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THE CHAOS BOARD: Smaller, Faster and Way, Way Cooler

24 Jun 2015
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At Chaotic Moon Studios, if something we need doesn’t exist, well…we make it ourselves.

Our latest effort? The Chaos Board, a microcontroller that’s smaller, faster and—if we do say so ourselves—a hell of a lot cooler than the ones on the market today.

“We discovered that for the projects we were working on and the things we were building, there was nothing on the market that catered to our needs,” creative technologist Eric Schneider said, “so we built it.”

The first iteration of the Chaos Board, which incorporates a Atmel’s Atmega 328P chip, has been customized to incorporate all the features and functions needed to serve as the “brain” behind Chaotic Moon projects—all integrated into a sleek board that is one-third of the size of those the BASE team was using before.

“We took the original designs found in the Arduino Uno and streamlined it all,” Schneider explained. “By doing away with the USB out and dropping the size of several of the components, we were able to shrink the overall board down to one-third the size of the original. This gave way for a routing headache, however, because many of the SMD components had to route through through holes in order to drop the route down a layer on the PCB.”

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The Chaos Board, as seen from Schneider’s illustration

And not only will this serve as an all-in-one device and simplify efforts on the creation side of things, but it will also eliminate steps and save time, allowing BASE to work more efficiently and effectively than ever.

“Before we were buying several different boards off the shelf that served different purposes,” BASE co-manager Eric Bee said,” like the Arduino Uno, the Leonardo and the Pro Micro. Now we don’t have to order and wait on new hardware or another chipset. We’re not limited, and this lets us focus on new, more exciting projects and possibilities.”

As previously mentioned, this is the first version of The Chaos Board, and the BASE team has big plans for future iterations.

“In the next version, we will be shrinking the components further,” Schneider said, “doing away with many of the through-hole components, resorting to SMD, and pulling the voltage regulator, which will lose the two capacitors that come with it.”

It’s also worth noting that the Chaos Board isn’t just one-third the size of the Arduino Uno, but if it were to hit the market, it would also be sold for one-third of the price—and we’re only getting started.

“It’s only going to get smaller and faster as we iterate,” creative technologist Matthew Murray finished. “This is just the beginning.”