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Windows News
Microsoft Debuts Software for Homebrew Gadget Builds

Hardware hackers building their own gadgets may want to take a look at a new offering from Microsoft that promises to save time in prototyping new devices: a software development platform for home-built gadgets, called .Net Gadgeteer.

".Net Gadgeteer utilizes the .Net Micro Framework to make writing code for your device as easy as writing a desktop, Web or Windows Phone application," Microsoft's newly launched Web site for the software explained.

Microsoft envisions the initial audience for .Net Gadgeteer to be educators, hobbyists and inventors. Hardware designers could also use the tool to rapidly build prototypes as well.

Gadgeteer provides a platform for writing software to control simple home-built electronic devices, made from Gadgeteer-compatible components.

Starting with a mainboard with an embedded processor, developers can assemble a device by adding sensors, displays, cameras, lights, switches, motor controllers and other components. Gadgeteer components will all have the same type of connector, eliminating the need for the soldering.

Developers can then write their code to run their creations in Visual Studio, using C# and the Gadgeteer plug-in software. Through Visual Studio's Intellisense feature, Gadgeteer adds a set of prompts that can help developers complete their code. The resulting control program can then be downloaded to the device by way of a USB connection to the mainboard.

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