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Check Out Kit Close-up on Electronic Design

Jan. 11, 2022
Our Kit Close-up video series highlights some of the latest development platforms available to engineers.

Check out our Kit Close-up videos.

Many years ago, when I started working on electronic projects, there was Radio Shack and Heathkit. Most semiconductor vendors, though, didn’t have kits to simplify evaluation and development. Building up a computer from scratch involved dealing with a rack and a bunch of boards. These days, a new chip or sensor isn’t released unless a development kit is at least on the drawing board and in the marketing timeline.

It's also interesting to note how kits have progressed from large boxes with documentation, diskettes, boards, cables, and power supplies to a box that often holds a slip of paper and a circuit board. Power is provided by USB cables that you often need to provide on your own; documentation and software are downloaded from the cloud. Sometimes the software runs in the cloud.

Alix Paultre, our Editor-at-Large, came up with the Kit Close-up video review idea and has created most of these videos so far (see figure). They’re short and sweet with links where you can get more details about the kits we present. I’ve highlighted kits in the Lab Bench column for years, but video adds a whole new dimension. Of course, you will have to watch them online using your PC, tablet, or smartphone.

Way back, when I was Director of PC Labs for PC Magazine, we would have a yearly issue that involved testing every printer we could get our hands on. Moving hundreds of printers through the labs so that editors could test them was a logistics nightmare, but one that always made for good reading.

It was almost practical to hit most of the products on the market. However, these days, the number of kits from one vendor often exceed the number of printers we had in the printer issue. Likewise, our bandwidth for looking at kits is much more limited. Therefore, we tend to cherry-pick the kits we review with the intent of providing you with exposure to new technologies and solutions that will pique your interest.

On the plus side, the latest kits have much more documentation, often with multiple training and review videos on the internet. Typically, the paper that comes in a kit just has a few URLs.

We are posting Kit Close-up videos on a regular basis, so stop by and give them a view.

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