Our theme this week is Papilio Pro. Papilio Pro is the next generation Papilio FPGA project from the Gadget Factory, a community dedicated to affordable open source hardware.  Not familiar with FPGA?  FPGA or field-programmable gate array is an integrated circuit that is designed to be modified and reconfigured by the customer. This way you can tailor the chip to meet your needs. Need a custom chip, like a Commodore 64 audio chip? No problem, configure your Papilio Pro, and it’s ready.

How does the Pro differ from the original Papilio board? It is based on the Xilinx Spartan 6 LX FPGA, and it has 48 massive I/O lines, a dual channel USB, an integrated JTAG programmer, 64 Mb SDRAM, and an efficient switching power supply. There is also a well written hardware guide, EAGLE design files, and a schematic to get you going. If you run into any issues, they have a supportive forum where you can ask questions and get help.

If you haven’t heard, the synthesizer laden sound of the 80’s is back with a vengeance. You can hear it in new songs by Metric, Ellie Goulding, and others. Now you can add that retro sound to your music with the RetroCade Synth Mega Wing, a hardware synthesizer that works in tandem with the Papilio Pro as a shieldlike add-on. It originally began as a Kickstarter project and was successfully funded this summer. Not a musician? No worries. This is an open-source hardware product that is designed to be hacked. So let your creative juices flow.

With the holidays coming up don’t forget our Special Offer section where we offer discounts on great items. I really like the Grove – Toy Kit which allows you to put your own spin on toys by hacking or improving them. There are several great do-it-yourself projects for this kit submitted by our Seeed customers. So get ready to make your own automated train station or barking desk guard.

Last but not least, check out our Monthly Giveawaypromotion. You can sign up for a chance to win a FREE TFT Touch Shield V2.0, a multifunctional Arduino/Seeeduino/Arduino Mega compatible resistive touch screen that retails for $54.90.

Until next time, keep on making.

(written by Erin Linke)

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