The GP-3 is a powerful board that you can use with or without a PC to do many physical computing tasks. I’ve talked about this board several times in this blog including and this .
The boards are currently . This is a great chance to pick up one or more for your next project.
The original purpose for this board was to act as an I/O device for a host computer (typically a PC). An efficient serial protocol (you can use a USB adapter) allows you to read analog voltages (5 channels of 10 bit A/D), output PWM, create and read pulses accurately, and control 8 bits of digital I/O. Library support is available for nearly any language. There are ActiveX and DLL libraries that you can use from C#, C++, Visual Basic, and many other Windows languages (for example, there’s a demo that uses the board with Microsoft Excel). There’s also a generic C library that works with Linux and most other platforms too.
With the free software, you can do many tasks (like the robot example above) using no programming at all. Better still once you have a script built using GP3EZ’s easy-to-use interface, you can “compile” the script down to the board and it will run without the PC until you reprogram it. In fact, things like timing become more accurate after you compile since the PC is notoriously bad at keeping time on small scales.
These boards aren’t on sale often, so pick one up while they are. Once you have simple I/O on your PC, you’d be surprised how handy it is. And since the GP3EZ scripts can run without a PC, using just one somewhere to replace a PC in a control application will save a bundle.