About this project
BREAKING NEWS: stretch goal reached! smARtDUINO crossed the line of US$ 100.000
smARtDUINO support ELECTRIC IMP!!! The cheapest and easiest solution to create the Internet of the things.
Nov. 1st 2012 - PROJECT FUNDED!!!
Nov. 2nd 2012 - Stretch Goals announced!
All the details are available in the public update (click here).
Nov. 14th 2012 - US$ 50k stretch goal reached!
Nov. 15th 2012 - two popular Kickstarter projects, Digispark and TinyDuino, become partners of smARtDUINO!!!
You can read all the details in our update (click here).
Nov. 18th 2012 - the Kickstarter project freeSoC announced the partnership with smARtDUINO!
All the details are reported in our update (click here).
We created the first and only cooperation between Kickstarter projects and we are proud of this.
What is smARtDUINO?
smARtDUINO is the newest and easiest tool to create electronic projects. How easy? Let’s compare an actual common solution with smARtDUINO:
Not only the easiest, also the most flexible
smARtDUINO is the most advanced platform for the creation of electronic projects and even products.
It is the only platform that is not based on a single processor, architecture or language but, in-fact, leverages a "universal" or common platform that can be used to connect components originally developed from different companies, technologies and form factors.
smARtDUINO allows you to integrate modules, accessories or shields from various other platforms such as Arduino™, Netduino™, ChipKit™ and even interact with smartphone using an ADK module.
There are virtually no limits in the number of different components that can be integrated in a system, with smARtDUINO.
smARtDUINO also offers a perfect solution to problems with the typical microcontroller shields made for existing platforms.
With an existing platform, it can be challenging to control motors with a motor shield, drive an LCD display, and utilize a wireless interface, in the same time. Many times you can use one or two of these functions but, with power and connections restrictions, you often cannot get them all working at the same time, without complicated breadboarding and soldering.
Above you see 3 common components. These components will not all hook in together without some hard work and extra parts. This means more time and money for you.
With smARtDUINO, you can keep your current boards and shields and use our smARtBUS Open I/O to solve this problem, as shown below, and save your time and money. It's all plug & play!
smARtDUINO is INNOVATIVE
With our innovative tools and platform you can now easily create projects that before were very complicated. Now you will be able to develop ideas that were never possible with previous platforms.
For a great example see our QUAD CORE Arduino™ test below:
How can it be useful? Think about all the tasks that one single processor can't perform. For example, if you need high rate sampling of many analog and digital inputs along with the storing of the data on a memory card. It can be very difficult for a single AVR to perform this task with more than one channel to sample. With smARtDUINO you can have more AVR cores running in the same system, each one performing a set of tasks, and they all share the same resources. They can work together and also write on the same memory card!
How much does this kind of solution cost? The retail price for all the parts used for the example is only US$68,60!
Check out the working video to see this impressive feat in action and how it works. Something not possible before today:
Where is the magic?
The magic has a name: smARtBUS Open I/O
smARtBUS Open I/O is the solution we propose to the Open Source Hardware community to solve the problem of the communication between different platforms.
When we started engineering the smARtDUINO project, the basic idea was to separate the CPU and USB functions from the rest of the board, which includes voltage regulator and connections, to create a platform that can be easily moved from prototyping to production.
During this process, we studied and tested many different prototyping boards and a large quantity of shields. What we realized is that, in most cases, these products can share resources, cooperate and work together in a mixed environment but, to reach this result, it’s mandatory to create custom cables, do soldering, create adapters and, in many cases, modify the boards to solve hardware conflicts.
We understood that this is a limit that prevents many people from accomplishing goals and there are no clear solutions on the market dedicated to this important problem.
To solve this issue we designed a specific bus that can be used by any developer of boards or shields, with the opportunity to open the doors to many different platforms.
We promote and support the adoption of the smARtBUS Open I/O by the global Open Source Hardware Community, not just because we created it, but, because it's based on components with high availability in the global market. There is simply no other proposal for this and the smARtBUS Open I/O is today, the only solution of it’s kind.
All the technical details, including designs, references and datasheets about the smARtBUS Open I/O are available for free on our website.
What makes smARtDUINO different?
smARtDUINO is Open - this doesn't mean simply that the designs are available online under Creative Common License. Open for us means "for anyone", accessible, cross-platform, flexible and adaptable. With smARtDUINO different technologies can be used in the same system. It's possible to create a full project that can use totally different processors, for example an Atmel AVR and a Cypress PSoC. What makes it truly remarkable is that the different CPUs and totally different architectures can run together, at the same time, in the same system, sharing resources and interacting.
smARtDUINO is Plug & Play - perfect for all the people that didn't buy before an electronic development platform because they can't solder or they simply think it's too complicated. It's the perfect platform for those who want to start to know the physical and logical computing.
smARtDUINO is for everyone - not only for the beginners! The most advanced users will discover that, thanks to the smARtBUS Open I/O and the many solutions we have already designed, they will be able to do things and get solutions to problems that before were impossible, because the limits of the actual existing products.
smARtDUINO is 100% compatible - it is completely compatible with the existing hardware and software. Any development tool can be applied to modules designed for smARtDUINO as they would their normal counterpart.
smARtDUINO is ready to make final products - this platform is not just for prototypes or personal projects. Since we have been developing products for over 15 years we know that, when you get a prototyping system, you can use it to test and develop the idea but, after that, you will need to design your own finished system. This costs a lot of money, not only in engineering but especially when you want to start production, because the minimum quantities for a cost efficient production run are high and will require big investments. That's why we designed this new Open System, to be ideal not just for prototyping but for the creation of final products, with very low costs even for one or few dozen of pieces.
smARtDUINO is smaller - almost every component made for smARtDUINO is much smaller than the actual market's equivalent. The obvious exceptions are the adapters for different existing form factors that must have the same sizes of the products are designed to adapt to.
smARtDUINO is cheaper - We could say "the cheapest". With smARtDUINO the saving, compared to similar products and technologies, can be up to 50% or even more in some cases.
Who created smARtDUINO?
We started our company over 15 years ago in the north of Italy, in a very small town. Our company used to be a contractor for the manufacturing of Arduino™ and, a couple of years ago, some important staff left the factory that manufactured the Arduino™ to join us. With this transition we gain a lot of experience in this field.
What makes us different, from the people that usually propose this kind of projects on Kickstarter, is the fact that we are involved and specialized in making products, not just experimenting or prototyping. This allowed us to think and design something that goes a few steps beyond.
We run our business in Italy but we also have our own office and staff in Shenzhen, China since 2006, and a branch in Orlando, Florida. We are still a small company, only ten people running a typical family business, but with a very deep knowledge and huge experience.
More details about us and more pictures are available on our website: smartduino.com
How smARtDUINO works
smARtDUINO is a System. What does this mean?
Basically, what we did is to choose some rule about sizes, ways of interfacing, design and production. All these together become the definition of our System. Following these guidelines, thanks also to the documents and designs all available for free. Anyone can interact with the System, integrate with it and can expand upon it.
Our System is composed by four basic elements: smARtCORE, smARtHOST, smARtBUS, smARtMOD.
A sMArtCORE board is the heart of any system, as it hosts the CPU. Any smARtDUINO system must include at least one smARtCORE in order to be capable to execute tasks and yes, this means that you can have more than one CPU in the system as demonstrated above.
The smARtCORE actually represent 90% of other similar products, including the USB and power selection functions, in a 1x1" (25,4x25,4mm) small board.
Compared to existing products, the smARtCORE saves over 60% of the space. There are other boards a little smaller than ours, some also appeared here on Kickstarter, but without USB so, we can say that the smARtCORE is at the moment the world's smallest board offering all the functions of the Arduino™.
The big advantage of adopting the smARtCORE is that you can swap it, according to your needs.
These are the smARtCOREs available at the time:
smARtCORE U (100% compatible with Arduino™ UNO R1 and R2, as well as previous models). The retail price for this board will be only 14.90US$
smARtCORE L (100% compatible with Arduino™ Leonardo). The retail price for this board will be onlu 9.90US$, making it the cheapest ever Arduino™ fully compatible device.
smARtCORE M (100% compatible with ARDUINO™ MEGA) is available and tested.
smARtCORE Z (100% compatible with ARDUINO™ UNO CPU only) it's the cheapest solution to create your final product, as it offers the full functionality of an ARDUINO™ UNO board without the USB at the very low retail price of only 7.90US$ for a single piece.
smARtCORE C (100% compatible with ChipKit™) has been developed and is under testing. It will be available for the backers that choose the Hacker Kit and the All In One.
To repeat for clarity: you will be able to use the same hardware, same shields, devices, extras, all compatible by design, both with Amtel AVR or ARM Cortex technology just swapping the CPU modules as needed.
This is the way you will expand your world, virtually infinitely.
A smARtHOST is a board that can receive a smARtCORE in order to create a more complex device. A virtually infinite number of smARtHOSTs can be part of the System, adding any function the project requires. A smARtHOST is not mandatory, as any smARtCORE represent a system itself but it requires extras to interact with the physical world.
The most common smARtHOST is the smARtHOST ARDUINO™ which replicates the size and the connections of an Arduino™ board. You can just plug a smARtCORE on this smARtHOST and you actually get a fully 100% Arduino™ compatible board, actually a clone.
The genius of the System is, as noted, that you can exchange different kind of smARtCOREs so you can have a pin to pin Arduino™ compatible board that can receive any shield made for that platform, running a totally different kind of CPU.
Allows you to provide to the system an external power source with minimal space used, to be independent from the USB as source of energy. You can check this product's page.
It's an alternative to the smARtHOST POWER and, with only 15% more space used, offers not only the 5V but also the 3.3V required by many projects. More details in the product's page.
smARtHOST HIGH POWER
It's dedicated to those projects that require a lot of energy, for example to support many shields or extras. In a size that's only 50% bigger than a standard smARtCORE (1,5"x1,5") this power beast offers an output to the system of over 2A for the 5V plus 1A on the 3.3V, for a total of 3A and up to 15W of power.
It's dedicated to the pure tinkerer and offers in a very small form-factor (1,5"x1,5") a breakout output with wide spacing (0,1" - 2,54mm) and every signal present on the board, including power, interfaces, communications and every I/O.
It's the one that you are going to use if you really want to do something by yourself. On this board you will get direct access to every signal, like the smARtHOST BREAKOUT but from a very convenient set of female jumpers plus a prototyping breadboard with 34 rows and 170 contact points where you can plug any device you want.
This module will be shipped with a set of pinhead terminated cables included.
It's your open door to the rest of the world without requiring any soldering. It offers all the signals, available through standard ribbon cables that can be terminated with a connector or with a pinhead. More details in the product's page.
This module will be shipped with the ribbon cables included.
Allows to use a microSD card as storage for all the data collected or generated by the device. The big difference with the common shields made for ARDUINO™ is, beside the much smaller size, the ability to manually select the I/O pin to be used for the communication with the memory card host. Check the full description on our website.
Get ready for Android! The smARtHOST USB/ADK offers a simple and cost effective solution to add USB-HOST support to your system. You can receive inputs from USB, with keyboards, mouse, barcode scanners, as well as you can read USB memories or drive Bluetooth Dongles. Most importantly, you can communicate with any Android device (starting from OS version 2.3.6) to exchange data. What makes our smARtHOST USB/ADK a very special solution is the fact that you can select the I/O channels that you want to use to control it. This means that you can share the I/Os with any other device and in particular that you can add more than one smARtHOST USB/ADK to your system and interact with more than one USB device at the same time.
This Ethernet module allows you to connect the whole System to the Internet. It's based on the WizNet W5100 chip, the same used by ARDUINO™'s ethernet shield and its 100% compatible with the ARDUINO™'s Network Libraries. With this smARtHOST you can transform your system in a web server that publish the reading of the signals from any device or can respond to remote commands, for example.
smARtHOST LCD 16x2
This allows you to add a plug-n-play display solution to your project for a very (very) low price. The smARtHOST LCD 16x2 is already configured to use standard I/Os and its 100% compatible with the LiquidDisplay Library from ARDUINO™. The particular design of this smARtHOST is intended to let you be able to keep the full control of the System. For example, in order to use a smARtHOST BREAKOUT, keeping the LCD separated from the other boards. The module is available now and included on some of the reward kits.
smARtHOST LCD MOD
This is the first of a series of smARtHOSTs intended to be used to create finished products, ready to sell. With this smARtHOST, the connections to position a smARtCORE and other smARtHOSTs or smARtMODs are doubled and are on the front and back side. This allows you to create very small products, with all the functions you need, with the size limited only by the LCD display. The module is available now and included in some of the reward kits.
smARtHOST LCD PRO
This is a different solution, also intended to be mainly used for the creation of finished products. As the smARtHOST LCD PRO, it offer the connections for the smARtCORE on the back side but, it offer the connections that can be used for any other smARtHOST or smARtMOD. The module is available now and included in some of the reward kits.
And counting... we have over twenty more products under development or testing. In order to control the size and scope of this project we have chosen not to include them in this kickstarter project, but be assured this platform has many growth options that will be available to you to meet your needs what ever they may be. We have things like control motors, bluetooth and wireless mesh networks, wifi, gps, gsm, mp3 and sound, graphics displays and other kind of I/O like printers will be available at the time the products hit the distribution network, just after all the Kickstarter's rewards will be delivered.
This is the center of the system and we have already described the basics. smARtDUINO offer many different components to extend and adapt the smARtBUS to any needs. Plus, it's easy to eventually design and produce special adapters for the smARtBUS, as all the resources for the design are available totally free.
We designed many different solutions to use smARtBUS Open I/O for the creation of complex systems.
smARtBUS BASIC and smARtBUS FULL are simple, vertical extensions of the bus.
smARtBUS DOUBLE allows to extend the BUS and offers a support base, as it doesn't carry the bus connectors on the bottom side.
smARtBUS MIRROR offers the same functions of the smARtBUS DOUBLE but the second set of connectors is mirrored, changing the directions of the components.
smARtBUS QUAD offers 2 sets of smARtBUS FULL plus two additional sets of smARtBUS BASIC.
It's also available in the version smARtBUS QUAD POWER that offers additionally the functions of a smARtHOST POWER.
smARtBUS EXTENSIONS horizontal and vertical are also available and allow to replicate the signals as many times as you want.
smARtBUS FOR ARDUINO™
Plugged on an Arduino™ or compatible board, will allow to use any component designed for the smARtBUS.
smARtBUS for Arduino™ Shields
Lets any Shield designed for the Arduino™ form factor to be integrated in a system based on the smARtBUS.
The smARtMODs are modules created to offer basically Input and Outputs devices ready to be plugged on a smARtBUS. With the smARtCORE, the smARtMOD doesn't carry over the signals with a set of headers and receptacles for the smARtBUS. The smARtMODs are designed to be placed on a top of a smARtBUS stack.
smARtMOD LCD 16x2
LCD Module that can be plugged on any smARtBUS header.
Available in different configurations:
5TO5D = 5 buttons connected to 5 digital inputs
5TO5A = 5 buttons connected to 5 analog inputs
5TO1A = 5 buttons connected to 1 single analog input, using resistive dividers to generate different voltage at the pressure of different buttons
smARtMOD LED 5TO5D
Offers 5 red LEDs connected on 5 digital outputs.
Many different smARtMOD can be designed and many are already in development. We will keep track (to the extent possible) of every module available and inform the community from our website and forum.
Status of the project
Research & Development: done! We spent about a year doing research, designing solutions and experimenting with the results. The System is evolving daily but the design of the 40 modules we introduce here is completed.
Prototyping: done, a lot! You can see in the videos and in the pictures, we produced a huge amount of prototypes. We can probably say that no other projects before, here on Kickstarter, produced as many prototypes as we did.
Testing: thousands of hours. We even published some tests, like the video on Youtube about the 250.000 seconds long run. We tested every component in details and we executed all the examples in the Arduino™ library to ensure compatibility.
Pre-production: completed. We designed the panels for the PCB factory, we produced the SMD silk screen masks and released the files for the setup of the pick&place and the visual check.
Production: 100% ready, just waiting for you!
We created a product that we will produce and distribute, anyway. We have chosen Kickstarter because we think it hosts a very important community of people that have real passion for technology.
A successful project on Kickstarter will represent for us a solid customer base. Because we have chosen not to sell directly the products, we need the support of distributors and resellers. With a consistent customer base from the Kickstarter campaign, we will have more to offer to the resellers than just a great product.
We hope you like our idea and will choose to support us. It's a great deal, you can get products that elsewhere will cost more than double and we also offer free shipping :-)
Here you can find a detailed view of every reward level. A click on the link below the picture will open a higher resolution version of it in a new window.
Pledge 23$ for the Basic Kit and save 10% + get free shipping worldwide
Pledge 39$ for the Tinkerer Kit and save 20% + get free shipping worldwide
Pledge 49$ for the Android Kit and save 23% + get free shipping worldwide
Pledge 75$ for the Advanced Kit and save 23% + get free shipping worldwide
Pledge 99$ for the hacker Kit and save 35% + get free shipping worldwide
Pledge 99$ for the Maker Kit and save 35% + get free shipping worldwide
Pledge 149$ for the Professional Kit and save 40% + get free shipping worldwide
Pledge 199$ for the All In One Kit and save 35% + get free shipping worldwide
Risks and challenges
Yes, it's a big challenge for anyone to bring a project on Kickstarter. We know that it can be just OK but we wish it to be a great success. What if thousands, really thousands of you will like it (as we hope)? Will we be available to take the challenge?
It's our job and it has always been. Since the middle of 90s. We handled productions much bigger than few thousands of small and simple boards like smARtDUINO System's components.
The only thing that can slow us down, if the numbers will be high, it will be the testing. We developed our set of tests to ensure that we ship only and all working products. Every single function of every component will be checked and must pass the test.
This means that every smARtCORE will be flashed with a program that will check every I/O and functionality, it will be tested and then flashed again with the clean software.
Every smARtHOST will be tested for the functions it need to provide. So, the POWER boards will pass a burn in cycle of few hours at the maximum load of 2A, the boards that offer any kind of connection will be checked for every line and so on.
All these tests, will make sure that you are going to receive a perfectly working product ready to go, out of the box, but will require time.
Our timing is based on the ability to manufacture, test and ship up to three thousands sets before the end of the year. If you will be so much interested in our ideas to make it such a big success, we will work even at night in order to fulfill your orders.
We will ship the products in a strict first in, first out order. So, the earlier you back us, the faster you will receive the goods.
The design and the production's specifications are ready so, we don't need to wait for anything. As soon as the project will receive the 100% of the funding, we will start the production, even before that the end of the campaign.
We plan to actually deliver the first batch much earlier than the schedule we promise here but, you know, it's better to leave room for the unexpected.
We promise a daily update on the blog, with pictures, videos and news about everything that will happen since the start of the campaign until the delivery of the last set. You will be always informed and updated about what's going on.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
This is a very important point for us. Most of the projects here on Kickstarter have limits on the shipments and many people outside the United States can't support it or need to pay extra money, sometimes much more than the value of the product itself.
We have chosen to let anybody in the world be able to pledge this project and to receive our kits, without charging any extra costs, actually without charging any money to anybody.
We can do this thanks to our company organization. The backers from USA and Canada will receive the products from our office in Orlando, Florida, by USPS Standard mail. The backers from Europe will receive the products from our warehouse in Italy, by the Italian Post priority mail. The backers from the rest of the world will receive the products from our office in China, using Hong Kong Post registered mail.
For those backers who are not in North America or Europe, that will receive the goods from Hong Kong, we will do our best to prepare the shipments in a way that can avoid to pay extra custom duties, as the value of the products is not high. We can't assure that some Country will not impose some small custom duties, unfortunately.
We tried to make it clear in the description, even if we actually didn't write it directly. We are not Team Arduino and we are not directly related to the official Arduino project. We had relations with Arduino only as an outsourcing company, working for the contractor in charge of the manufacturing of Arduino. Two members of our team are former worker of the factory that, as we know until the middle of 2010 at least, was in charge of the manufacturing of the Arduino. Of course we know some of the founder of Arduino, because our job and because we live in the same neighborhood, but we have no official relations with Team Arduino. We just admire them for the great job they do.
This is a kind of funny thing... as we worked in this field for over 15 years, you can imagine how many business relationships we can have. We work with about ten different PCB manufacturers and four of them have been involved in the production of different prototypes for our smARtDUINO project. They all use different materials and procedures, so the colors are different.
This is one of our ways to ensure the quality of the products you will receive. We not only tested the design and the components but also different solutions for the PCB. Of course the final products will all have the same YELLOW color.
Every smARtCORE will be shipped preloaded with the Arduino compatible bootloader.
In addition, every board in the basic kits will be preloaded with a custom "blink" program that will allow to see it working out of the box. If you can read Morse code, you will get a message from there!
All the smARtCOREs included in the kits that also include an LCD display, will have preloaded a program that drives the LCD, so when you open the box you can see your new toy at work in seconds.
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