A small, low-cost development board is designed to help beginners learn the basics of computing. The FIGnition inFUZE 8bit computer is available from RS Components. The distributor says it takes ‘build-your-own’ hardware design into education.
The customised version of the low-cost, self-assembly 8bit FIGnition computer has been developed primarily for educational use as a simple, practical aid to understanding basic computing. It is supplied as a kit, comprising a small, bare PCB (prototype pcb )and a set of components including an 8bit 20MHz ATmega328 microcontroller, a 512kbyte flash memory chip and an 8kbyte RAM device.
Designed for construction by beginners, it is supplied pre-loaded with the Forth programming language, providing a simple, efficient environment in which to interactively learn and run computer code. Power is supplied via a USB port, and the board connects to a PAL or NTSC format TV displaying a 25x24 text or 160x160 bitmapped graphic image. No external keyboard and mouse are required to get started: all commands and programming can be executed easily using the on-board eight-key keypad.
The distributor supplies the kit with a set of sample programs including games and utilities pre-programmed into the flash memory chip. Schools will find the analogue data logger useful as it allows students to connect up simple sensors and graphically display the measurements. All source code is visible allowing students to experiment by modifying existing code before moving on to create their own.
Assembly instructions and easy-to-follow tutorials are on the FIGnition website. Additional support is available through the user community.