Arduino is a company that loves to explore new technologies and see if they can be used to improve the tools it makes for its users. Given that Python has been the most popular language for many users, we have been exploring the possibility of using it as an extension to our programming platforms. We are specifically looking at MicroPython which is a version of Python that runs on microcontrollers. OpenMV has been our partner, allowing us to port their computer vision-oriented virtual machine to some products. This also allowed us to do amazing stuff with the NiclaVision (for example).
We were able to expand on our initial experience and partner with Damien George (the creator of MicroPython) to port the official virtual machine to several Arduino products. Our code can be found here. It’s sure to be a hit!
One of our developers, Ubi de Feo, allowed us to test MicroPython with a class of students. We’ve learned a lot through that experience. We noticed, in particular, that it was difficult to find a simple cross-platform MicroPython IDE as intuitive as the original Arduino IDE.
We were fortunate to come across Murilo Polese’s work, who created a simple tool that we could adapt and use for teaching. We were so impressed by the results that we decided to work with him to create a tool for sharing with the community.
We are very happy to announce the Arduino Lab, a simple and cross-platform IDE for MicroPython. It supports any board that has a serial REPL interface, so it can also be used with non-Arduino motherboards.