One of the most significant hurdles that custom hardware creators face is the prototyping stage. Prototypes are complicated, they’re messy, and they can be costly. Hexabits takes a unique approach to change that. It combines modularity and a touch of biomimicry.
As the name suggests, Hexabits are six-sided modules. They can be soldered together along the PCB edge to create larger assemblies that feel like a single board without the kind of time and effort associated with spinning your own boards during the prototyping process. Since PCBs are inherently horizontal in their design, Hexabits modules mimic this while still allowing for complex three-dimensional assemblies.
Five alpha modules are currently available on the Hexabits Tindie store, with plenty more options on the way. The coin cell and buck converter modules provide two different power options. The other three modules each includes their own low-power microcontroller. This allows creators to use the board on its own without any external hardware or connect them for module-to-module communications. Hexabits have a built-in Command Line Interface (CLI) that negates the need to write even a single line of code before getting started.
The modular design lends itself to massive scalability. The wired-mesh concept and inter-module communication mean that you have no limit on how many modules you want to link together. Arrays of 30+ modules are a possibility with the biological-inspired form factor and the Bitz Operating System (BOS). Even large arrays like these can still retain an organized and sleek design, thanks to the streamlined nature of the modules.
One of the alpha modules currently for sale on Tindie is the H09R00 Module. This is a solid state relay that drives AC loads up to 600V and 1.2A. It can be used as a stand-alone AC relay using the CLI, or it can be connected with other modules to form flat or curved PCBs.
For more on this innovative approach to hardware prototyping, check out Asaad Kaadan’s presentation from Hardware Developers Didactic Galactic (HDDG) meetup below and check out the Hackaday.io page for a few demo builds.