We've received a lot of feedback from developers that they'd love to see a reward level for the OpenROV Cape we've been developing (see the latest on Github).
Well, here you have it!
We've updated the Kickstarter Project and now have a reward level for the OpenROV Cape for $42 (shipping within the US included).
Here's more information about why we think this is important:
There seem to be two sects of embedded system hacking platforms- the microcontroller family (think Arduino) which is great for controlling electrical hardware but does not generally have very much processing power, and the single-board computer family (think BeagleBone or Raspberry Pi) which has plenty of processing power and connectivity, but lacks the same hardware control capabilities. OpenROV uses both the hardware control capability of an Arduino and smarts of a full BeagleBone computer, so we've developed a board the merges the two- we call it the OpenROV Cape. This board contains an Atmega328 microcontroller (running the Arduino bootloader) as well as circuitry for providing smooth 5v power to the BeagleBone from the (very electrically noisy) 12v bus that powers the motors. We've also added MOSFETS for powering higher voltage devices like lights from the microcontroller output, electronics for sensing voltage levels of onboard battery packs, and headers for plugging in servos and ESCs. We've even laid out a header configuration on the top that will allow you to plug an Arduino Shield into the top of the board. Communication between the BeagleBone and OpenROV Cape is done through the BeagleBone's UART1 port and the Atmega328 can be programmed through the on board header that accepts a standard FTDI breakout board.
We think this board has many applications even outside of OpenROV. Picture a robot that can host a webserver and run computer vision programs real time while controlling half a dozen servos and monitoring telemetry data! If you're a hacker who wants across-the-board capabilities in a small package, this is the PCB for you!