After a long time of development we finally managed it and made tinkerforge.com public. We are very excited to see what follows next.
The first idea for Tinkerforge was born in 2008 where we were involved in the development of autonomous soccer robots. The handling of the hardware for these roboters was so hard, that the actual autonomous part of the development was neglected and the project was a failure, we didn’t win one match. After these experiences we were looking for hardware modules which are easily PC controllable, programmable with different programming languages and open source. After some research we could not find adequate hardware.
This idea laid the foundation for what would later become Tinkerforge. Together with the University of Paderborn we refined the idea and developed an application for the EXIST-Gründerstipendium, a grant for innovative startups, offered by the ESF and the European Union. To our surprise we won the grant with our idea of easy to use open source hardware. With this grant we were able to create the first prototypes.
Now, nearly two years later, after innumerable iterations of different board sizes, connector types and circuit board layouts we are proud to announce the first boards of our modular hardware family. To stay true to the open source development philosophy “release early, release often” we are going online with only a small subset of planned boards and available programming languages. We hope to receive early feedback that can be used to steer the further development in the right direction.
Currently it is possible to natively use C, C++, C#, Java and Python to control DC motors, stepper motors, servos, LCD character displays, relays and to sense ambient light, current, distance, humidity, temperature, voltage and to receive input from potis, joysticks as well as general purpose inputs.
This specific subset of modules and programming languages already is enough to tinker with and build a wide variety of projects. Nevertheless, support for many more programming languages is planned and we haven’t released all hardware modules of our first production yet. So stay tuned!