Home > Atmel AVR, Hardware, Video > The “One Dollar Board” Project Aims to Teach Electronics in Developing Countries (Crowdfunding)

The “One Dollar Board” Project Aims to Teach Electronics in Developing Countries (Crowdfunding)

I’ve already tried a one dollar board based on STM8s in the past, but it required a separate STLink debugger, installing a toolchain, and a few other steps. The “One Dollar Board” project, born in Brazil, has different objectives, as it aims to provide an easy way for pupils around the world to getting started with electronics, by simply connecting it to the USB port of a computer or board capable of running the Arduino IDE, and following the instructions printed on the board.


One Dollar Board specifications:

  • MCU – 8-bit MCU (likely Atmel AVR) with 8 KB flash
  • 6x GPIO (input and output ports)
  • USB – 1x USB port for power and programming
  • Misc – 2x LEDs, reset button
  • Expansion – Spaces for Wifi ESP8266, Atmel 24C256 serial EEPROM (256 KB), and L293 Driver motor (unclear where though)
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB
  • Dimensions – Compatible with Arduino UNO

You can see all 8-step instructions on the board. The URL achestnut.org shown in steps 1 & 2 does not work, and onedb.cc & onedollarboard.com redirect to the Indiegogo page so I guess it’s still work in progress. But the video below explains how this is supposed to work.

The board will be open source hardware, and released under a Creative Common license.

The project has now been launched on Indiegogo with a $50,000 funding target. You can indeed get the board for $1, but shipping adds $3, but it might be worth getting larger quantities, as $25 will get you 25 boards for just $6 extra for shipping. You may also pledge to donate boards to an NGO of your choose, and company can sponsor the project by getting their Logo printed on the board for $5000. Delivery is planned during October to November 2016. More details can also be found on OneDollarBoard.org (registration by email or Facebook required).

Via Sistemas Embarcados

  1. May 13th, 2016 at 11:45 | #1

    Thanks. This is amazing.

  2. Pababa
    May 13th, 2016 at 16:09 | #2

    This is strange project.
    About board – information 1%.
    99% – only video with strange people

  3. May 13th, 2016 at 18:01 | #3

    My, name is Claudio, and I am idealizing the project.
    What important information would be placed to increase 99%?
    We want to revolutionize education, creating an electronic teaching programming and electronics, as cheap as a draft, notebook board. That need and seen, when people of my country, Brazil and Africa, there are people who want to teach, but do not have money to buy Arduinos normally.

  4. May 13th, 2016 at 19:19 | #4

    Bluepill stm32 with USB stack is 2USD on aliexpress:


    Now there might be a need for a resistor to enable the USB bootloader.

    • Occam
      May 14th, 2016 at 01:37 | #5

      WTF? The MCU ALONE is $2.05 QTY 10K

  5. Pababa
    May 13th, 2016 at 20:10 | #6

    @Claudio Olmedo
    Demo, demo, demo…
    Demo IDE, Demo projects, demo boards for testers

    Now we see only words, words, words…

    P.S. “Delivery is planned during October to November 2016”
    This is high tech ? Space technology and this board need half-year for manufacturing ???

  6. May 13th, 2016 at 23:11 | #7

    It seems to be based on Attiny85:


    “- It can be used for various purposes? Yes, from an educational purpose, such as the development of small educational projects, the development of a robot controlled by wi-fi, or as a final product, becoming the cheaper Attyny85 microcontroller of the market.”

    So probably vusb based. Don’t know how much space will be left for actual code after vusb.

  7. theguyuk
  8. TC
    May 14th, 2016 at 02:59 | #9

    probably At85 with Nucleous…

  9. Iridiumsat
    May 14th, 2016 at 08:22 | #10

    I wonder if a child had this $1 board, then how could they get started to program this board without spending another $200+ laptop.

    Because this project focusing on child and I think they do not own any laptop.

    But this is a good starting point.

    Ps: I guess a closet schematic should be this one =>

  10. May 14th, 2016 at 09:19 | #11

    @Claudio Olmedo
    There’s also some info that you’d expect to find easily, but it’s missing or not accessible.

    1. I could not find any full pictures of the board, so I had to take a screenshot in the video
    2. You have expansion ports, but there are not documented.
    3. “Spaces for ESP8266, EEPROM and motor control driver”. Good, but it’s unclear where that is. For example ESP-01 module has 8-pin header, but there’s nothing on the board for that.
    4. Even though it’s still early stage of development, there’s no documentation at all that I could find, the exact MCU is not even part of the specs.
    5. Some early demo, source code on github would be nice.
    6. Most of your websites either doe not work or redirect to Indiegogo, and the one that works requires login with Facebook or email.

  11. May 14th, 2016 at 10:47 | #12

    Some companies sell refurbished $99 laptops and $79 desktop PC to NGOs: http://interconnection.org/get_form.php
    Alternatively they should be able get a low cost Linux development board, a display, keyboard and mouse for under $100.

  12. May 14th, 2016 at 10:53 | #13

    Alternatively, I’ve read people comment that such boards must work with cheap smartphones to be useful, because that’s what they have in developing countries. So if the phones support USB OTG, and run https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=name.antonsmirnov.android.arduinodroid2&hl=en it could also be an option. I reckon it’s not that convenient to program one a smartphone screen.

    • Iridiumsat
      May 15th, 2016 at 21:35 | #14


      That’s interesting solution than using laptop.But it’s not easy to coding on smartphone, let’s see who’s gonna push out better idea.

  13. Theguyuk
    May 16th, 2016 at 17:41 | #15

    If you go back to the Arduino clones I mentioned earlier then you can program them from a Android TV box with a app store app.

    I have used a amlogic S905 2gb TV box but even they cost money. I did the blink programme to flash LED on Arduino.

    Maybe they could share school PC ?

    It is a problem that a $1.00 board needs a $30 dollar programming device. A Orange Pi or Nano Pi might be better value, less adaptors needed than a Raspberry Pi and GPIO already populated ?

  14. May 18th, 2016 at 16:13 | #16

    I’ve just come across instructions to program ESP8266 with LUA using a smartphone @ http://www.instructables.com/id/IoT-Development-With-Mobile-Directly/

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