Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio or Visual C# Express. This allows embedded and handheld devices to be built and programmed quickly and easily. .NET Gadgeteer was devised by the Sensors and Devices group at Microsoft Research Cambridge. Now, the open-source project is maintained by Microsoft and is intended to enable hardware designers to build and release .NET Gadgeteer-compatible products.
A .NET Gadgeteer system is composed of a mainboard containing an embedded processor and an array of modules which connect to the mainboard through a simple plug-and-play interface. There are lots of .NET Gadgeteer modules available today: display, camera, networking, storage, input controls, and more. A variety of hardware vendors are building components for .NET Gadgeteer. The first .NET Gadgeteer hardware – Fez Spider kit by GHI Electronics is also available now.
.NET Gadgeteer devices are programmed in C# using the .NET Micro Framework. .NET Micro Framework is an open source platform that expands the power and versatility of .NET to the world of small embedded applications. This allows developers to use their existing knowledge of .NET programming on the desktop, Web or phone to embedded devices.
With a modular hardware architecture and powerful software, .NET Gadgeteer allows even someone with little or no electronics background to build devices made up of components like sensors, lights, switches, displays, communications, motor controllers, and much more. It is a great tool for hobbyists as well as for educators and researchers to quickly develop prototypes.