Octopus, a “tentacular” shield for Arduino and Fishino

Arduino boards and compatible alternatives are really easy use and o powerful, capable of making countless applications, but they suffer from two strong limitations: the relatively small program memory and the limited number of available outputs, especially when coming to PWM signals. For example, the Arduino / Fishino ONE has only six PWM outputs and, unless you generate the related signals via software (with considerable processor load), you can control one driver only, i.e. a single RGBW power LED or alternatively six monochromatic LEDs. This limitation becomes painfully evident when you want to drive more than 6 servo-motors with a single board: moving a “hexapod robot type”, which requires 12 servomotors, is impossible. Digital inputs and outputs are limited too; always talking about Arduino boards, we have a total of 13 digital I / O and 6 analog inputs (those can also be used as digital). The total number can be judged as sufficient for many uses, but you have to consider that many of these are used by onboard devices or by expansion shields. In practice, if you make a project with an Ethernet/WiFi shield, a SD memory, a serial port and some analog inputs, you have only six digital I / O left, that are often insufficient to medium complexity projects. For all these reasons we have decided to design an expansion shield, compatible with all Arduino boards and with our Fishino UNO (and Fishino Mega that we’ll launch soon) that almost without consuming hardware resources provides 16 PWM outputs and 16 additional digital inputs/outputs. In addition, you can connect up to 8 shields, giving Arduino up to 128 PWM and I/Os, that can be managed in a total transparent way by the user through a specific library.”

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