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If you are thinking of getting into FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) it’s worth paying a visit to Gadget Factory’s Papilio project. Not only do they have some great value boards available but the new Schematic Library really helps you get going with minimal programming. The Schematic library provides computing modules that can be arranged and connected together using simple block schematic diagrams. A processor is included in the set, so it’s remarkably easy to program your FPGA board with an Arduino like processor along with a wide assortment of interfaces.

I’ve bought one of the Papilio One FPGA boards with a 250k gate Spartan 3E chip. In addition to the obvious FPGA chip, the board comes with all the essential voltage regulators, a clock source and its own JTAG programmer. There are two expansion wings for all the ins and outs and a USB port for the programmer. With the Palipio One board selling at just $38 (~£23) it’s great value. If you want to see more, take a look at the Learning site where you’ll find lots more detail along with examples.

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