Who are Adafruit Industries?
We are one of the UK's largest Adafruit distributors and stock a wide range of their products but there's much more to the company that than you might know. We're going to give you a little history on the company and tell you about some of their most notible products.
Adafruit was founded in in 2005 by LadyAda (Limor Fried) with the aim of creating electronics products for makers of all skill ranges and ages. Now based in New York Adafruit designs and manufactures almost all their products at their factory in the heart of NYC. The name comes from the Limor Frieds' online nickname "LadyAda" which is a reference to the Mathematician Ada Lovelace.
Adafruit have developed hundreds of products across the years including everyting from sensors and breakout boards to electronic ink and condictive thread. Within all these products there are some specific products and developments that stand out from the rest. Here's some of the most notible ones.
The Feather range are Arduino like boards with the same pinout and form factor that are able to be used standalone or stacked with other boards and sensors. They're named Feather becuase of their small size and weight but also becuase of how portable they are. In addition to the development boards Adafruit also offer a number of FetherWings, add-on boards which add additional functionality and sensors and can easily be stacked on Feathers.
Adafruit popularised the NeoPixel and DotStar types of addressable RGB LEDs with their easy to use libraries. These LEDs are chainable meaning you can control an almost endless amount with a single control signal. NeoPixel and DotStar LEDs come in all shapes and sizes, rings, strips, bar, matricies and more!
CircuitPython is a version of MicroPython designed by Adafruit to simplify and encourage learning their products. It makes getting started on projects even easier as only a text editor is required fir programming. With CircuitPython you can write clean and simple Python code to control hardware instead of having to use complex low-level languages like Arduino, C or C++. The simplicity of the Python programming language makes CircuitPython an excellent choice for beginners who are new to programming and hardware.
Our Favourite Adafruit Products
The Audio FX sound board WAV/OGG trigger with 2MB flash is small and portable, making it easy to embed in props or costumes and play sounds from the simple press of a button or any other trigger method you choose. It doesn't require any programming and is a low cost solution.
What's smaller than a Feather but larger than a Trinket? It's an Itsy Bitsy! Itsy Bitsy is only 1.4" long by 0.7" wide, but has 6 power pins, 6 analog & digital pins and 17 digital pins. It packs much of the same capability as an Arduino UNO. So it's great once you've finished up a prototype on a bigger Arduino, and want to make the project much smaller.
The I2S 3W Class D Amplifier Breakout - MAX98357A an all in one digital audio amp breakout board that works incredibly well with the Raspberry Pi! This is an easy and low cost way to push your digital sound files around. It takes standard I2S digital audio input and, not only decodes it into analog, but also amplifies it directly into a speaker.