A really exciting technological advance in recent years is that of embedded programming. This allows low cost, rapid prototyping (or low number production runs) with microprocessors. Harborne Computers has been involved in projects using both the mbed (based on NXP LPC1768 MCU) and the LPCXpresso (also based on the NXP LPC processors).
They provide a wide range of interfaces including built-in Ethernet, USB Host and Device, CAN, SPI, I2C, ADC, DAC, PWM and other I/O interfaces. Programs are written either using an online compiler (mbed) or a Windows IDE (LPCXpresso) and once compiled can be uploaded directly to the development board using a USB cable.
The type of applications that can be created is limitless - everything from a robot to more serious projects.
Specification: Create an electronic cricket scoreboard
One of the local cricket clubs was looking to overhaul a faulty mechanical scorebox with an electronic version. They wanted to be able to operate the scoreboard both when sat inside and from the other side of the cricket pitch.