Phidgets have long been a favorite for computer software developers due to their ease of use, wide selection of sensors and I/O boards, and solid API offering for a variety of programming languages. The one thing that has always been a requirement however, is a physical connection to a computer via USB cable.
All of that is a thing of the past now with the introduction of the PhidgetSBC; an Arm9 based embedded Linux computer (it runs a custom Linux Distro built using Buildroot) combined with the tried and true Phidgets 8/8/8 IO Board.
So what does that mean to you? In its simplest form and function, it effectively cuts the cable of your Phidgets projects and allows you to access your Phidgets devices over ethernet or the included Wifi dongle. The onboard computer acts as a server for the variety of APIs that Phidgets offers, and this enhanced ‘mobility’ opens the doors to a much wider variety of applications. The PhidgetSBC can function as a wireless extension of your PC, a Wifi enabled Robot Controller, or even a standalone Robot Controller. That’s right, the PhidgetSBC is fully programmable; there is an easy to use interface that allows you to load custom C or Java code directly to the board and have it run autonomously, without the previously required PC link. If that wasn’t enough, more advanced users can modify the Linux build to their hearts content, host other USB based Phidgets devices by simply plugging them into the PhidgetSBC, and has integrated support for streaming a web cam feed back to your PC. I’m really just skimming the surface here, for more details check out the (as always) very well documented product manual.
The PhidgetSBC will run you $243.90 USD and we are currently accepting pre-orders for this as we anticipate it to be a very high demand product. Given that the development kits for the onboard computer used here usually run in the ~$150-200 range, this price is a VERY good deal to anyone looking to take their Phidgets projects to the next level. Initial quantities will be limited and orders are filled on a first come first serve basis, so get your pre-order in ASAP to snag one up!