I got very hyped about the flexibility and carefully thought out design of the Gadgeteer system and the possibility of making my own DaisyLink modules. I did a reference design using a 14-pin 8-bit PIC chip which completely implements the DaisyLink protocol requiring just two external resistors and leaves 5 IO pins for the sensor/actuator interface with a wide range of digital and analog IO functions enabling just about any module type to be made with minimal extra components.
Then I costed it and got a shock! The BOM cost is completely dominated by the connectors! The specified connectors are VERY expensive - each costing about twice as much as the PIC chip and four being required per module (two male, two female). You can see this effect in the difference in cost between an EMX module and a FEZ Spider: electronically there are no additional active components, it is just the connectors and the circuit board (plus a couple of switches and LEDs). It adds $35 or 40% to the cost! If GHI decided to make a low-end Gadgeteer based on USBizi chips, the connectors would cost at least twice as much as the active components!
Specifying lower cost connectors would certainly help, but I cannot help thinking there must be a cleaver way of radically reducing the interconnect cost to make the system much more cost effective. Any thoughts anyone?