What's this... another modular maker kit? Correct, the Modulo system made by Modulo Labs consists of a series of circuit boards that plug together and can work in both the Raspberry Pi and Arduino environment. Each of the boards has its own built-in an ATtiny841 controller which interfaces to the sensor or output device on the board and handles communication with the main controller board which is fitted with an ATmega32U4. The boards plug neatly into the ‘Modulo Base Unit’. A Spark Base option allows the Spark Core, Arduino-compatible Wi-Fi development board to be substituted for the main controller board.

The controller is Arduino-compatible and has six I/O ports that can sense digital or analog inputs. Four of the six ports can even be used to produce PWM signals or to control servos. The controller can also act as a USB bridge allowing the modules to be controlled from Python using an external computer or Raspberry Pi. So far the system modules include an illuminated push-button knob, a color OLED display, a thumb joystick, a motor driver, a temperature probe and I/O and extension cables.

Each base has connectors for four modules but bases can also be daisy-chained for more complex projects. There are some practical examples of the system shown on their Kickstarter page including an automatic fish feeder, a garden watering system and a robotic tea maker! Erin Tomson is the creator and principal architect of Modulo. She previously worked at Pixar Animation Studios for over 12 years, contributing to Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille before joining Pixar’s internal software group.