Arduino announces ready-to-play Esplora
Arduino, the company behind the open source hardware platform of the same name, has announced a new circuit board based on the Arduino Leonardo. Called the Arduino Esplora, the board is the first Arduino product to include ready-to-use onboard sensors and is designed to get new users working with sensors on the Arduino platform without the need for breadboards or soldering.
The Esplora is shaped like a game pad, includes an analog joystick, a 4-way directional pad and connectors for an optional, and yet-to-be-launched, colour TFT LCD screen. Other sensors include a microphone, light sensor, temperature sensor, three-axis accelerometer and a linear potentiometer. The board also includes a buzzer, micro USB connector, Tinkerkit input and output ports and a number of LEDs.
It comes pre-programmed as a game controller, which works with Super Tux Cart, but can also be used to emulate a mouse or keyboard. The Esplora can be connected to a PC via the micro USB connection for this purpose and its bootloader is set up in a way that allows users to upload code to it over the USB connection; this is achieved with the Arduino software in a similar way to existing Arduino boards.
The form factor of the Arduino Esplora does mean that it is unable to directly use the range of Arduino shields explansion boards available for other devices from the company. Further details of the Esplora are available on the Arduino web site including schematics and board layout
At the moment, the Arduino Esplora is only available from RadioShack in the US. It will also be available from the Arduino store and Arduino distributors soon for €41.90 (approximately £33.73) plus taxes. The colour LCD module will be released "in the near future".