SparkFun's 2021 in Review

In lieu of our normal Friday Product Post, we are going to take some time today to take a look back at some of our favorite parts of 2021!

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As a reminder, SparkFun will be closed on Friday, December 31st. We will reopen at 9:00 a.m. MST on Monday, January 3rd. Happy New Year!

Another year, another look back at everything that has been accomplished over 52 weeks. Sure, it was another weird year, but I think (in my personal opinion) that it was leagues better than 2020 overall! Regardless, at Midnight tonight we will bid farewell to the 21st year of the second millennium and welcome in 2022! In celebration of the new year, we decided to take a look back at some of our favorite products, projects and tutorials. It's a bit surprising to think of everything that happened this year, so let's jump in and take a look back!

Find out some of the things SparkFun got up to in 2021

Rob joins us to show off all of our awesome projects for the year. If you want to look into any of the subjects he talked about, scroll down and look into them with greater detail!

You may recognize Elektor - we’ve partnered with them on a few things recently. What you may not know is that a while ago, we had a special meeting with the great folks at Elektor (in the Before Times, when you could grab an espresso in person), leading to us teaming up with them to create a SparkFun Edition of the popular magazine.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is a low-cost, high-performance microcontroller board with flexible digital interfaces. It features the RP2040, which marks Raspberry Pi's first microcontroller designed in-house. Pico provides minimal (yet flexible) external circuitry to support the RP2040 chip.

It's a colossal feat to have sent a rover to our neighbor, the big Red Planet, in search of whether life has ever existed on Mars. While the majority of the high-tech toolkit aboard the Perseverance rover is proprietary to NASA, there are also on-board projects that utilize new, open source hardware and software that are equally as available to everyday hackers as they are to NASA. The Ingenuity helicopter, which aims to demonstrate the first powered flight on Mars, especially utilizes open source technology.

The SparkFun 2D Barcode Scanner Breakout is a nifty little breakout board featuring the DE2120 barcode scanner module from DYScan. The DE2120 reads 20 different barcode symbologies (both 1D and 2D) using a camera coupled with on-board image processing to identify and decode everything from UPC codes to QR codes. The module also features two LEDs: one for illumination and one to project the red line that you're used to seeing from laser-based scanners.

Over the last year, we have endeavored to create the most affordable, yet highly accurate, real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning options currently available. SparkFun RTK Surveyors are enclosed and ready to use GNSS receivers for millimeter-level positioning - and the best part is, no programming required! We've created a page that explains the differences in each version and makes it easy to access popular RTK Surveyor resources.

MicroMod is a solderless, modular interface ecosystem that uses the M.2 standard to mix and match your choice of processor with specific Function Boards or stand-alone Carrier Boards. MicroMod Main Boards are specialized carrier boards that allow you to interface a MicroMod Processor Board alongside one or two Function Boards. Function Boards add a certain functionality to a Main Board.

With a clear view of the sky, the SparkFun Artemis Global Tracker (AGT) allows you to send and receive short data messages. Leveraging the Iridium satellite network, it works anywhere in the world, including the polar regions, far beyond the reach of WiFi and GSM networks. Maybe you want to transmit pressure, temperature or humidity readings from the top of a mountain? Or use it to send data from a traveling balloon sat? Or use it to control your remote equipment out in the field? Or receive alerts if your equipment is moved out of or into a geofenced area? Perhaps you need to communicate in an emergency, when other networks might not be available?

Earlier this year, we were excited to share a video by GreatScott! We've been fans of GreatScott! for a while, and we were thrilled to co-sponsor a video of his with Elektor showcasing the JetBot. If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out his review of our popular JetBot AI Robotics Kit.

Alie highlighted her crazy experience co-hosting the Arm DevSummit TV show and shares her can't miss sessions from the event.

Special thank to Alex Glow for the creation of the "DOOT!" button. It all started with our MicroMod boards and it really helped us lean into some bad silk to help us create our SkeleBoard this last Halloween!

Geeky Faye is a maker, artist, cosplayer, filmmaker, and more (Quite frankly we'll be surprised if there's something they can't do). And this year, they dove into the SparkFun Inventor's Kit!

There is so much more that we haven't been able to touch on and we compell you to look further into more of 2021's posts, projects, and products. Like Rob said, there is, literally, no way that we could have accomplished everything that we've done this year without you. Thank you!

Let us know what your highlights of the year were. What products, posts and tutorials did you love? What was your favorite Rob and Avra video? We'll see you next year, and thank you for your ongoing support! Here's to 2022!

Comments 1 comment

  • Member #134773 / about 2 years ago / 2

    I'll agree that SparkFun did a LOT in 2021, despite all the restrictions of the pandemic and its associated "supply chain" issues. I think I made more orders to SparkFun in 2021 than in any previous year! Thank you! I'm certainly looking forward to 2022, and hoping that the global chip shortage relents, so that we don't see the "latest and greatest" being sold out in minutes, often before we get home and read the e-mail notification that it is/was back in stock.

    I also want to say that I hope that everyone at SparkFun is safe from the wildfires of the last day or so -- if I recall my geography correctly, the fires have been south of Niwot. They've even been reported on by the BBC World News!

    Again, I wish all a safe and prosperous New Year!

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