Last Thursday, a friend of mine from days gone by contacted me and invited me to a meeting. I met my friend when I started consulting for Microsoft about 12 yerars ago when he and I were both working on the first 32-bit version of Visual Studio (code name: “Barracuda”). Today, my friend works in the SPOT tema at MS. SPOT stands for Smart Personal Object Technology and their goals is to bring “intelligence” to everyday things. The first intelligent thing is the MSN Direct watches manuafactured by Fossil and others.
For these watches, Microsoft created a Tiny version of the CLR called, of course, TinyCLR. This is a version of the CLR that is smaller than the desktop version and even smaller than the Compact Framework version. It is the really tiner version and MS is able to put the TinyCLR on an integrated circuit running an ARM processor. This is what is in the watches today. The watch also has an FM radio reciver in it and this is how it receives information over the air.
On Thursday, my friend, told me that MS was going to make the TinyCLR available as a microcontroller in Stamp form similar to the BASIC and Java Stamps that are available today. He gave me a demo where he wrote code in C# using Whidbey beta 1, downloaded the app to the TinyCLR Stamp on a circuit board connectged via serial cable to the PC and even used the Whidbey debugger to debug the code running on the stamp. I’ll get some pictures posted soon of the TinyCLR Stamp and the circuit board.
Suffice it to say, I’m pretty jazzed about this and I can’t wait to start playing around with it. I used to do electronics stuff when I was very, very young (like 10 years old) before I was introduced to computers. I’ve read all the documentation that comes with it so far and have downloaded some other documents from various web sites. This Monday, I leave for Devscovery Atlanta followed by a user group meeting in New York and some client visits (also in NY). So, I won’t be home for a while — the stamp will have to wait. I’m quite bummed. Maybe I’ll write an MSDN Magazine article about the stamp and embedded CLR programming some day soon.