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Gianluca Martino's Jolly Is a Drop-In Upgrade to Add Wi-Fi to Your Arduino Uno — and More

Gianluca Martino's Jolly Is a Drop-In Upgrade to Add Wi-Fi to Your Arduino Uno — and More


Arduino co-founder Gianluca Martino is back with something exciting for Arduino Uno fans: a drop-in upgrade, dubbed the Jolly, offering all the same capabilities plus integrated Wi-Fi connectivity.

"The extreme ease of use and low cost have made the Arduino Uno, and all compatible boards, the most widely used platforms for the creation of hundreds of thousands of projects and objects, involving an ever-growing community of hobbyists, students, enthusiasts, artists, programmers and professionals," Martino says of the development board he helped popularize.

"But nowadays, the necessary step forward for all owners of this type of platforms is to be able to use them via Wi-Fi. Wireless communication infinitely extends their potential and propels them into the new world of IoT [Internet of Things]."

That's where Jolly comes in. The Jolly module is designed as a drop-in replacement for the DIP-packaged Microchip ATmega328P found at the heart of an Arduino Uno: Simply prise out the original chip and slot the Jolly in its place to give the Uno Wi-Fi connectivity. Alternatively, the module can be used as a stand-alone device — when paired with a carrier board to break out its functionality, of course.

The compact Jolly board uses an ATmega328PB, a smaller surface-mount version of the DIP-packaged ATmega328P it replaces, with an Espressif ESP8285 providing Wi-Fi connectivity through an on-board chip antenna. The two chips communicate via SPI and UART, using the latter for data communication and the former for programming.

The board's design includes castellated pin headers, allowing it to accept male pins for installation into an Arduino Uno as a drop-in upgrade or to be surface-mounted on alternative carrier boards. A board definition in the Arduino IDE allows both microcontrollers to be programmed at the same time, with 2MB of flash provided for program storage.

"Thanks to our Jolly module, in case the Kickstarter [is] successful, it will be possible for all Arduino enthusiasts and Uno owners to bring existing projects to the next level, turning the historic Arduino Uno into a modern IoT board," Martino promises.

Production of the Jolly is to be funded via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter launching late February, though no pricing information was available at the time of writing. Those interested in the project can sign up to be notified when the campaign goes live on the Jolly website.

Note that this product is crowdfunded, and there is no guarantee you will receive it, no matter the best intentions of the creator. 

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