If there’s one board, or perhaps company, that has defined the Maker Movement, DIY electronics revival, or whatever you want to call it, Arduino has to be at the top of the list. You might correctly point out that there is currently more than one entity that lays claim to the term “Arduino,” or that there are abundant clones available, but that style of development board has evolved into an amazing ecosystem that allows you to build all kinds of electronics easily and cheaply.
One of the greatest things about these boards is that the form factor of the Arduino Uno allows you to take advantage of numerous expansion shields. These can implement a prototyping area, accommodation for sensors, motors, and nearly anything you can think of. Even some non-Arduino boards are designed to take advantage of this form factor. On the other hand, the Arduino Nano provides nearly the same specs in a much smaller package, but doesn’t have the same shield support as the Uno.
If you would like to take advantage of the Uno’s tiny cousin, and need a way to connect everything, the Arduino Nano Breakout seen here looks like an excellent option. Pins are broken out into a series of pluggable connections, and the board is powered by a 12V DC source. 12V, 5V, or another external power supply can be used for outputs, and there is also an option for controlling up to 8 relays if you need that flexibility. According to the description, it’s suitable for “permanent or semi-permanent installations,” and with its easily swappable connections, system design, and especially maintenance should be much easier than poking around on a breadboard!