Along came a spider... a .NET Gadgeteer FEZ Spider!

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Today's hardware project isn't Netduino (gasp... I know!). It's instead a project I've been monitoring for a while that with a recent "first commercial release" using it, I thought the time was ripe to finally post on it.

The project?

.NET Gadgeteer

Have you heard about .NET Gadgeteer?

.Net Gadgeteer is the powerful prototyping, cool hobbyist, unique teaching kit that was developed by the whizzes in Microsoft Research (yes – they like to play too). To learn more, check out a Channel 9 Video or simply watch the video below.

What is .NET Gadgeteer?

Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is a rapid prototyping platform for small electronic gadgets and embedded hardware devices. It combines the advantages of object-oriented programming, solderless assembly of electronics using a kit of hardware modules, and quick physical enclosure fabrication using computer-aided design.

Individual .NET Gadgeteer modules can be easily connected together to construct both simple and sophisticated devices. Each module adds some extra capabilities, such as the ability to display images, playback sounds, take pictures, sense the environment, communicate with other devices or enable user interaction.

The platform is built on the .NET Micro Framework, which allows small devices to be programmed in the C# language and make use of Visual Studio’s programming and debugging tools.


.NET Gadgeteer Live as an Open Source Project

Now it’s time to engage anyone interested in bringing .NET Gadgeteer compatible devices to market. We want to move as aggressively as possible on this so if you or anyone you know is potentially interested in building kits and modules, please contact us soon at We intend to be very active in our support of potential hardware partners.

Because it is not unheard of for corporations to put products out to pasture by Open Sourcing them, we need to be very clear that is not the case here. There continues to be active work in support of moving this system forward technically, in promoting our partners in their efforts, in engaging with educators to see that curriculum at various levels is developed, and more. We are developing a web site off of ( where we will continue to actively support our partners and end users as we have with the .NET Micro Framework. It actually isn’t at all hard to get people at Microsoft to even volunteer their spare time to work on this technology – it’s that cool.

So, anyone potentially interested in helping bring .NET Gadgeteer kits and modules to market, let’s hear from you now. Anyone interested in getting one of these kits – watch the web site for updates – hopefully coming very soon.

The Introduction of FEZ Spider, the first .Net Gadgeteer Compatible Device

GHI Electronics is proud to introduce the first .NET Gadgeteer compatible kit FEZ Spider Starter Kit, including the FEZ Spider Mainboard and numerous compatible Modules. FEZ Spider leverages EMX Module's advanced core features, including but not limited to, WiFi, PPP, USB thumb drive support, USB webcam support and RLP for loading native code. More information is found at

"As soon as we heard about Gadgeteer we saw the potential of the platform and we engaged with Microsoft to see how we could help bring it to market" said Gus, Engineering Manager at GHI Electronics. "We're excited to be one of the first partners in what we believe will quickly become a healthy ecosystem."

Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express. Gadgeteer combines the advantages of object-oriented programming, solderless assembly of electronics with a kit of peripherals, and support for quick form-factor construction using computer-aided design. This powerful combination allows embedded and handheld devices to be iteratively designed, built and programmed in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. Learn more at

FEZ Spider Starter Kit

FEZ Spider Starter Kit is the first commercially available .NET Gadgeteer-compatible kit. it includes everything necessary for educators, hobbyists and even professionals. Embedded development is fast & easy (FEZ) thanks to .NET Micro Framework, .NET Gadgeteer and the numerous GHI value added features such as WiFi and USB Host.

The kit includes:

FEZ Spider Mainboard is a .NET Gadgeteer-compatible mainboard based on GHI Electronics' EMX module. This makes FEZ Spider Mainboard the most feature-full .NET Gadgeteer compatible device in the market. It contains all of .NET Micro Framework core features and adds many exclusive features, such as USB host, WiFi and RLP (loading native code). All these features combine to provide a rapid prototyping platform.


Don't get me wrong, I think Netduino is awesome, but I've got a feeling you're going to be seeing more .NET Gadgeteer and/or FEZ based hardware posts here in the coming months... Smiley

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