Introducing the Freetronics LeoStick – one very small Arduino Leonardo-compatible board, in the format of a typical USB memory stick – the board for integration into smaller projects, on-the-go fun when travelling, or minimalism-enthusiasts:
Whether or not the LeoStick is the world’s smallest Arduino-compatible board – it’s pretty darn tiny – for example:
Note that the length includes the USB plug extrusion on the PCB. A lot of small boards on the market may consider themselves to be fully Arduino-compatible, but with a few minor or major caveats – such as not having full USB interface, or using a cut-down MCU such as an ATtiny, or offer less current handling ability. After comparing their specifications with the LeoStick, you can see how much has gone into such a small board:
- Native USB port built-in, no need for any USB or FTDI cables
- Two Full Color RGB LEDs on-board! Drive different colored outputs and fun feedback from your sketch right away. One RGB LED is completely programmable, the other does Power, USB RX and TX indication, the RX and TX LEDs can also be controlled.
- On-board Piezo speaker element, play sounds, tunes and beeps. Can also be used as a knock/vibration sensor
- Same I/O pins. The LeoStick provides all the same header connections as larger boards, you can connect all the same sensors, actuators, and other inputs and outputs as typical Arduino models.
- Breadboard compatible, has 0.1″ pitch pads and header pins can be fitted underneath
- 500mA polyfuse and protection on the USB port
- ATmega32U4 microcontroller, Arduino compatible with on-board USB, 32K Flash, 2.5K RAM, 1K EEPROM at 16MHz
- ISP 6-pin connector for advanced programming of the ATmega32U4 MCU
Here is the underside of the LeoStick , showing the piezo speaker:
And here is a quick video of the LeoStick in action:
Although this is a newly-released product, it does rely on a modified beta version of the upcoming Arduino Leonardo bootloader. There are some known issues with Windows 7 64-bit drivers and some library functions don’t work perfectly yet. Any firmware or Arduino Leonardo compatible support should not be considered to be final release firmware or in any way an official Arduino. At Freetronics’ request, please don’t hassle the Arduino team with support or requests related to this board – they’re solely the responsibility of Freetronics.
Nevertheless there is a growing and vibrant support forum where you can see examples of the LeoStick in action and discuss other subjects and issues. The LeoStick is also a very complete ATmega32U4 breakout and USB board by itself and the LeoStick can be programmed directly from the supplied standard ISP header by AVR Studio, Mac OSX-AVR, avrdude, WinAVR etc.
The LeoStick is also new to us here as well, and we look forward to integrating it into projects in the near future, as well as having a board to experiment with when travelling. As we always say – if it meets your needs or you want to try something new, you could do a lot worse than getting yourself a LeoStick. If you are interested in learning how to use Arduino in general – check out our tutorial here. For more discussion and support information for the LeoStick consult the forum or product web page.
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