So if you’ve been following the development and news about our latest project you might be left asking yourself one question -
What exactly is PICxie?
“PICxie is a ultra-portable development kit for Microchip Technology microcontrollers.”
We’ve taken the traditional idea of a development kit and spun it around on its head! We’ve taken most of the features you’d expect in a development kit and shrunk it down and crammed it into a 1 inch cube!
PICxie has a built in microphone and speaker combination, full-color RGB lighting, a MicroSD card slot, and an internal rechargeable lithium battery and more! PICxie is loaded with powerful suite of features letting you writing cool programs that can do things like:
- Log the local temperature, altitude, barometric pressure, orientation, acceleration, or any combination thereof! (Think of a something like a blackbox for RC planes!)
- Sound detection and recording
- Servo motor control
- IR signal detector
- Local magnetic field strength detector/logger
- And more!
And the 4-pin breadboard compatible I2C expansion bus (I2C and 3.3v Power)and extremely small size make it possible to power your projects with PICxie! We’ve used PICxie to make interesting things like:
- Model rocket altitude, orientation, and GPS location logger
- Mobile robot
- Burglar Alarm
- Universal Remote Control
- Wireless environmental monitoring
- And MUCH more!
Who will benefit from PICxie?
PICxie is a powerful and robust platform for learning embedded development and coding, and is a perfect complement to intermediary STEM courses focused in those areas. It’s also great for anyone with a serious interest in those fields, as it will teach you how to interface with things like IR receivers and MEMS devices, and use the I2C bus to interface with your own hardware on a breadboard.
Why should I choose PICxie over any of the other development kits out there?
Three simple words: Size, Cost, and Functionality. When designing PICxie we already had a good idea of what the competition was. Our main realization was that the cheap ones had no features and were simply a bit more than a break-out board for the MCU. The feature rich ones are usually more expensive, and are definitely not as portable. With PICxie you get 90% of the product in a 90% smaller package!
OK…but how much will it cost?
If you’ve spent anytime near a manufacturing or engineering environment you should be aware that out of the following: Quality, Price, and Features; you can only pick 2. Here at MOARobotics we thought that we could beat that thinking and created a product that could encompass all three categories.
PICxie costs a mere $59.99USD and could potentially get cheaper depending on demand! Right now our two biggest hurdles are the casing and components. Both of those get cheaper in volume and extrapolation tells us that we COULD potentially offer PICxie for ~$35-$40.00USD depending on how popular PICxiewas.
Kickstarter - Bringing it all to the masses!
We will be launching a Kickstarter for PICxie! This project culminated in a product that we feel fills a void in the market for a affordable and portable development kit. We primarily need the Kickstarter for the following reasons:
- Bringing our product out into the market
- Developing new products in the future
- Buying equipment to make our products even more affordable
- Simple publicity
PICxie is already set to go we just have to draft up our Kickstarter, get a nice presentation video made, drum up some momentum, and conduct our beta test prior to doing it. We think you’ll really like PICxie, and with your help we can bring a really great development kit out into the market! Speaking of betas…
PICxie Beta B
If you’re one of the people who like free stuff (and who isn’t :)?) and are interested in getting a FREE PICxie to try out, please signup here, we have about 87 signups at the time of the writing, but only 10-25 people are going to be selected. Signup today for a chance to be an official beta tester for PICxie! As a reward you get a free PICxie and also will be listed as a Beta Tester on the product page and in the manual.
PICxie Beta Signup!
So what’s next?
If all goes well we’ll be offering several versions of PICxie in the future. We actually already have an AVR version of PICxie but we need to verify the circuit before we can go ahead with it. We also have a PIC24 and PIC32 version. We also have a slightly bigger version (2.5″ cube) that is based around an FPGA. We’d love to have a reason to make these versions, and if you’re interested we’d love to hear from you!
Also we’re VERY open to suggestions on what PICxie needs and what it doesn’t, and we love hearing feedback from our users. Like PICxie? Let us know! Don’t like it? Tell us why! It’s only with your feedback that our products can get better.