Systems-on-a-Chip (ESP)

After the Arduino revolutionised mechatronics, the generation of inventors enabled by this platform grew to need more computing power than the Arduino’s modest capabilities.

The drawbacks of the original Arduino platform were:

  • Lack of any wireless communication (except a few expensive add-ons)
  • Limited storage space (under 32 Kilobytes on most models, as little as 8kB).

Meanwhile, a company named Espressif from Shenzhen, China, began making a series of low-cost microcontrollers with built-in WiFi. These were aimed at smart appliances (light bulbs, power switching, HVAC etc), and cost only a few dollars.

The Arduino movement quickly discovered these devices, and several groups began making Software Development Kits more friendly than Espressif’s own C-language SDK.

You can now programm the Espressif ESP range in

  • Processing (the Arduino’ C++-like language)
  • C
  • Javascript
  • Python
  • Lua
  • …and more.