image
)}
€2,770
pledged of €15,000pledged of €15,000 goal
23
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, July 9 2016 6:14 AM UTC +00:00

Mexdulon: Building digital circuits like never before!

Experiments with Computer Architectures for Kids and Students aged 9-99

Mexdulon: Building digital circuits like never before!

Experiments with Computer Architectures for Kids and Students aged 9-99

€2,770
pledged of €15,000pledged of €15,000 goal
23
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, July 9 2016 6:14 AM UTC +00:00

About

Publication and Press

 

Publication and Press
Publication and Press

 

Maker Faire Hannover
Maker Faire Hannover

 

 

What is it all about?

Mexdulon is a set of modules for the experimental setup of digital circuits. The mission is to support the education in this special field. Therefore, we will provide many tutorials and examples with explanations. Children aged 9 and up can be brought up piece by piece to digital technology. The goal is to mediate how a computer is built and works inside.

Fast Setup of Digital Circuits

Mexdulon modules allow you to create circuits from the fields of binary logic, digital electronics and computer architectures. Next to modules for input and output there are several logic and arithmetic operations, conversion, coding, register and counter modules. Thus you can easy test elementary or more complex digital electronics up to computing units. Also, a coupling with an Arduino or Raspberry PI is possible with an interface board. 

Easy to Connect

For the plug-in connection ribbon cables with common data port connectors are used. These also drive the operating voltage, so that only one module requires a power supply. The needed energy is provided via a USB connector, so a standard power supply unit or a power bank can be used. For reasons of simplicity all modules are 4 bit based, but with enough modules 8 bit or even 16 bit systems are realizable.

Features

  • Power Supply: 5V via USB
  • 32 Different Modules
  • No Programming
  • Real Hardware
  • Fast Setup of Circuits
  • Modular and Educational
  • Open Source
  • Unlimited Possibilities
  • Tutorials and Examples
7 Segment Display
7 Segment Display

 

Multiplexer
Multiplexer

 

Adder
Adder

 

D Flip-flop Register
D Flip-flop Register

The Idea

The idea for Mexdulon arose when I occupied myself closer with digital technology and later architectures of computers. In class everything is treated very theoretically, what makes it hard to understand. Although there are teachers who use simulation software, in order to teach the subject to students. However, some training is necessary, the software is not freely available (and thus can not be used at home), and the whole is only virtually. One possible alternative were breadboards, but who wants to use a few more ICs, will find that the space requirements and effort for building rise immensely. Also here the risk is high to have made a mistake in the wiring, or even to create a short circuit. In this way experimenting with digital technology is no fun. From this background, I designed Mexdulon, a modular system for the construction of digital circuits.

Example Circuits and Tutorials

There are hundreds of circuits that can be realized with the modules. Depending on the available modules just simple basic circuits or complex calculators are possible. For learning purposes and as source of ideas several circuits with explanation will be published. Besides online paper instructions video tutorials will be uploaded on YouTube. You can build the following examples with Mexdulon:

  • Toggle Button
  • Logic Gates
  • Binary Number to 7-Segment
  • Counting Up
  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Decimal Countdown
  • Multiplexing
  • Mini Keyboard
  • Timer Alarm
  • Running Lights
  • Color Changer
  • Button to RGYB
  • Traffic Lights (Simple)
  • 7-bit Counter
  • Shift Register
  • Digital Dice
  • Stopwatch
  • Advanced Traffic Lights
  • Accumulator
  • 4 Bit ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit)
  • Signed Integer to 7-Segment
  • Binary Numbers Game
  • Display a Pixel
  • Register to Display
  • Moving Pixel
  • Walking Pixel Animation
  • Randomized Image
  • Multiplier
  • Divider
  • 8 Bit ALU
  • ...

 

 

Real Hardware Modules

A couple of advantages over the possible alternatives:

  • no virtual simulation, but real hardware
  • no laborious plugging like on a breadboard
  • no time-consuming creation of circuits or PCBs
  • fully developed boards in uniform size
  • simple soldering (no SMD)
  • easy tutorials with explanations
  • fast setup of individual circuits
  • modular and extensible

Learn or teach how a computer works

Mexdulon is primarily for pupils and students, who want to learn more about digital circuits and basics of computer architectures. A practical testing with real hardware is very time-consuming up to now. The modules allow easy setups and fast to realize experiments. For beginners many tutorials and examples with explanations are provided. It’s also a good investment for teachers, because the theory can be demonstrated or experienced by the scholars themselves. Also the PCBs can be used as a soldering project for beginners, because only THD and no SMD are used.

Furthermore, Mexdulon is for everyone, who wants to create fast and simple light animations, counting applications or something similar without programming! Otherwise you could use the modules as extensions for Arduino or Raspberry Pi. Just use the modules for your own project!

Modules

The first 26 funded modules:

  • Buttons
  • Jumper
  • LED Display
  • AND and NAND
  • OR and NOR
  • XOR and XNOR
  • Multiplexer 2:1
  • Adder
  • Universal Register
  • Adapter
  • Jumper Adapter
  • D Flip Flop Register
  • Register File 4x4
  • Magnitude Comparator
  • Binary Counter
  • BCD Up/Down Counter
  • Binary Up/Down Counter
  • Square Wave Generator
  • 7-Segment Display
  • BCD to 7-Segment
  • Inverter
  • Decoder 3:8
  • Encoder 8:3
  • Analog Multiplexer 4:1
  • RGB LED & Buzzer
  • Dot Matrix Display 4x4

Optional Modules (available if Stretch Goals are reached):

  • Arduino / Raspberry Pi Shield
  • JK Flip-flop
  • Line Adapter
  • 12 Bit Counter
  • Shift Adapter
  • Tone Generator

Possible Modules for the Future

  • Motor Shield
  • Relay Outputs
  • 8x8 Dot Matrix Display
  • Static RAM
  • Permanent Memory (ROM)
  • Random Number Generator
  • USB GPIO Interface
  • I2C Interface
  • Sensors (Light, Microphone, …)
  • Analog Electronics (ADC, Amplifier, ...)
  • ...

Funding Goals

Funding Goal: 15000 €

  • Production of 26 different modules
  • All packets include PCB, components and cables

Stretch Goal 1: 20000 €

  • Production of Arduino / Raspberry Pi shield
  • Every packet includes at least one of these shields (see below)

Stretch Goal 2: 25000 €

  • Additional mounting sets for all modules in every packet 

Stretch Goal 3: 35000 €

  • Production of JK flip-flop and Line Adapter

Stretch Goal 4: 45000 €

  • Production of 12 Bit Counter and Shift Adapter

Stretch Goal 5: 55000 €

  • Assembling for plug-and-play packets

Rewards

The packets include everything you need: PCB, components and cables. But they are not assembled, so you have to solder them! If this campaign will reach stretch goal 5, you could also get ready assembled plug-and-play modules instead. Otherwise only soldering kits are available!

The retail price will be about 10 € per module, so with the packets here you will save bare money! And you are one of the first who can experiment with it!

New Offer!

If you yourself want to put together a package and know which modules you want to have, just choose a packet with the same number of modules. After the campaign you can write me, which modules you want to have!

Packet Overview
Packet Overview

 

Example Circuits
Example Circuits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modules in Packets
Modules in Packets

Open Source Hardware

Mexdulon will be licensed as open source once the funding is successful. That means you can review, modify or extend the schematics and layout files of the modules just as the instructions of examples. Join the community and share your idea related to Mexdulon with the world.

Technical Specifications

  • Board Size: 50 x 50 mm²
  • Standard CMOS ICs
  • 4 Bit Based System
  • Robust Connectors
  • Mini USB Socket
  • Operating Voltage 5 V
  • Rounded Corners
  • M3 Mounting Holes

What is happening with the money?

One bigger part of the money is used for the manufacturing of the PCBs. Another bulk flows into the purchase of all the components. A smaller portion goes to packaging and shipping, this depends on the amount of funded packets and where they go to. The rest is percentages and fees e.g. for Kickstarter. Reserve is the budget for all unexpected costs, for example material costs could be higher than calculated because of fluctuations.

Total Costs
Total Costs

When will I get my reward?

The schematics, layout files and prototypes for the 32 modules are already finished. After the successful campaign, I will order the PCBs and optional assembling. Additional I will buy components for the Kits. Depending on the funded goal, other things for upgrades will be bought or produced in Germany. All this will take up to two months. When I have received everything, I will start to pack all the rewards. Packing and shipping will take several weeks, depending on the amount of packets and where they go to. So the estimated shipment will be in about three or four months.

Schedule
Schedule

Why Crowdfunding on Kickstarter?

The aim is to finance the production of the first series of boards. Many different boards are significantly more expensive in small quantities. If the target is not reached, we can not offer the desired prices for the packages. Thus it would be an expensive product which can afford only a few. Our goal, however, is to familiarize many children and youngsters with digital technology. Therefore, we need you to support our campaign!

Summary

  • experiments with digital electronics
  • no breadboards or laborious plugging
  • students experience the theory with real hardware
  • easy setup of a simple calculator
  • advance the knowledge of binary logic
  • understanding of how computers work
  • modular and extensible structure
  • simple soldering project for beginners
  • Open Source Hardware (Copyleft)

Who is involed in the project?

My name is Oliver Krebs and I'm a master student of computer engineering at the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. Besides my studies I deal with computers and electronics also in my spare time. Then I program robots, tinker with electronics or my RC model cars and moreover play games. For this project I have support from my family, friends and experienced persons in addition to startup assistance.

 

Risks and challenges

As my first crowdfunding project, there are lots of potential challenges. However, I have planned the project for about two years and so I feel confident to be well prepared. But even if the schematics and layouts of the boards are ready and tested, there may be unexpected problems under certain circumstances. Though the modules are only for experimental and learning purposes, so there is no certificate of compliance or warranty of correct functionality. Furthermore, there could be troubles with the manufacturer of the PCBs, e.g. inaccurate products or delivery delays. Also the components have to be purchased and thus bring some risks like out of stock, higher prices or delivery delays. For the plug-and-play boards the components have to be assembled, therefore they have an additional process and could delay more than expected. Nevertheless I will try my best to fulfill all expectations and to follow the schedule.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €35 or more About $39

    EARLY BIRD Special Price:
    Starter Packet: 4 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge €39 or more About $44

    Starter Packet: 4 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge €55 or more About $61

    EARLY BIRD Special Price:
    Basic Packet: 8 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge €59 or more About $66

    Basic Packet: 8 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge €99 or more About $110

    EARLY BIRD Special Price:
    Plus Packet: 16 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 6 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge €119 or more About $132

    Plus Packet: 16 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge €199 or more About $221

    EARLY BIRD Special Price:
    Deluxe Packet: 32 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 6 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge €239 or more About $265

    Deluxe Packet: 32 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge €389 or more About $431

    EARLY BIRD Special Price:
    Ultimate Packet: 64 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge €479 or more About $531

    Ultimate Packet: 64 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge €749 or more About $830

    EARLY BIRD Special Price:
    Club Packet: 128 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge €1,499 or more About $1,660

    EARLY BIRD Special Price:
    Classroom Packet: 256 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge €2,999 or more About $3,321

    EARLY BIRD Special Price:
    Professor Packet: 512 Mexdulon Modules as Kit

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (42 days)