One can divide modern microcomputers in two categories — designed for professional and for amateurs. Former are easy to connect, setup and use, but, as a rule, are not suited to use as embedded computers in professionally designed devices. Latter are being developed as embedded from the start, but because of that are not good for amateurs — even to power it on you need some kind of motherboard. We made an effort to combine strength of both categories in a single device — Black Swift board, make it convenient for professionals and easy to start with for amateurs.
With Black Swift it is easy to make your progress step by step — from the very first prototype made of existing modules and peripherals to your own hardware project, increasing complexity along with your growing experience in embedded electronics. It makes Black Swift an ideal platform not only for professional electronics engineers, but, for example, for programmers who want to learn a bit of electronics.
Black Swift does not require hardware programming device nor any kind of motherboard to start — nothing but regular 5 VDC power supply with at least 300 mA output and microUSB connector; any modern smartphone charger will do.
Just connect it to the board, and in a half a minute Black Swift will load, switch on its Wi-Fi adapter — and voila! You can change Black Swift settings and install additional software using Web-interface or command line with SSH client.
The easiest way to connect additional devices to the Black Swift board is to use second microUSB connector. Webcam, USB drive, soundcard, additional Wi-Fi or Bluetooth adapter — just connect it with regular USB-OTG adapter. OpenWRT OS already has all needed drivers for the most USB devices, so you can start using it literally in no time.
Not only USB devices, but sensors and control devices, be it buttons, relays, common temperature and humidity sensors, proximity sensor, even touch interfaces, are not any harder to use with Black Swift. The board has 26 general purpose I/O lines as well as UART, SPI and I²C interfaces support — using it you can connect external display, DAC or even the Arduino to use it under Black Swift's control.
All interfaces and power lines are available on standard 2-rows 1.27 mm connectors — so on the next step you can use the board with adapter to the more usual 2.54 mm connector (such type is used on Arduino, for example), solder wires directly to the Black Swift board or design your own motherboard with all peripherals you need.
Thanks to standard PLLD connectors, Black Swift is really undemanding to motherboard technology — be it factory produced double-sided PCB or something made with iron and laser printer. With Black Swift, even those who didn't have experince with modern electronics before will easly go all the way from breadboards to the very own devices, with the same computing module.
Black Swift comes with OpenWRT preinstalled — the most popular Linux-based OS for embedded devices. A lot of well-known programming languages are available for it — from C/C++ to PHP, Python and even Bash scripting. There's no need in additional hardware to upload your application or debug it — everything can be done over regular Wi-Fi network. You would not need any special IDE either — with Black Swift you can use anything you like, Notepad++ or Eclipse.
Huge OpenWRT worldwide community is here to make not only programming languages available to you from the start, but also tons of ready to use software, including databases and web services, allowing you to develop with Black Swift complex systems without spending unreasonable time and resources.