.NET Gadgeteer looks to draw tinkering geeks away from Arduino

I have talked a bunch about some of the cool DIY stuff that I have seen around the web that geeks use Arduino to build. My favorite DIY stuff that people build using Arduino are robots like the Android mascot I mentioned a few weeks back. Microsoft Research has unveiled a new project that was created by the Sensors and Devices team called .NET Gadgeteer. The project was started after some of the folks inside the research area started looking for a faster way to come up with new products.

The research gang spent two man-years developing the SenseCam. After coming up with the .NET Gadgeteer they were able to develop a similar product in a matter of hours. The .NET Gadgeteer platform is a combination of flexible hardware and .NET-based software that allows users to create small gadgets in a few hours or less. The gang behind the project thinks it has great potential for fast device prototyping and it will be offered as a retail product.

The .NET Gadgeteer software is available as a download now and the retail hardware needed is up for pre-order at GHI Electronics. The system comes with a bunch of different modules that can be connected to give different functionalities. The modules allow the system to take photos, play sound, sense the environment, communicate with other devices, and interact wit the user. The kit also has USB ports for attaching to a computer. The pre-order kit sells for $249.95 and is called the FEZ Spider Starter Kit. Shipments are set to start on September 30.