Want a truly powerful device for interfacing with motors, sensors, lights, and more? CDM’s assistant editor and Web ninja Jaymis Loveday and I are both excited about the upcoming MAKE Controller Kit, built by MakingThings (of Teleo fame). MAKE has started taking preorders, and shipping should start in a few weeks. You might want to preorder early; this run could sell out given the rapid growth of MAKE Magazine. (If you’re not reading and you’re into DIY, run and get a subscription.)

MAKE Controller Kit

Why is it cool?

It’s 32-bit and much faster than even more-expensive competitors, it’s surprisingly cheap for its capabilities ($150), it’s open source, you can count on lots of documentation and examples from MAKE (well, certainly from me, if you bug me enough), and software for interfacing with Processing, Flash, Max/MSP/Jitter, Pd, and C/C++ is all included. That makes it both an incredible bargain and unusually versatile. And it’s great to see MakingThings, which had previously made proprietary hardware, go open source and publish their firmware, even if you never touch it.

The only real problem I can see with the Controller Kit is that it’s overkill for some jobs, larger because of its expanded I/O, and not likely the kind of thing you’d build yourself. There will still be a place for simple USB and MIDI sensor boards (hence we’re covering those today).

The current issue of Make Magazine has a great story on how the board came to be, the process of designing it, and the design goals.