Hole in the market

I have been working on an open source scuba diving computer project (www.diydivecomputer.com) for some time and I have been looking for the perfect platform to create it on. It seems that there is a large hole in the market when it comes to micro controllers. There are the low capability Arduino and compatibles, then there are the system on a chip boards like the Raspberry Pi with very little in-between.

For my dive computer project I want to make the device wrist mountable (small form factor), have a largeish display (larger RAM buffer and powerful processor), have some custom bitmapped (lots of flash space) or vectored (powerful processor) fonts and the ability to connect sensors (more i/o pins), runs on batteries (low power), and can talk to the outside world to transfer dive logs (preferably bluetooth). The Spark Core comes closest to what I have been looking for but still misses the mark on all of these criteria expect perhaps processing power, size and low power.

I’ve seen from other postings that there are a lot of people out there that feel the same way, that there is a hole in the market for a product that has a bit more RAM, more flash space, a few more I/O pins and maybe a bluetooth option rather than wifi.

Just wanted to point this out incase Spark or anyone else wants to do something about it.


Can somebody define what is “a lot of RAM” or “sufficien ammount of RAM”? Is it 64KB, 96KB, 128KB or more (external DDRAM needed)?

Equaly - what is a lot of Flash space? 256KB? 512KB?

If it has low power consumption - how low? How many mA/h? What is the draw current? In other words - how log would your battery to last - several months, a year, more?


@drasko the challenge is that “a lot” or “enough” varies dramatically depending on what you’re doing. The Arduino Uno has 2KB of RAM, which is plenty for many products. The Core has 20KB, which is necessary because we’re doing encryption over the Wi-Fi connection, but much of the RAM is available to the user.

Same goes for power consumption; it depends on your project, it depends on your battery, it depends on how often you put it to sleep. There’s no silver bullet answer for these questions.

@Vic320 the hole in the market isn’t in micro-controllers; as @tgauchat said, there are MANY micro-controllers available at every price point and every level of capability.

The gap in the market that you’re perceiving is a gap in popular developer tools rather than in the micro-controllers. Arduino and Raspberry Pi are the two big development platforms, and they’re on opposite ends of the power spectrum. However there are dozens more tools that fall in the middle, they’re just not as popular.

I would encourage you to do some research into the big semi-conductor companies’ portfolios (Texas Instruments, ST, Atmel, Microchip, etc.) and look for their own development kits; I imagine that you will find many that are suited to your project, although they may not be as easy to work with as an Arduino. But then again, that’s the magic of Arduino.

1 Like