The introduction of FEZ Spider, the first .NET Gadgeteer compatible device

GHI Electronics is proud to introduce the first .NET Gadgeteer compatible kit FEZ Spider Starter Kit, including the FEZ Spider Mainboard and numerous compatible Modules. FEZ Spider leverages EMX Module’s advanced core features, including but not limited to, WiFi, PPP, USB thumb drive support, USB webcam support and RLP for loading native code. More information is found at http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/category/265/

“As soon as we heard about Gadgeteer we saw the potential of the platform and we engaged with Microsoft to see how we could help bring it to market” said Gus, Engineering Manager at GHI Electronics. “We’re excited to be one of the first partners in what we believe will quickly become a healthy ecosystem.”

Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express. Gadgeteer combines the advantages of object-oriented programming, solderless assembly of electronics with a kit of peripherals, and support for quick form-factor construction using computer-aided design. This powerful combination allows embedded and handheld devices to be iteratively designed, built and programmed in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. Learn more at http://www.netmf.com/gadgeteer/

FEZ Spider Starter Kits will be at Detroit Maker Faire on July 30th/31st. Come visit us and you will get to meet GHI and Microsoft’s main developers behind FEZ Spider and .NET Gadgeteer. More details on Maker Faire at http://www.tinyclr.com/forum/15/3700/

I’d like to add that we’re already in production and many lucky developers will receive their FEZ Spider Starter kits over the next few days. Since this is a new product, demand is very high and we will not be able to fill all order as fast as we’d like. We are doing our best to get you kits as soon as possible.

Does this mean that GHI will be open sourcing its firmware ?

@ Pablo

The Spider is built using the EMX. I would expect it to use the same firmware with new Gadgeteer extensions.

I am not sure but the Gadgeteer extensions may be open source managed code.

Congratulations on another great product!

@ Architect

I thougth the same as you did but if you look at Microsoft site the pictures of the gadgeter are the same as the GHI’s product so Microsoft is testing .NETMF on GHI’s hardware… and as .NETMF is open source, that made me think…

Gadgeteer is 100% C# managed code so it is not tied to any firmware (C++ code). GHI hasn’t decided on what is open and what is not, everything is possible but we are busy finishing/shipping the product at this time.

The important point from gadgeteer is the “open socket-connections standard”. What this means is, you can get a module from company x, another module from company y and use both on mainboard from company z, even if you didn’t have design files. All will work together nicely. Of course someone may come up with an advanced moduel that requires special software but mostly modules will simply work.

We look forward to see what other companies will come up with, as far as mainboards and modules. The more options we all have the stronger gadgeteer is. You can even make your own modules to go on any mainboard…this is the beauty of gadgeteer. Think of this as “arduino shield like” but better since there is no pin overlapping and you are not limited to couple shields before the board is too long to be usable. You could even take the gadgeteer socket standard and use it on a board that is not running NETMF at all , but you will lose all the nice software gadgeteer provides.

@ Pablo in addition to what Gus said this document explains some of the principles in more details:

http://gadgeteer.codeplex.com/releases/view/65417#DownloadId=233913

All socket are standard protocols, except Z in case your module needs something extra and non of the available sockets/protocols are good for it. Everything is pretty much open.

Oh man I can’t wait to get my hands on one! :dance:

My birthday and Christmas wish list all on one page!

I’m also hoping you guys decide to go to the NYC Maker Faire in September and show this off.

Hey just occurred to me, will the Spider support RLP?

It does

It is EMX, so whatever EMX has, FEZ Spider (and FEZ Cobra) will also have.

Gadgeteer is a high level C# wrappers/drivers plus it adds socket definition. This is what allows for a great ecosystem of modules/mainboards from multiple vendors.

  1. YEAAAAAAH!

1 joystick, 2 buttons, LCD … I have a new Gadgeteer board I’m going to need to make…GHI I’m looking at you!

That is awesome Gus! Finally we can get rid of all the silly shields!

Either shields or think cables to run a LED :smiley:
Looks great, can’t wait 8)

Any chance there will be a shield version that could be used with an existing FEZ?

There is no need for that. FEZ Spider main board is FEZ - same hardware as FEZ Cobra

@ Architect I think what ianlee was asking is if there was a way to make a shield to enable current FEZ (like Cobra) to use Gadgeteer.

I see. For that you probably can use almighty extender module:

http://www.tinyclr.com/forum/21/3756/#/1/msg35409