Today, we’re covering a project put together by Naveen Kumar over at hackster.io, which is a Linux computer made with microcontrollers: a microcontroller computer!
Based on an Arduino Nano ESP32, this little computer is a great little project to get up and running – especially if you’re looking to set it up for home automation projects!
This project calls for an Arduino Nano ESP32, an Arduino UNO R4 WiFi, an ArduinoEZ One breadboard. Then, along with an Adafruit TFT Touch Shield and an Adafruit Grove to STEMMA cable, all you need is a mini keyboard.
As you can see in the photo, Naveen has set up the ArduinoEZ One breadboard hook up the Nano ESP32 to the Arduino UNO, which will then connect to the keyboard and the screen.
Naveen has decided to connect an M5Stack CardKB keyboard to the Uno over I2C.
Personally, I’d go for a slightly more comfortable keyboard, but such decisions are at the discretion of the maker!
Also, if you’re interested in learning more about I2C, check out this article.
As Naveen mentions, these components are ideal for such a project, because they’re fairly straightforward and don’t need any soldering.
What can become tricky here is cross-compiling in order to set up the Linux machine.
Luckily, Naveen shares the scripts in order to compile and flash the Linux firmware onto the Arduino Nano.
Once that’s taken care of, Naveen suggests installing the Adafruit_ILI9341 library through the Arduino IDE and getting that onto the UNO.
And then you’ve got your very own Nano ESP32 Linux!
Part of what makes this microcontroller computer so exciting is how simple it is to construct. All you have to do is hook everything up (without even soldering!) and then flash the firmware.
If you’re looking to develop your Linux skills or learn more about how computers work on a lower level, this project is definitely for you.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to have a discrete and portable central device for your home setup or for IoT devices, you should absolutely consider this microcontroller computer.
You can also check out more Paragon Projects that we’ve featured by clicking here.
What would you do with a tiny computer like this?