System on a Chip (SoC) devices are becoming ever cheaper and represent a great way to develop micro controller apps with the minimum of external components. A typical SoC device comprises a micro controller core along with a stack of logic and analogue blocks that can be configured in firmware to create a specialist device.
Up until recently, development kits for this technology have been too pricey for the enthusiasts market but that is changing rapidly. The latest to come to my attention is the Cypress CY8CKIT-042 PSoc Pioneer Kit. This has everything you need to get started including an on-board programmer, USB lead and some patch wires. The development software is completely free and downloadable from the Cypress site. One of the great things about this system is the PSoc 4 Creator software that allows you to create and program your dedicated applications by simply drawing the circuit diagram! The kit also has Arduino compatible pin layout and sockets for Digilent Pmod accessories so it’s easy to expand the board.
At the time of writing the kit was available from Farnell for about £17 which is a real bargain. Here’s a link for more information: http://uk.farnell.com/cypress-psoc-4-pioneer-kit