Posts Tagged 'microcontroller'

mbed – Hello World!

Some of you may know that around the end of 2005 I started babbling about ideas around microcontroller tools with Chris, and making microcontrollers more accessible. Whilst it started as a little evening project, it grew to be something we dedicated a lot of time to i.e. lots of evenings! But then even further, through skunk works, ARM adopting it as an R&D project, through to us having a team working on this thing and making it real!

So now it is real! It really is! We’re online at, and you can buy the mbed Microcontroller hardware!

So what have we actually been doing, and what have we got? To give you an introduction, here is the video that came out of the last SuperHappyDevClub. Hope you like it!

btw, it is my first ever video, and it was great fun making it. I used a panasonic sd-20 camera which i’d definitely recommend, and the default mac movie editor to “edit” it.

It is strange looking back to where it started. We’ve been able to do more than we ever imagined and lots of things have changed and evolved, but i’m really proud that our original goals are still what has driven everything; letting people apply the technology as a means-to-an-end.

I think potential for applying microcontrollers is huge, and getting them in to new hands is exactly where these new innovate apps will come from. I’m especially looking forward to seeing devices really start playing on the internet, and hope mbed will be part of helping a lot of the web crowd start experimenting with what could be possible.

I’m going to have to spend some time capturing what we learned up until this point, but hope this is also just the start! So for now, here you go world; mbed – Rapid Prototyping for Microcontrollers. Have fun!


mbed Microcontroller Beta Launch!

We decided the best way to launch something was to put it in a rocket…

Take an mbed Microcontroller, add an 18g accelerometer and attach a PP3. Wrap in a polybag and tada, a rocket datalogger!

mbed rocket logger

The idea is to put this in the body of the rocket. Model rockets have a motor which after burning through pauses for a while before firing on the other side. This is designed to blow off the nose cone to release the parachute. As this is where our logger is going to be, that also means the logger will get blown out! The green wire coming out the top is our solution to tie it to the rocket nose cone so it doesn’t go to far.

We had been hoping for good weather. It was sunny but windy. Actually, very windy, to the point of being hard to stand still easily. So that unfortunately meant it wasn’t suitable for firing rockets.

But we did anyway…

After running to collect the rocket before it blew away, we opened it up, plugged it in to the laptop and fired up excel. The data looked good – first time too!

Here’s the resulting data from the flight, annotated with what we worked out was going on…

Annotated flight data

A rocket datalogger built in an hour, and fired the same afternoon giving us results first time. I’m happy with that for a launch!