.NET Gadgeteer: A Platform for Custom Devices

Proceedings of Pervasive 2012 |

.NET Gadgeteer is a new platform conceived to make it easier to design and build custom electronic devices and systems for a range of ubiquitous and mobile computing scenarios. It consists of three main elements: solder-less modular electronic hardware; object-oriented managed software libraries accessed using a high-level programming language and established development environment; and 3D design and construction tools designed to facilitate a great deal of control over the form factor of the resulting electronic devices. Each of these elements is designed to be accessible to a wide range of people with varying backgrounds and levels of experience and at the same time provide enough flexibility to allow experts to build relatively sophisticated devices and complex systems in less time than they are used to. In this paper we describe the .NET Gadgeteer system in detail for the first time, explaining a number of key design decisions and reporting on its use by new users and experts alike.

.NET Gadgeteer

Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio or Visual C# Express (the free C# development environment). Gadgeteer combines the advantages of object-oriented programming, solderless assembly of electronics with a kit of peripherals, and support for quick physical 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. Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer has been developed by Microsoft Research in collaboration with the .NET Micro Framework product team. In this demo, we will provide an overview of the various hardware and software elements of the .NET Gadgeteer platform. Moreover, we will present a wide range of showcase projects that relate to our work in research and education and demonstrate the design of custom enclosures.

Prototype with .NET Gadgeteer

.NET Gadgeteer is a platform that allows hobbyists, educators and developers to build and refine prototype electronic devices quickly and easily. Prototypes are built by combining a .NET Gadgeteer central processing unit mainboard with a wide range of pluggable modules that provide different sensing, display, control and communication capabilities. No specialist knowledge of electronics or soldering is required, allowing remarkably quick development and refinement of new concepts and devices.