Python programming language: Pyboard D-series arrives for MicroPython robots

Low-power but high-priced Pyboard is now on sale for making Python-based robots.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The new Pyboard D-series micro-controller is now available for purchase at a rather hefty price of £43 ($56), offering developers a low-powered device for running programs created with MicroPython, a stripped-back version of the hugely popular Python 3 programming language.

The standout feature of the Pyboard is that it runs MicroPython on bare metal, making Python an operating system for running electronic projects on devices with as little as 16kB of RAM. 

The software and hardware is the brainchild of UK-based programmer and physicist Damian George, who launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 to bring to life micro-controllers for making tiny, low-powered robots that can bleep, flash and detect objects. 

Pyboard micro-controllers are aimed at developers who know Python, the world's third most popular language behind Java and JavaScript, which is sweeping the developer world right now. 

As opposed to the better-known $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W, which runs on Linux, Pyboards rely on MicroPython for operating system functionality and access to low-level hardware. 

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF)

The other major group of users to benefit from George's work on MicroPython are the one million UK students who received the Raspberry Pi-inspired BBC micro:bit.   

The new D-series board was unveiled at the FOSSDEM open-source conference in Europe in February without pricing details, which have been revealed now that it has become available for purchase.

The Pyboard D runs on a STM32F7 Cortex-M7 with 512kB of RAM, and 2MB of flash. It also features built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a connector for an attached 2.4GHz antenna, one micro USB port, and an LED with red, green, blue, and white colors.

It also features several GPIO expansion options including a 16-pin header, a 32-pin header, and two 40-pin WBUSA headers for connecting other developer boards, sensors and storage. Attachments offered by MicroPython include an LCD skin and an audio skin for recording and detecting sound.  

The board offers several options for controlling its behavior, including a Python REPL prompt after connecting the device to a PC via USB, remote script, from the built-in filesystem, and from the firmware. 


The standout feature of the Pyboard is that it runs MicroPython on bare metal.

Image: MicroPython.org

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