The μHack is a penny-sized microcontroller looking to bring DIY hardware hacking to the masses.
Created by Silverwing Industries, the μHack is a penny-sized, Arduino-compatible microcontroller designed to bring hardware programming to everyone. The Prescott, Arizona-based startup hopes that the board’s simplicity, flexibility and ease-of-use will make it a suitable option for novice and advanced Makers alike.
Originally appearing on Hackaday and now launched on Kickstarter, the μHack is powered by an ATtiny84A. Its very small form-factor (0.7″ x 0.7” to be exact) allows for the MCU to be embedded in just about anything a Maker may want to hack.
To help facilitate the process, the team has developed a piece of cross-platform programming software for the μHack. Targeted primarily for beginners, the aptly dubbed ezHackStudio features an intuitive interface that enables users to drag-and-drop various functional blocks into the workspace.
“The ezHackStudio supports simple functions, complex functions, various hardware interfaces and all of our booster packs! Ever wanted to make a complex temperature controller or a PID controller to balance a robot on 2 wheels? Well, the ezHackStudio has blocks like the PID block and IMU interface block which makes your job a lot easier! Just make a diagram of your project’s logic and let the ezHackStudio do the tedious coding for you,” the team writes.
The μHack’s I/O ports are very flexible and most of its pins can be used for multiple purposes. With a total of 12 digital I/O pins (out of which four have PWM capability and either have analog input capability), the μHack packs a punch even despite its minuscule size. The μHack is equipped with various common communication ports, such as SPI and I2C, while Makers can also connect UART devices using a Software Serial Library — which is included by default in the company’s drag-and-drop program and available for download for those using the Arduino IDE.
“The μHack alone is already pretty awesome, but we’ve made it even more awesome by developing a wide variety of stack-able booster packs for the μHack that give it a lot more functionality. No more messy jumper wires,” the team writes.
Additionally, the team has its sights set on another board for those who looking to work on more powerful projects. Based on the versatile ATmega32U4, the μHack+ is double the size (measuring 0.7″ x 1.4”) and has twice as many I/O pins as the μHack. The MCU also boasts a built-in micro-USB port. It should be noted that the μHack+ is still in the midst of development, though a larger prototype has already been tested.
Makers can take comfort in knowing that both the μHack and μHack+ are indeed Arduino-compatible, meaning that those who’d prefer to program it old-school with the Arduino IDE can do so with ease. By default, the team emphasizes, both of the MCUs come with Arduino bootloaders programmed into them. In other words, Makers can program them with Arduino C out-of-the-box, or with Atmel’s AVR Studio.
“If you’re using the μHack, just plug in the USB programmer booster pack, hook it up to your computer (whether you run Windows, Mac OS X or Linux) and start hacking!”
Last but not least, μHack features a wide-range of booster packs that can enhance the functionality (and possibilities) of your next project. These include everything from a Bluetooth 4.0 module to an XBee adapter to a motor driver.
Interested? You can head on over to its official Kickstarter page to learn more or back the project for yourself. The board is currently seeking $16,000.