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Electronics

Use your Nintendo DS as an embedded controller

The DSerial2 I/O board for use in the Nintendo DS
Now you can put the considerable power and efficiency of the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system to use in your robots and other embedded control projects.

The Nintendo DS gaming system is pretty amazing. It will run for ages on a battery charge, is small, lightweight, and rugged. Oh, and of course, it has two LCD displays which could be handy for displaying data or operating status of your custom programs. The only problem is that the DS is designed to play games and does not have any way to control the external world nor read sensors.

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That’s all about to change though with the DSerial2 product from natrium42.

The DSerial2 plugs into the DS cartridge port and gives you 18 general purpose I/O lines, analog to digital converter (ADC), and 2 axis tilt sensor, among other things.

  • 8051 microcontroller running at 24MHz
  • Reprogrammable from DS, firmwares available at NaWiki
  • Free development tools available
  • 18 GPIO lines, 2 status LEDs
  • UART with RS-232 level converter (can be disabled)
  • Full-speed USB 2.0 device
  • PWM and ADC available
  • 2D tilt sensor
  • Backwards compatible to DSerial1

All of this comes at a very reasonable $50 price. Now, combine that with a handful of servos, a few sensors, and other goodies, and you have a very powerful embedded control system with built-in WiFi, sound, RAM, ROM, screens, a couple ARM processors, and lots more.

All of this comes at what I think is a very reasonable price. The DSerial2 is only $50. Development tools and other required items are included.

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To see the DSerial2 in action, natrium42 has built a small robot that uses the DS, a computer, and a camera to create a system that you can control via the web. Look for what appears to be a banner ad near the top if you want to try it.

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