Circuit Cellar, Luminary Micro, and Keil are running a design competition with $10,000 in prizes. Entering the contest will get you a free ARM microcontroller development kit and your entry may be published in the Circuit Cellar hobby electronics magazine. The kit includes a limited version of the Keil embedded software development tool. You can read the contest rules and find the entry forms here.
Update: Ohair commented that the free kits are gone. The contest was announced about a week ago so they must not have set aside very many kits. The kit is a great deal at $49. Read the full article to get the details.
The ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller development board is available from Mouser Electronics for $49 and is a great deal at that price. If you are an electronics or microcontroller hobbyist you may want this kit even if you don’t enter the competition. I could not wait for my entry to get approved so I went ahead and purchased one.
The board is powered over USB and includes an LED, Pot (A/D), push button and a very nice 96×16 pixel OLED graphics display. It is very small, the connector is a mini USB, the board is about the same size as an IPod Nano.
A nice extra you don’t normally see in a development kit. This board serves as a JTAG emulator for another board. Yes, you can use it as the JTAG interface to do development on your target hardware. The idea is that you play with the eval board then use it with your final hardware. Considering that a low cost JTAG unit cost more then $50, this is a great deal.
The USB interface also provides a serial port connected to the UART of the device. This makes it very nice for debugging during development. Bring up a terminal through the same interface your debugging with! You can do source level debugging and have the serial port running at the same time.
Several of my coworkers and I plan to do entries into the competition. We are having trouble deciding what projects to do. Any suggestions?