It’s now just about 5 years ago when I started with JeeLabs, so I thought it might be a good idea to bring back some notes from the past. Get ready for a couple of flashback posts…
One of the first posts on this weblog was about the Arduino, or rather Atmel’s AVR ATmega chip I had just discovered (it was the ATmega168 back then):
It was the Arduino IDE which made it trivial to play with this chip, an open source multi-platform software package combining an editor, the avr-gcc compiler, and the avrdude uploader. And despite the use of very Arduino-ish names such as “sketches” (firmware) and “shields” (add-on hardware), it was all nearly-standard C and C++, with a couple of convenient libraries to easily access I/O pins, the ADC, the serial port, timers, and more.
Five years ago, a fascinating brand new world opened up for me. I knew all about C and C++ as well as digital I/O and boot loaders, but a lot of really interesting and powerful new technologies were new to me: I2C, SPI, embedded timer hardware, and above all: sleep mode. These chips were not only able to run at an amazing 16 MHz clock rate, they could actually go to sleep and use a watchdog timer to wake up again later, saving 3 orders of magnitude on energy consumption.
A small universe, controlled by standard software and able to interface to the real world.
Physical Computing. Low cost. Accessible to anyone.