Breakout boards are simply misunderstood.
We’ve heard all sorts of ideas about what they might do, like let you interface Twine with all sorts of other devices, connect every possible sensor to Twine at once, end football huddles, and even make possible Twime travel. (Sorry.)
If you guessed A: let you interface Twine with all sorts of other devices, give yourself a gold star. That is indeed what breakout boards are for.
This is what one looks like:
Breakout boards have nice lever actuated connections for an input, power, and ground. These connections let you easily plug all sorts of outside things into your Twine.
They’re also pretty smart—-they have a built in identity so that Twine can remember your creation the next time you plug it in, and they also will protect your Twine against backwards connections, shorts, and most other things that could damage it.
To give you a simple example of what’s possible, let’s use the breakout board to build a light sensor.
Here are the parts we’re going to use, a light sensor, a resistor, and the breakout board. The light sensor and resistor are pretty generic items that you can get from a variety of electronics-type sources. If you’re following along at home, I got these from Digi-Key (digikey.com). The light sensor is part number 475-1081-ND and the resistor is part number CF14JT470RCT-ND. You should be able to get the pair for less than a dollar.
Let’s get to it!
First you’ll notice that the light sensor has leads with two different lengths. Stick the shorter one in the GND port, and the longer one into the IN port. Go ahead and push down on the GND lever to keep the sensor from falling out.
The two leads on the resistor are exactly the same. Plug one into the +3.3V (power) port and the other into the IN port. Lock down the other two levers and we’re done. Super easy!
Here’s your new light sensor. Now your Twine can measure ambient light in your space, or maybe use an extra laser pointer to rig up a tweeting laser trip wire!
Lots of things are possible using the breakout board, and we’re looking forward to sharing many more neat “recipes” in the near future.
-David for Supermechanical