Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thoughts on Netduino

Right now I would put Netduino at the top of my big project development platform list for two reasons: 1) the board supports .Net and I have experience with C#; 2) at this time the Arduino form factor (blue connectors in the image below) allows the greatest opportunities for low cost expansion and prototyping. Today these boards are selling for about $35. Unfortunately they are not good for production development of inexpensive products because the .Net micro framework needs a lot of CPU power and memory to run. Here is a migration discussion from 2011. However, high end production products could benefit from this technology. Once again, C# garbage collection is non-deterministic so time critical operations may be tricky at best.
For me personally it would be ideal for home type DIY projects where the final cost, size and power consumption is of little issue; but surprisingly, only a handful of Netduino projects appear on Instructables today. Of particular interest to me is the support for Event/Delegates through C#. I've build many software controllers over the years and I've only used the event driven programming pattern.

Unfortunately I cannot find a Netduino mini or micro single chip breakout, which means this development platform is not yet easily suited for the ultra small, low cost and low power (3v3) controllers without a software/hardware port.

I read one blogger's post that he successfully used the Netduino board with SeedStudio Grove modules. So in addition to roll-your-own shields and components, the Arduino form factor allows a wide variety of component access from a variety of suppliers. 

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