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The Pololu A-Star microcontroller boards are general-purpose programmable modules based on Atmel AVR microcontrollers. A USB interface and preloaded Arduino-compatible bootloader on each A* makes it easy to get started programming them.
The Pololu P-Star microcontroller boards are general-purpose programmable modules based on Microchip’s PIC18F25K50 and PIC18F45K50 microcontrollers. Each P* ships preloaded with a USB bootloader, so no external programmer is required.
Arduino is an open-source, AVR-based electronics prototyping platform that can be used for a wide range of projects and is easy-to-use. It is intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. These development boards are a good entry point for people new to embedded programming.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer with an ARM processor that can run Linux, providing an affordable platform for experimentation and education in computer programming.
These robot controllers are complete control solutions for small and medium robots or similar projects. Their features include user-programmable microcontrollers and multiple H-bridges for direct control of DC motors.
The Pololu Wixel is a general-purpose programmable module featuring a 2.4 GHz radio and USB. You can write your own software or load precompiled, open-source apps onto it, turning it into a wireless serial link, data logger, or whatever you need for your current project.
The mbed microcontrollers are a series of ARM-based development boards designed for fast and easy prototyping. They are packaged in a breadboard-friendly 40-pin DIP form factor. An online compiler and a USB drag-and-drop programming interface make it simple to get started with mbed development.
The BASIC Stamp from Parallax is a great way to get started with embedded systems. It uses a simple programming language, PBASIC, and many educational resources are available for this well-proven microcontroller, making it a good choice for beginners.