The Arduino Esplora is a ready-to-use, easy-to-hold controller that allows users to start experimenting with the device without having to worry about breadboards or soldering.
Shaped like a game controller, the Esplora is designed to be used right out of the box without extra parts, as it is already equipped with multiple sensors and actuators.
Essentially, the board combines an Arduino-compatible processor with a light sensor, a temperature sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer, a joystick, a set of pushbuttons, a slider, an RGB LED, and a buzzer.
The Esplora is also fully capable of emulating a mouse or keyboard, allowing devs or modders to create their own controller for musical software, 3D modeling tools, or even a word processor. It actually comes pre-programmed with a game controller script and can be plugged into a computer as soon as the box is opened.
"There is no limit to the applications you can program – amusing, educational, useful. You can even add a couple of extra sensors and actuators if you need them," an Arduino rep explained.
"In the near future, [we] will release a color LCD module that can be plugged on the Esplora to create your very own open source console."
It should be noted that although the Esplora is 100% Arduino software compatible, it doesn't provide Arduino Shield connectors, so can't directly be used with Arduino Shields.
Key specs include a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a micro USB connection, an ICSP header, reset button, 32 KB memory (with 4 KB used for the bootloader), 2.5 KB of SRAM and 1 KB of EEPROM (which can be read and written with the EEPROM library), analog joystick on the left and four pushbuttons on the right, microphone, temperature sensor and a three-axis accelerometer.
The Arduino Esplora will be available starting December 10, 2012 at a price point of 44.90 Euros, which works out to approximately $58.