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FEZ Medusa, electronic building blocks, that keep the soldering iron optional, through mainboards, sensors and control modules.
FEZ Medusa, electronic building blocks, that keep the soldering iron optional, through mainboards, sensors and control modules.
69 backers pledged $7,604 to help bring this project to life.

About

An Arduino-compatible, electronic building block system! project video thumbnail
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FEZ Medusa is an open source hardware (OSHW) processor board that combines the Arduino platform with an ever-growing list of modules, for sensing and controlling things. This modular design of building blocks does not require any hardware experience, we call it FEZ for fast and easy. On the software side, you will program using the Arduino IDE, just like if you were programming Arduino Uno, it even hosts the same micro ATMEGA328P. On the hardware side, everything is modular building blocks using a unified socket map.

What is Arduino? 

Arduino is one of the most popular platforms for educators and hobbyists. Its open source JAVA IDE is made to run on Windows, Linux and Mac. Typically, Arduino boards are extended with shields that stack on top of the board. Please see www.arduino.cc for more details.

Shields vs Modules? 

FEZ Medusa is programmed just like any Arduino-compatible board. The only difference is that you will use modules instead of shields. This comes with two great advantages. First, there are no possible pin conflict issues raised, like there could be when stacking multiple shields. Second, when stacking multiple shields, the end product is difficult to place inside an enclosure. Modules are smaller and connect through cables, ideal for laser-cut or 3D printed enclosures. 3D models are provided for FEZ Medusa boards and all modules. Here is an example of a design built with the "Get Me Started" kit.

How do sockets work?

The sockets on FEZ Medusa and modules are marked with one or more letters indicating the socket's capability. For example, if the socket is marked with the letter “A” then this is an analog socket with 3 analog pins. Below is the socket type lockup table. Note how they are designed to overlap nicely, like A and P for example.

Socket type and pinout
Socket type and pinout

What about the drivers?

We have already developed drivers for all compatible modules and for the core functionality that maps the Arduino libraries to the socket mapping. All you need to do is download the zip file, unzip and then add some header files, like "#include "ModuleName.h". Complete tutorials and step-by-step guides will be provided.

How do I wire my own circuits?

The Breakout Module converts any socket to a 0.1" spaced header placement, for wiring and breadboarding. The BreadBoard Module is another option with built in breadboard, LEDs and a button.

Breadboard & Breakout Modules, options for direct wiring.
Breadboard & Breakout Modules, options for direct wiring.

FEZ Medusa comes in three flavors

FEZ Medusa Mini is the smallest member of the family, with one "program socket" and 3 user sockets. Did we mention it is only $10!

FEZ Medusa S12 includes 12 sockets, one for programming and 11 for adding modules.

FEZ Medusa Shield is made to plug into your own Arduino, like any other shield. The 11 sockets are available for adding modules.

Important Note: If using the shield with a 5V Arduino board, be careful when using the first 3 sockets (see warning printed on the shield) as they are connected directly to the micro. Some modules will NOT work with 5V signals, like most S-type modules, the Music Module for example. The remaining sockets are perfectly safe with all modules as they use 3.3V signals, which is today's universal standard. We recommend using a 3.3V Arduino board or the Mini and S12.

Tens of modules and still growing!

We are dedicated to continue creating more modules. Here are some examples.

Community created modules

The community has created many modules with more appear regularly. Take for example the Chucky Module which gives you a quick way to connect a Wii controller to an I-type socket. Another example is the IR transmitter LED.

It is all open source! 

From the board's EAGLE layout to module and mainboard software drivers, all are provided openly for you to extend existing modules or make your own module and mainboard.

How did this start?

This project started with .NET Gadgeteer, which is an open and free standard by Microsoft. It involves many companies and thousands of users. On the hardware side, Gadgeteer defines how processor boards (mainboards) connect to modules. On the software side, Gadgeteer mainboards are designed to be programmed with Microsoft VisualStudio. Through FEZ Medusa, we changed the software to be Arduino's JAVA-based IDE.

What makes this different?

Using sockets guarantees the module's usability on existing or future mainboards, no matter If the micro is 10Mhz or 100Mhz or if it has 60 pins or 600 pins.  You will likely use these modules for years to come.

The bare minimum setup

If you are using the Arduino Uno, all you need is the FEZ Medusa Shield along with any compatible modules you wish to use.

If using FEZ Medusa Mini or S12, you will need a serial connection to load your software and a power source. This can be done easily using the USB-Serial SP Module. This module uses FTDI's USB to serial chipset and includes the power regulator. The USB cable can be connected to a PC or to a phone charger for power. If you already have an FTDI converter, you can wire it to the Breakout Module. We recommend the official USB-Serial SP Module.

For Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone users

As a stretch goal, we would also like to bring the same building blocks to other devices, including Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone. This is done through FEZ Lynx, which brings the sockets listed above to a high-speed USB connection. This allows for connecting FEZ Lynx to virtually any device with a USB Host capability. FEZ Lynx has been tested to work on: (other devices should work as well)

  • Linux ARM (Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone)
  • Linux PC
  • Windows PC
  • Windows Surface
  • Android (Nexus 7, Galaxy Tab2, Samsung Galaxy S3)
  • Untested yet but should work on MAC PCs.

If funding exceeds $10,000, we will add additional new rewards to include FEZ Lynx, and possible a mini version of Lynx.

FEZ Lynx
FEZ Lynx

Is there a 32-bit version, similar to the Arduino DUE?

We are setting a stretch goal of $30,000 to create a 32-bit Arduino-compatible, similar to the current FEZ Medusa board, but based on the Arduino DUE. We will post full details of the plan if we exceed $30,000.

The rewards

Who we are

GHI Electronics was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Michigan, USA.  We are a global leader in embedded devices..

http://www.ghielectronics.com

Manufacturing timeline

  • Place order for additional parts (September - October)
  • Place order for additional PCBs (September - October)
  • Start circuit board assembly (October - November)
  • Hand assembly of remaining parts (October - November)
  • Quality Check (October - November)
  • Shipping of backer rewards (November - December)

Made in the USA

We are proud to say that we engineer, manufacture, ship and support, right from our building in Troy, Michigan, USA.

Copyright notice

Arduino brand and logo are copyright of Arduino SA http://www.arduino.cc/ FEZ Medusa is a GHI Electronics , LLC product that can be programmed using the Arduino IDE and is not an official Arduino product.

.NET Gadgeteer and NETMF are trademarks of Microsoft corporation http://www.netmf.com/gadgeteer/

FEZ, FEZ Medusa and FEZ Lynx are trademarks of GHI Electronics, LLC http://www.ghielectronics.com/ 

Disclaimer

The FEZ Medusa mainboards, FEZ Lynx and other modules are provided for educational and experimental purposes only. There is no warranty or guarantee provided. You agree to hold GHI Electronics, its partners and kickstarter harmless of any damage that may arise from the use of these products. 

Do not stare at Medusa right in the eyes, you may turn into stone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medusa

Risks and challenges

GHI Electronics is an engineering and manufacturing company with over 10 years of experience. Any risks should be minimal as prototypes of the product were already manufactured and tested.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    FEZ Medusa Mini for those who already have a few plug-n-play modules.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    "Get Me Started" Kit - This will include FEZ Medusa Mini, 1.8" Color Display, Joystick, USB-Serial programmer and a Buzzer. If funded, the modules in this kit will retail for about $65.

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    13 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Get the entire FEZ Medusa family. Includes the FEZ Medusa Mini, FEZ Medusa S12 and the FEZ Medusa Shield! An excellent choice for those who already own some modules.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    "I want to use my Uno" Kit, this kit includes the FEZ Medusa Shield, Joystick, Buzzer, Accelerometer, LED 7C, LED Strip, Light Sensor, Moisture Sensor, Potentiometer, Radio, Relay and Character Display. If funded, the modules in this kit will retail for about $130

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $199 or more About $199

    "Give me more" Kit, this kit includes FEZ Medusa S12, 1.8" Color Display, Joystick, USB-Serial programmer, Buzzer, Accelerometer, Extender, Gas Sensor, LED 7C, LED Strip, Light Sensor, Moisture Sensor, Motor Controller, Pontentiometer, Radio, Relay, AA Battery module and WiFi module. If funded, the modules in this kit will retail for about $250.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    "Give me everything" Kit, this kit includes FEZ Medusa S12, 1.8" Color Display, Joystick, USB-Serial programmer, Buzzer, Breakout Set, Accelerometer, Bluetooth, Breadboard module, Terminal Block module, Button, Character Display, Color Sensor, Current ACS712, Distance Sensor, Extender module, Gas Sensor, Keypad module, LED 7C, LED 7R, LED Strip, Light Sensor, Load Module, Maximum Output module (MaxO), Moisture Sensor, Motor Controller, Motion Detector, Potentiometer, Radio module, Relay, Rotary Encoder, Camera, Temperature and Humidity Sensor, Thermocouple module, Capacitive Touch wheel, AA Battery module,WiFi module and Xbee Module. If funded, the modules in this kit will retail for over $650.

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Funding period

- (30 days)