If, like me, you’re a bit of a geek and you enjoyed playing with LEGO as a kid, .NET Gadgeteer could be the perfect Christmas gift. It’s an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices like digital cameras or mini-robots, using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express.
It lets you build gadgets using components such as a digital camera, a small mainboard, sensors and even LCD touchscreens. It’s modular with common plug-and-play interfaces so you can connect different components together.
You can buy starter kits for under £200 that and the software development tools are free to download. There are many different hardware components from a range of manufacturers. There are even downloadable specifications for cases, such as a camera case, that you can send to 3D printers to build housings for your new gadgets.
Be good, write a nice letter to Santa or visit: http://netmf.com/gadgeteer
By Tim Cozze-Young
Microsoft UK Enterprise Team