This is my very first development board project. After shrinking about 15k worth of equipment to a custom board the size of a credit card that can read your muscle signals, to winning TechCrunch Disrupt's 2015 Hackathon with an IoT device that tells my Dad if his stove is still on, you'd think this kind of stuff is old hat for me.

I've made various circuit boards in the past, but they've all been bread boarded & hand soldered. When I made my SEMG wearable pod, while I created the circuit design, support electronics, and software, I had my buddy take care of the PCB lay out and soldering.

I used to roll my own hand soldered, slag jumpered bread boards as components. Like these.

It looks janky as hell, right? But guess what ! It still worked. This is my usual progression when it comes designing and manufacturing circuits. This method has lots of issues like accidental shorts, which is why every time I look at someone's project, and see these gorgeous, well laid out, manufactured, smd soldered component boards, I get a little envious.

So why a development board? A lot of what I do involves body sensing, and with IoT in the mix, that makes for some interesting requirements.The interesting thing is when you do a search for wearable development boards, literally two things come up, and then my hackaday blog about making one. And to top it off, the two that come up are A.) Yet another watch, and B.) A board you can stick in a watch, and doesn't have the requirements that I want (wifi/bluetooth/lots of analog ports). So it makes sense for me to roll one out.

But I don't want to make yet another generic arduino esque board in the millieu. This one will be wearable, mesh capable, and talks to the cloud. And it has an educational purpose, and serves as the foundation for other projects, like helping my researcher friend studying Rett syndrome, a rare, neurological degenerative disorder.

So the first thing I do whenever I start a new project, is I figure out what it needs to do first. These are my requirements.

Now the cool thing about this concept is I have a great friend who's a scientist, fellow biomedical engineer, and researcher in Boston. She and I went to the same program together, and she was telling me about these kids who have a disorder called Rett Syndrome. Rett's syndrome is one of those really rare, neurological degenerative disorders that hard to pin down, both to research, and also to get funding for because it's so rare.

For scientists to monitor what kids are going through with Retts, they use these 1990's era technology vests that stores the data on the vest, and then they literally have to send back these multi thousand dollar vests back to the lab to analyse the data. They might as well use floppy disks and send it in the mail, it would be that much easier! Now, for me, that's really an @$$ backwards way of doing it. What is this, 1997?!

When she told me about this, I had one of those "WTF are you freaking kidding me?" reactions. And since IoT is my jam and I'm really good at making tiny, wearable devices that stream lots of data talking to the cloud, I figured "why not make something to make her research way easier?" And in the process, I'll create my own development platform that I can use for my other work.