Piote’s open source battery-powered “BreadBro” combines Arduino built-in circuitry with a breadboard, guide cards, and curriculum to help teach STEM skills.
Austin, Texas based Piote has so far more than tripled its modest $1,000 Kickstarter goals for its BreadBro Arduino clone. Packages are available through May 30 starting at $50, with starter kit and classroom pack versions running into the hundreds of dollars. Shipments are expected by Aug. 1.
Piote developed the BreadBro to help ease the learning curve for STEM students studying basic embedded computing and electrical engineering concepts. Many students are challenged by the Arduino environment, and yet it’s generally considered to be easier than Linux-based hacker boards such as the Raspberry Pi. To help smooth the way, the BreadBro offers an integrated, solderless breadboard so students can quickly prototype ideas. Of course, you could always buy a breadboard to go with your Arduino, but an integrated, battery-powered package makes life a lot easier for students and teachers, says Piote.
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The BreadBro goes a bit further by providing a BreadBro Learning System, built around instructional guide cards that are overlaid on the breadboard. The colored cards provide precise guidance for component placement, while also helping students help you understand breadboard basics, including how to read circuit schematics, and how the schematic and the breadboard are related, says Piote. The BreadBro Learning System also includes online curriculum starting with building simple circuits and scaling up to designing complex electronics applications.
BreadBro Learning System
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Baked into the 97 x 52 x 18mm BreadBro is a straightforward Arduino clone with an Atmega328P-AU chip plus 14x digital and 6x analog pins. Features aimed at classroom use include four user-controllable LEDs (out of 11 total) that can be linked to sensors, program functions, or debugging. There are also USB Mini-B and Micro-B ports that provide a backup plan for when a cable goes missing or only one type is available,” says Piote.
BreadBro demo and angled views
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To encourage mobility, a 140mAh LiPo battery is provided for “several hours” of usage, and there’s also a charge controller, step-up voltage regulator, and 3.3V and 5V power output. Four rubber feet add stability, and power and battery kill switches “ensure that your projects are safe to move around,” says the company. Other features include 8x solder jumpers.
The BreadBro is licensed under The Creative Commons ShareAlike 4.0. For every 10 BreadBros sold, Piote promises to donate a single unit to a school.