World's smallest Arduino Mega clone: an enhanced electronics prototyping platform. Better than a Mega, smaller than an Uno!
Before you start reading, maybe you want to watch that video again, but this time in beautiful High Definition! Go ahead, make it full screen and enjoy all those extra pixels. (Kickstarter downsamples the main project video to SD quality to save a little bandwidth.)
Wait, before we tell you about the project, why don't you tell us a little about yourself. Start with number 1, 2 or 10 below.
1: I am an Electronics Guru
Oh, you're an Electronics Guru and want to know all the gritty details? Then you should GOTO 30!
2: I want to know how the MegaCube + eBOSS with ID Chip = Awesome
It's true. The MegaCube connected to an eBOSS with ID Chip is awesome. To get right to the details on that, GOTO 45!
10: I am new to electronic wizardry. What the heck is this?
The MegaCube is a programmable, reusable, simple little computer. It allows anyone, particularly software and hardware engineers, to try out ideas, creating prototypes of their own electronic gizmos, with much less grunt work. The MegaCube can gather feedback from external sensors (detect light, motion, temperature, etc.) and control actions (turn on motors, illuminate lights, synchronize and communicate with other devices, etc.)
There is related trend on the rise called the Maker Movement. This is a culture of invention, where people (not just engineers!) use tools like the MegaCube, 3D printers, CNC machines, robots, etc. to design their own things. The MegaCube is intended to act as the brains of the "things" in the Internet of Things (IoT). Although it's in its infancy now, you'll hear more and more about the IoT in the next few years.
20: This is great and all, but what can I DO with it?
You could use a MegaCube to:
- Control a robot to pick Cheetos up and hold them up for you to snack on hands free to keep the orange stuff off your fingers
- Act as the brains of a remote control vehicle
- Control equipment in a radio tower
- Be the core controller of a build-it-yourself 3D printer
- Activate motors to automatically adjust your window blinds based on current time, sunlight, outside temperature, and the temperature you want your house to be.
- Make a bunch of LED lights outside your house do crazy awesome stuff during the holidays (like, say, blink to the beat of music)
The list of things you could make using a MegaCube are practically endless!
Here are some of the fun things we've already done with it:
- Control a remote control car (it drove down the aisle at Mike's wedding, acting as a ring bearer, yes, really!)
- Control servos to move a robot arm
- Monitor a fish tank's water temperature and display it
- Display cool stuff on an LCD screen
- Monitor a clothes dryer and send a text when it's done
- Make a "Fruit Announcer" that tells you what fruit you just touched
30: I'm an Electronics Guru - tell me more!
Mike, creator of the MegaCube, wanted to build a clone of an Arduino Mega, which is a flexible, easy to use hardware and software open source electronics development platform. He wanted to build one that...
Is able to store multiple programs simultaneously (streamlining use across projects with a unique eBOSS for each project) - GOSUB 45!
- Is smaller (check out its size vs. a quarter above)
- Is "Socket-able"
- Allowed access to all 100 pins of the processor
- Didn't require expensive proprietary connectors
- Used standard 0.1" pitch spacing to make it Protoboard friendly
And, on top of all that, he wanted it to be more reasonably priced!
40: You say it's Socket-able, right?
The Embedded Break Out Shield System (eBOSS) - allows embedding the MegaCube in your own project. It has solder tabs for all 100 pins and still allows the MegaCube to be neatly unplugged and reused in other projects. Due to the 0.1" pitch spacing of the pins, you can use our eBOSS or you can also solder your own female header pins on to protoboards to socket it directly into your own project.
45: Can I move the MegaCube between projects without reprogramming it?
Yes, you can! The eBOSS has been redesigned to include a Unique ID chip which has a hard coded 64-bit registration number and 48-bit node address. There are also programmable bits so you can add your own personal ID/data. So why is this important? Having a unique ID allows you to have multiple programs (sketches) stored on the MegaCube at once and, when moving it between eBOSSes, the MegaCube runs the appropriate program based on ID.
You can move your MegaCube between the eBOSS mounted in your Larson scanner LED project for your Knight Rider Car Club and the eBOSS soldered to your Battlestar Galactica Cylon helmet without having to stop at your computer to reprogram the MegaCube. When you add another project, just add another program to the MegaCube and plug it into another inexpensive eBOSS. Our API makes it easy and only using 1-wire communication means that it doesn't use up an SPI port or UART.
50: Neat! I want one. Is it for me?
The MegaCube is an affordable and enhanced electronics prototyping platform intended for the intermediate to pro user who is looking for more than what the Arduino Mega offers in a package that is smaller than an UNO and is easily embedded in a project at a lower cost than the Arduino Mega or its clone offerings. For anyone interested in getting into the Maker Movement and Arduino world, the MegaCube along with the BOSS and an FTDI cable (to connect directly to your computer's USB port) or ICSP programmer is all that you would need to get started.
60: Nice. How can I keep it safe during testing?
The MegaCube Holder is made of ABS and protects the MegaCube from touching conductive surfaces during your development process. Mike decided it might be an important addition when he fried one by absentmindedly setting it on his aluminum laptop. Now if he can just get rid of the burn marks on his laptop...
70: I want a MegaCube and a shield!
Excellent! Check out our Combos for a MegaCube or, if you want it all, go for our Ultimate Combo, which has the MegaCube, eBOSS and Holder.
80: I'm in! I want it before everyone else.
We have a limited supply of Early Adopter MegaCubes and Starter Combos, so be quick about it! Not only is the price slashed, you get the honor of calling yourself an Early Adopter, and who doesn't want such a noble title? Seriously, we'll post on Facebook or something about how tech-forward you are.
90: This is so cool, I wish my name was on it!
You are in luck. Become one of our Sponsors and your name will appear on the eBOSS or the MegaCube itself. Seriously, you back us as a Sponsor and your name will be on every single MegaCube (or every single eBOSS) that we produce for this Kickstarter Campaign. You will be immortalized! Just imagine if one of these somehow makes it to space. Then your name will be in space! (We make no guarantees about your name making it to space.)
Seriously, though, we can only fit so many names in the limited open area on the hardware, so claim your space today before it's all gone! You can blame Mike if we run out of this reward because he was just too darned efficient with his designs.
100: Is everything going to look like it does in the photos?
Although the early prototypes are green, the final MegaCube will use blue text and graphics on white circuit boards just like the eBOSS pictures. Trust us. It will look totally sexy, especially when you're holding it in your hand.
110: I want more details on this sweet tech!
Glad to hear it! Check out all the juicy bits on our website at http://megadom.net.
120: No, seriously, show me its innards!
Our MegaCube Pinout Diagram should shed some light on it for you:
Oh, you like to use Fritzing? We've got you covered with the MegaCube Fritzing Part:
Here's a nice visual version, but for all the details and to actually choose a reward, check out the rewards listed in the right column (you'll have to scroll up a ways!)
140: Who are you guys, again?
The short version is that Mike, the creator of the MegaCube, started up his own company, DomCo Electronics Inc., an electrical engineering consultancy, and initially developed the MegaCube under that company, which is why you see that name and company web address on some of his MegaCube prototypes. He got together with The Jo(h)ns and we formed MEGADOM Electronics Inc. as a small company specifically to bring Mike's prototypes to market so that all engineers can get their hands on them. Of course, we're a new company and we need your backing (see below) to get us rocking, so thank you in advance! Check out our Full Bio to learn more about each of us.
150: Why do you need our help?
We're here on Kickstarter because we need your help to take the MegaCube from prototype to production. We've gotten pretty far on our own, but now we need your financial backing to go the rest of the way. We'll use the Kickstarter funds to buy parts in bulk quantities, set up our assembly process, and ship the MegaCubes and eBOSSes to you as quickly as possible.
Your support will go a long way to help us get our company off the ground (and into the hands of our customers!) We think the most exciting thing about creating this product is seeing all of the awesome things that you guys find to do with it!
160: How did you figure out the funding goal?
Mike has a ton of experience in building electronic devices for his career, so he used all the knowledge to determine the start up costs involved in putting together all the bits and pieces necessary to build the MegaCube in mass quantities. Our ultimate costs will depend on how many of each unit we have to produce, and we determined the minimums we need to get reasonable pricing from manufacturers. Check out our Risks and Challenges below for more information.
170: I want a combo that you don't offer.
No problem! Send us a message and we'll see what we can do. We'll either create another reward that meets your criteria (within the limits of KickStarter's rules, of course) or ask you to pick a similar reward and include the appropriate additional amount.
180: This seems mighty familiar...
Yes, we launched a nearly identical KickStarter campaign in 2014, with a much higher funding goal, because we wanted to minimize our costs (manufacturers provide big price breaks at higher quantities). We relaunched this KickStarter with a much more modest goal, with a much smaller income margin because we believe that the MegaCube needs to get into your hands. Just getting the MegaCube out there will help slingshot us into the next phase of our production plan - we're just starting out smaller this time!
200. What the heck are all those numbers before the headings?
What, you mean, like the 200 in front of this one? That's a throwback to old programming languages like BASIC, just for fun. And yeah, we skipped 190 because you didn't have to use every number in BASIC code, either. See, Microsoft isn't the only one who can skip numbers.
Knight Rider is property NBC & Universal Television, with whom we are not affiliated. On the other hand, if you used MegaCubes in a K.I.T.T. replica, that would be sweet! Battlestar Galactica's Cylons are property of Universal Pictures. Same story there. No relation, but if you build some Cylons with MegaCubes, please send us some pictures and video! K.I.T.T. and the Cylon are only used as comedic, low resolution images for fun. We cite Wikipedia's page in hopes that the concepts there also allow us to use such images.
Risks and challenges
The MegaCube needs to have the right footprint and flexibility to allow it to be easily used with other devices. Mike is already on top of that by...
1. Making certain that every single pin on the MegaCube is broken out, available for use and not blocked by any other components
2. Designing the MegaCube to be “protoboard friendly” to allow for effortless prototyping
3. Creating the inexpensive eBOSS as a perfect companion to the MegaCube to allow developers to use their MegaCube in multiple projects without needing to solder and unsolder it repeatedly
Electronic products like this require precision manufacturing techniques, including using high quality solder stencils to produce superb connections between components and circuit boards. We've partnered with respected Contract Manufacturing (CM) firms and we have full oversight of the entire process to make sure the job is done right!
One risk for many electronics projects like ours is that the project members just don’t have the experience they need to get the products properly designed and manufactured.
Mike has been designing electronics for decades. He has worked with countless manufacturers to get his designs turned into real devices, so getting the MegaCube manufactured will be, as they say, a piece of cake!
Delivery of Hardware Rewards
As with every piece of hardware, the delivery depends on one or multiple production partners. We planned everything thoroughly but in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you'll hear from us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)