Making the change from your favorite 8-bit microcontroller to an ARM chip can be quite a daunting experience. There is such a large amount of information out there on ARM devices it is a little tricky to sort through it all when all you want is to learn how to get an LED blinking.
The FemtoUSB board designed by Femto.Io aims to make the hardware side of this process as pain-free as possible. This tiny PCB contains an Atmel SAM D21 ARM chip which is the same chip used on the Arduino Zero. It can accept a supply voltage up to 10V thanks to the on-board voltage regulator making it easier to use with battery-powered projects.
Even with the hardware solved, there’s an ARM learning curve when it comes to compiling a tool-chain, programming with the JTAG protocol, and getting used to there being less widespread community support compared with some of the 8-bit devices. Thankfully Femto.io has an in-depth getting started guide in their documentation section which will guide you through the steps necessary to get an LED flashing on your board. The current version of the FemtoUSB is 1.0.1 which includes Arduino support, USB Host capabilities and an on board RGB LED + push button. More than enough to play with for your first ARM project!