hagikuratakeshi's diary

I work as a Developer Programs Engineer @ Google. This is my personal blog and any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely mine, not my employers.

First impression with 8pino

I got two 8pino Arduino(s) lately and this is my first impression with them.

What is 8pino?

8pino is the world smallest Arduino, which is fully compatible with Adafruit Trinket 3.3V (8MHz).

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Adafruit Trinket is also featured by its small size, but 8pino is even smaller. It's smaller than my little finger!

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Start blinking an LED

As with Adafruit Trinket, 8pino has 5GPIOs. Let's start with blinking an LED. Blinking an LED (Lチカ in Japanese) worked as instructed in the top page of 8pino. (I used Mac for following)

  1. ' Connect the 8pino with my Mac through USB (A-microB type)

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  1. ' Download the Mac Arduino 1.0.5 for Trinket
  2. ' Open the Arduino IDE
  3. ' Select Tools -> Board -> Adafruit Trinket 8MHz
  4. ' Select Tools -> Programmer -> USBtinyISP
  5. ' Copy the same code in the top page to the editor
int led = 1;

void setup() { 
  pinMode(led, OUTPUT); 
}

void loop() {
  digitalWrite(led, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
  delay(888); // wait for 888msec
  digitalWrite(led, LOW); // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  delay(888); // wait for 888msec
}
  1. ' Click Upload in the Arduino IDE
  2. ' Then you need to remove and insert the 8pino through the USB connector again to reset your 8pino (otherwise you will see the error message Could not find USBtiny device (0x1781/0xc9f). If you don't see the error message, you have successfully uploaded the code to your 8pino.
  3. ' Pinch the GND port and the #1 port with an LED ...

Ta-da!

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Impression

Maybe at the stage of creating a prototype, you might still find it easier to use other Arduino compatible boards such as Adafruit Trinket because 8pino itself doesn't have pin headers to connect to a breadboard (of course it's possible to plug pin headers to 8pino). But it's surprisingly small than it seems, I think its tininess makes it possible to integrate Arduino into tools that were not even considered about possibilities of working with electronics.

Actually according to the interview of the creator of 8pino (Akichika Tanaka-san), the idea of creating a tiny Arduino board came from his own frustration that there were no Arduino compatible boards tiny enough to fit into a pen. (Tanaka-san was developing a pen with a built in pedometer by installing an acceleration sensor into the pen cap to record how many centimeters the pen had travelled). More interestingly, he worked (and is working) as a full time engineer for an electronics firm. He worked on 8pino as his side project!

I'd like to thank him for sharing his experience in such a way.

By the way I bought 8pino from the Japanese online hardware store, called switch science. Not sure if they ship overseas.. :) If you wanna try 8pino, stay tuned for updates from VITRO, a creative unit which Tanaka-san formed.