The ESPLORA Joystick Photosensitive Sensor Board is a microcontroller board compatible with Arduino & derived from the Arduino Leonardo. The ESPLORA Joystick Photosensitive Sensor Board differs from all preceding Arduino boards in that it provides a number of built-in; ready-to-use set of onboard sensors for interaction.
It’s designed for people who want to get up and running with Arduino without having to learn about the electronics first. For a step-by-step introduction to the Esplora; check out the Getting Started with Esplora guide.
The ESPLORA Joystick Photosensitive Sensor Board has onboard sound and light outputs, and several input sensors; including a joystick, a slider, a temperature sensor, an accelerometer, a microphone, and a light sensor. It also has the potential to expand its capabilities with two Tinker-kit input and output connectors, and a socket for a color TFT LCD screen.
Like the Leonardo board, the ESPLORA Joystick Photosensitive Sensor Board uses an Atmega32U4 AVR microcontroller with 16 MHz crystal oscillator. And a micro USB connection capable of acting as a USB client device like a mouse or a keyboard. In the upper left corner of the board, there is a reset push button, that you can use to restart the board.
There are four status LEDs:
ON [green] indicates whether the board is receiving power supply
L [yellow] connect directly to the micro-controller, accessible through pin 13
RX and TX [yellow] indicates the data being transmit or receive over the USB communication
The board contains everything need to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable to get started. The Esplora has built-in USB communication; it can appear to a connected computer as a mouse or keyboard, in addition to a virtual (CDC) serial / COM port. This has other implications for the behavior of the board; these are detailed on the getting started page. You can find all the information you need to configure your board, use the Arduino Software (IDE); and start to tinker with coding and electronics.
Input and Output:
The design of the ESPLORA Joystick Photosensitive Sensor Board recalls traditional gamepad design with an analog joystick on the left and four push buttons on the right. The ESPLORA Joystick Photosensitive Sensor Board has the following onboard inputs and outputs :
Analog joystick with central push-button two axes (X and Y) and a center pushbutton.
4 push-buttons laid out in a diamond pattern.
Linear potentiometer slider near the bottom of the board.
Microphone for getting the loudness (amplitude) of the surrounding environment.
Light sensor for getting the brightness.
Temperature sensor reads the ambient temperature.
Three-axis accelerometer measures the board’s relation to gravity on three axes (X, Y, and Z).
The buzzer can produce square-waves.
RGB led bright LED with Red Green and Blue elements for color mixing.
2 TinkerKit Inputs to connect the TinkerKit sensor modules with the 3-pin connectors.
2 TinkerKit Outputs to connect the TinkerKit actuator modules with the 3-pin connectors.
TFT display connector for an optional color LCD screen; SD card, or other devices that use the SPI protocol.
In order to utilize the total number of available sensors, the board uses an analog multiplexer. This means a single analog input of the microcontroller is shared among all the input channels (except the 3-axis accelerometer). Four additional microcontroller pins choose which channel to read.
The Leonardo the ESPLORA Joystick Photosensitive Sensor Board has a number of facilities for communicating with a computer; another Arduino, or other micro-controllers. The ATmega32U4 provides serial (CDC) communication over USB and appears as a virtual com port software on the computer. The chip also acts as a full speed USB 2.0 device, using standard USB COM drivers. On Windows, a .inf file requires.
The Arduino software includes a serial monitor which allows simple textual data to be sent to and from the Arduino board. The RX and TX LEDs on the board will flash when data is transmitting via the USB connection to the computer. The ATmega32U4 also supports SPI communication, that access through the SPI library. The Esplora can appear as a generic keyboard and mouse and can be a program to control these input devices using the Keyboard and Mouse libraries.
The Esplora can be the program with the Arduino software (download). Select “Esplora” from the Tools > Board menu. For details, see the getting started page. The ATmega32U4 on the Esplora comes pre-burn with a boot-loader that allows you to upload new code to it without the use of an external hardware programmer.
It communicates using the AVR109 protocol. You can also bypass the bootloader and program the microcontroller through the ICSP (In-Circuit Serial Programming) header; see these instructions for details.
To facilitate writing sketches for the Esplora; there is a dedicated library that contains methods for reading the sensors and writing to the outputs onboard. The library offers high-level methods which provide pre-process data, like degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius from the temperature sensor. It also enables easy access to the outputs, like writing values to the RGB LED. Visit the Esplora library reference page to see the complete documentation of the library and examples.
Automatic (Software) Reset and Bootloader initiation :
Rather than requiring a physical press of the reset button before an upload; the Esplora is designing in a way that allows it to be reset by software running on a connected computer. The reset is trigger when the Esplora’s virtual (CDC) serial / COM port is open at 1200 baud and then close. When this happens, the processor will reset, breaking the USB connection to the computer (meaning that the virtual serial / COM port will disappear). After the processor resets, the boot-loader starts, remaining active for about 8 seconds. The boot-loader can also be initiate by pressing the reset button on the Esplora.
Note that when the board first powers up, it will jump straight to the user sketch; if present, rather than initiating the boot-loader. Because of the way the Esplora handles reset it’s best to let the Arduino software try to initiate the reset before uploading; especially if you are in the habit of pressing the reset button before uploading on other boards. If the software can’t reset the board you can always start the boot-loader by pressing the reset button on the board.
USB Overcurrent Protection :
The Esplora has a re-settable poly-fuse that protects your computer’s USB ports from shorts and over-current. Although most computers provide their own internal protection, the fuse provides an extra layer of protection. If more than 500 mA is applied to the USB port, the fuse will automatically break the connection until the short or overload is removed.
Physical Characteristics :
The maximum length and width of the Esplora PCB are 6.5 and 2.4 inches respectively, with the USB and TinkerKit connectors extending beyond the latter dimension. Four screw holes allow the board to be attached to a surface or case.
1 x ESPLORA Joystick Photosensitive Sensor Board Compatible with Arduino