The holiday season is upon us here in the US, but there is still time to find a few nifty MCU gadgets that might make it to someone's gift list. Not many introductions this late in the season, but still some fun ones.
Shrimp Arduino Clone -- This tiny design is a microcontroller that you can program using the Arduino IDE. In fact, it looks to the system like an Arduino Uno, so many of the projects available for the Arduino will also work on the "Shrimp." Of course, you will have to connect the I/O up as appropriate. All this design covers is the MCU and a USB-to-UART converter.
Robotic dragonfly -- This dragonfly-shaped robotic drone can fly or hover, and can come WiFi-enabled so that you can control it with a computer or smartphone. It carries a host of sensors, including the possibility of a camera, and can be used in a wide variety of applications, including gaming and aerial photography.
Developed at Georgia Tech with US Air Force seed funding, the original design goal was development of a flying surveillance device that could be used by individuals. The creators have created a commercial version and launched a successful Indiegogo funding campaign that as of this writing still offered some units at a pre-production price. These won't be available until June 2013 or so, though, so perhaps it will have to be on next year's wish list.
Here's a video giving more details:
Robotic Bass Guitarist -- Put in a Midi track for your favorite song and this unit will play the bass guitar portion. The design includes a variable-angle pick to control the strength of the attack and dampers for stopping strings as needed. Built as a student project, it is not commercially available. But a design report is available if you want to try to make one of your own.
Meanwhile, it's a cool design to watch in action.
That's it for now. If you hear of any cool MCU designs, post them here or on the Reader Message Boards.