Measuring just 12mm×12mm, the new µDuino is powered by an ATmega32U4, the same chip that powers the Arduino Leonardo. The creator’s claim that the board is the “smallest Arduino ever created” might well not be correct, but if not, it’s definitely going to be a close call.
Rooting around amongst my pile of spare boards I found a few small ones. The Digispark is probably my go to board when I need something smaller, but that’s 17mm×19mm. It’s also based around the ATtiny85, which while a perfectly nice chip, is a lot less capable than the ATmega32U4 on the µDuino. The MetaWearC is also small, and comes with a onboard sensors, Bluetooth LE, and is based around an ARM Cortex-M0 making it a lot more powerful. But the circular coin sized board is 24mm in diameter, twice the size of the µDuino.
The µDuino is almost the opposite of what I’ve been calling “kitchen sink” boards. The market for microcontrollers and single board computers is rapidly changing, and manufacturers aren’t entirely sure how people are going to use their product. The response from many has been panic, and to “throw another radio on” to try and make their boards be all things to all people. That’s never going to work, instead they should be focusing on building small, simple, hardware tools that do a single job well.
On the face of it, this board seems to be doing just that. The µDuino uses smaller hole separation—1.27mm versus the normal 2.54mm spacing—to reduce its footprint, while still offering 15 digital and 6 analog I/O pins. The board works at 5V, and accepts up to 16V for power. While programming is via the attached micro USB connector.
My only real concern would be power consumption. While the µDuino is being advertised as being perfect for wearables, the ATmega32U4 at its heart is fairly power hungry as microcontrollers go. While a lot can be done to reduce that, it still might not be the best choice if you’re looking to run a project for a long time on a smaller battery.
The µDuino is raising now on Crowd Supply and can be picked up for $18, with free shipping inside the United States, or with $7 shipping to the rest of the world.