Field-programmable gate arrays – also known as FPGAs – are an exciting topic to be learning about nowadays. FPGAs have a unique ability to simulate just about any digital circuit out there, allowing you to program hardware characteristics using a combination of logic gates, multiplexers, and look-up tables. All these pieces make for a very intriguing board that is an excellent next step if you feel you’ve grown too comfortable with microcontroller-based projects. However, FPGA boards are historically pricier and far less user-friendly than its nearest competitor, the Arduino Uno. Fear not, however, because the STEPFPGA development board is available now to get your feet wet in this brand-new ocean of knowledge!
This FPGA is as user-friendly as can be without cutting down on all the elements that make an FPGA such a powerful tool. Featuring a Lattice MXO2-4000 FPGA, the board has built-in peripherals, including 2 7-segment displays, 2 RGB LEDs, 8 red LEDs, 4 pushbuttons, and 4 pull-up toggle switches. And to get you up and running even faster, there is a cloud-based IDE for programming the board, and some introductory projects like a fully electronic piano made with the board.
This development board is from EIM Technology, a Canadian tech startup. They ran a Kickstarter in June 2022 for the board and all the supporting material around it, be sure to visit the page to see what EIM Technology’s plans are! Their Tindie store is also filled with more polished workbench supplies, like this portable power supply.