Now that it has been open for window shopping for several days, I wanted to briefly explain to the community what TI was thinking when we decided to donate some of our Stellaris LaunchPad Evaluation Kits to FIRST Choice.
Like the product description says, the Stellaris LM4F120 LaunchPad is an evaluation kit for an ARM Cortex M4F based Microcontroller. What it doesn’t say, is how this is of any use to you, the FRC team.
With a simple flash of some new firmware, the LaunchPad can enumerate as a generic USB gamepad. In fact, we’ve written code that has it enumerate as a composite set of two gamepads. Having the LaunchPad enumerate as a gamepad makes it trivial to interface into your driver stations. To the driver station, the LaunchPad looks like any set of two plug and play gamepads or joysticks.
Additionally, we are working on a Breakout BoosterPack (an expansion board, like an Arduino shield) that breaks all the signals out to screw terminals that make it really easy to connect custom buttons, potentiometers, and other circuits.
So with the LaunchPad, Breakout BoosterPack, and the gamepad firmware, you will have access to:
[li]8 analog inputs [/li][LIST]
[li]X, Y, Z, and XRotation for each gamepad[/li][/ul]
[li]22 digital inputs[/li][ul]
[li]11 per gamepad[/li][/ul]
Please bear with us as we get more documentation online. We plan to have the BoosterPacks ready in distribution, a webpage with step by step instructions, the firmware ready for download, and a few other resources by the time (or soon after) FIRST Choice opens for purchasing.
In the future we will also be able to release the source code for the gamepad firmware. This gives you the opportunity to change how the gamepad works to better suit your needs. For example, one could connect motion sensors to the LaunchPad and modify the gamepad code to do some pre-processing before it sends the data over the gamepad data structure. Did somebody say power glove?
Stay tuned for more information!