How it all begun
Hi, my name is Alex Sardo. I am the founder of World Class Technologies an innovative Software and Hardware design company which develops custom designed solutions for various markets and communities.
I can't remember how many times I wanted to embed an OLED display into a project, or perhaps design a remote, WIFI controlled appliance or even add a micro-sd card to store data, only to find out that such interfaces, while easy to embed, were either costly, not voltage compatible and/or bulky ...
I am, like you, a developer and creator of cool things. I like to learn and test new ideas, spending time designing and developing solutions using various interfaces. Up to now, this was a tedious and time consuming exercise. By the time I added storage, display and a few sensors (and don't get me started on WIFI), my product required a small lunch box to carry around.
I decided to do something about it and late last year, we started designing a low-cost alternative platform that would be easy to use, fast to deploy new projects with and feature rich. In January 2015 Piccolino was born.
Piccolino (Italian for "tiny") is a small, low-cost yet powerful programmable controller with an embedded OLED display and WIFI connectivity that you can program using existing tools like the Arduino IDE environment and the ESPlorer IDE. It uses the new ESP8266 LUA powered WIFI module which takes care of all the WIFI connectivity workload requiring only 3 lines of code in your sketches to establish a wireless connection. Furthermore, it can be configured both as an Access Point or a Station, so you can easily develop mobile device controlled appliances.
The Atmel328p is used in thousands of Arduinos with enthusiasts and professional engineers around the world developing projects with it every day. Piccolino is built on the success of the Arduino micro-controller and adds 2 individual touch (capacitance) zones on the bezel, a bright low power 0.96" OLED display, 32KB of static RAM, a uSD card with Gigabytes of storage and a powerful programmable (reliable) WIFI module making it the perfect low-cost, high performance choice for your next project. No new programming languages to learn, no monthly fees to pay for the service. It's yours to create whatever you want, whenever you want.
Piccolino is essentially an Arduino on steroids. Adding the ability for cloud enabled based devices, web alarms, event-driven email or text message notifications to phone or tablet, remote web-controller appliances, WIFI signal strength meters, monitors, loggers, network scanners has never been easier.
The community support for both the Atmel328p used in the Piccolino and the ESP8266 used in the WIFI module is mature with many online forums which offers insight and tons of free sketches and LUA scripts.
Piccolino core specifications
Use Piccolino as a stand-alone device with an external battery, embed it in your own custom projects or use it to learn (or teach) various technologies. Whichever way you choose to use it, Piccolino's Arduino compatibility, low foot-print and low cost will allow you to unleash your creativity like never before.
You can download the Open Source case and print it (or modify it) from this link on Thingiverse -> http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:774123
Videos and Piccolino official mascot created by Jaron Wanderley (http://Kawek.net/jaronwanderley).
Later this year, we will be launching the Piccolino Gateway. With this service you will be able to leverage our servers to conduct many internet functions with your Piccolino using a simple to understand API.
The goal is to provide a service so that you can use as few as one line of code to execute a complex function function like sending a text to a mobile device in real time, triggered by external events. This will greatly simplify your program and free your Piccolino's memory enabling it to concentrate on sensors management or other local tasks.
Gathering weather information, external events and sharing event-driven notifications is going to be easier than ever.
Don't worry it will be and always remain a free service for every Piccolino kickstarter backer! The Piccolino Gateway will be accessible at http://piccolino.io so keep an eye on this URL.
Libraries, Support & demo sketches
All sample sketches, LUA scripts and optimized libraries will be released as open source on Piccolino's support website http://piccolino.rocks The website will be up and running by the time the initial production starts so that we can incorporate the feedback gathered during this campaign. You will be able to download the files and tools needed to start your projects and be ready for when your Piccolino arrives.
We would like to thank you for your support by offering the following rewards:
How we will use pledged funds
With your support, we will be able to purchase all required components and services in bulk lowering the overall production costs and allowing us to deliver the Piccolino base unit with all of the described functions at the lowest possible price enabling everyone to unleash their creativity and Inventiveness.
Today, Apr 17th we are releasing the Piccolino Carrier Board to all backers who donated $24 or more. This neat little board will allow you to develop code on the Piccolino even easier giving you access to both the Atmel CPU and the ES8266 WIFI module with one single connection. Furthermore you can monitor the serial communication from the Atmel CPU and ES2866 in real time with the Arduino Terminal Console. This is our way to say thank you for the great support. The board has already entered manufacturing and we'll update the pictures once the first units are ready!
Upcoming Expansion Boards
Piccolino 16 I/O i2c Port extender. Adds 16 input and output channels to the Piccolino. Great for keyboards or just about anything really! Up to 8 of these boards can be stacked/chained together giving you a total of 128 I/O.
Piccolino LIPO battery pack + integrated FTDI programmer. This expansion board which will snap at the bottom of the Piccolino (and extend the i/o pins) adds a 250mA rechargeable LIPO battery. It recharges when you develop your programs, or whenever you plug it into the USB port (or 5v phone charger).
Piccolino 3v CR123A battery holder. This PCB/3D printed shell combination adds support for a CR123A (up to 1400mA) battery and also has a small prototyping area on the back. Useful for remote temperature meters, signal meters etc ...
On a final note, for the ones of you that do not know my work, my last project was the XYZeroCart a 3D printer cartridge resetter. Here are some of the recent feedback messages received (chosen randomly):
Risks and challenges
All manufacturing have risks and we are prepared to deal with any shortcoming by adopting multiple component suppliers and providers, after all this is not our first rodeo :) (get it? Because we're in Texas).
We have in-house pick-and-place machines, quite a few of 3D printers as well as testing rigs. If more capacity is needed, we have access to local assembly houses that can lend a hand if we come into a crunch.
Another thing to consider is that there could be a shortage of one or more particular components at the pricing that we need to maintain the low cost but usually that is a temporary setback.
Finally, there could also be a delay in shipping from semiconductor manufacturing which could impact our June delivery. To this extent, we have local suppliers that can cover shortages with small quantities to keep us going.
As a precaution, we will start securing the needed components at a very early stage to avoid and rectify any of these issues.
We plan to keep all of our supporters in the loop about the manufacturing and assembly process and any "bonus" rewards or goodies that we may be able to add to your pledges.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)