Today we’re going to compare two different ways of increasing the functionality of a system board: Pmods and shields. Those of you have that have been following the Digilent Blog know that Pmods are Digilent’s series of peripheral modules with 6-12 pins that can easily be connected to appropriate pins on a system board to provide extra functionality and include audio amplifiers, GPS receivers, USB to UART interface, seven-segment displays, accelerometers, H-bridges with input feedback, analog-to-digital converters, and much more. For the rest of you who have been in this sector of the electronics industry, you know that shields are a type of board that you can plug directly on top of your microcontroller in a nice pin-to-pin fashion for expanded functionality. Although you might suspect which of these two items I prefer, we’ll check out the advantages of both of them.
It is exciting to see all your posts and projects using Digilent products. This project posted by a Digilent user shows a step-by-step guide to using the Basic I/O Shield on the Blackberry 10 for remote temperature viewing and listening. There is also an earlier post in our blog about the I/O Shield and how cool it is. Check it out here!
The story behind the Analog Shield began with Dr. Gregory Kovacs, professor at Stanford University, who saw the successes his students had with the Arduino Uno and use that as a bridge into the world of analog electronics. However, the analog features on the Uno were limited and he needed to create a platform that would enable all of the concepts he wanted to teach on one platform. So when Dr. Gregory approached us and asked if we wanted to make his Analog Shield, we said, “Absolutely!”