Parallax and Radio Shack have got together to market a very good package: A Basic Stamp prototype board, an instruction book, and a pile of electrical parts. A 'stamp' is a Microchip PIC based board that runs BASIC programs written and compiled on a PC then 'programmed' into the stamp module via a serial port cable. The board features 9V battery power, 16 I/O lines, and a small proto board area for no-solder circuit assembly.

The manual and the parts take you thru using a microcontroller to drive LEDs, to read switches, run a 7-segment display, play songs thru a speaker a la cell phone ring tones, and run a servo motor. The parts for these experiments are all in the box.

The good news is the whole package is 79 bucks, available from select stores or by mail order.

More info here
Posted on 2004-02-18 09:17:04 by Ernie
Iamma buy one of these for my boy (he's 11)
Posted on 2004-02-18 22:26:39 by Homer
I think that's how they spell it and they cost a good bit more then the PICS. I wouldn't want to become dependent on them. It seems they come up with all kinds of schemes to try to get you to buy them. Digi-key has a litle robot kit with the STAMP. I'd like to buy the robot and put a PIC in it then post an article just to tweak them.
Posted on 2004-02-21 10:35:46 by mrgone
The stamp is based on a PIC Microcontroller, the token interpeter/IO driver/RS232 interface IS a PIC.

So anything you can do with a Stamp can be done with a PIC, but your proof of concept will be faster with a stamp.

Once you get it working you can re-code to assembly and add in just the PIC instead of the Stamp.
Posted on 2004-02-21 13:44:46 by Ernie