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Videos / Our Adafruit Circuit Playground Express Overview

Adafruit has done it again with the new and improved Circuit Playground Express. This new version of the Circuit Playground is packed with even more sensors, and capacitive touch ready connection pads.

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Hi, this is Steven here from core electronics. I'm here today to talk to you about the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, it's a new board from Adafruit it's an upgrade on the Circuit Playground and it's a feature packboard, it's great for educators and I'm excited to show it to you so let's look.
So the board itself is a circular form factor which is great for a variety of projects it's good for if you want to use it as a wearable if you want to sew it onto something and the pins on the outside are all alligator clip friendly, so it means that you don't need to solder in order to interface the Circuit Playground Express with other sensors, you could just use alligator clips and when you're done you could take them off and the board is ready to be used for another project.
The pins on the outside, 7 of them are capacitive touch capable so they are able to detect if you touch them with your hand or if you touch a wire that's connected to them, on the board as well we have a microUSB port and that's what we use to load code onto the board and to communicate with the computer we have an on light that's on whenever it's powered so you know that the power is working and we have a digital communication red light that's on when it's communicating with the computer, we also have ten nonpixel RGB LEDs and these are capable of making any colour and they're addressable so you can make any light that you want to turn on any colour that you want, we have a temperature sensor, we have a sound sensor which is like a simple microphone, we have a speaker there's a light sensor, there are 2 MB of flash memory it has an arm Cortex-M0 processor and that runs it 48 MHz, so it's a pretty fast processor, we have an infrared transmitter and receiver so that means that you can make a project where the Circuit Playground Express works, let's say a TV remote or it's also capable of communicating with other Circuit Playgrounds Expresses over infrared or it could be used as a proximity sensor over top of the board itself, there are some buttons on the board there's a momentary press button A and B and there's a slide switch that can be selected left or right and those are ready to be utilized in your code on the board, we also have an accelerometer so that detects any movement that the board's undergoing so whether it's being leaned or turned upside down or shaken or free-falling those are things that you'd be able to detect with an accelerometer. So, there's a lot of sensors on the board there's a lot of options for projects that you could do just with the board alone.
Now the Circuit Playground Express is capable of being programmed three different ways the first is Arduino, the second is Make Code and the third is Circuit Python and I'll elaborate on those in a little bit. Most makers will already be familiar with Arduino, which is a great language to use. If you want to leverage the incredible amount of content that's already available out there, there are so many libraries made and there's such a force of people already out there programming in it that most problems that you might run into programming, there's somebody out there who knows the solution and that's great and you can really get down into some  high  processes of the board with Arduino.
Now for an educator though what I really recommend and what the thing that I'm really excited about with this board is Make Code which Make Code is a drag-and-drop interface, it's great for someone who may not have coated before or just learning the basics of coding and getting their head around the concepts but it's still capable enough to really make some complex programs. So, I'll just plug in this board I loaded a program on Make Code earlier and I'll let you guys see it so it's a pretty basic program where, when you press one button the lights on that side light up and you press a button the other lights light up and let me give it a shake they light up in a rainbow. So, this is a program that takes about five minutes and Make Code to make. So, one of the best things about Make Code it's all web browser-based so you don't need to install any software in order to run it you can run it on a tablet you can run it off your phone if you like this is the Make Code homepage will go to Circuit Playground Express and in here there's already a lot of available tutorials for projects you can make with the Circuit Playground Express and it breaks it down step-by-step what you need to do in order to make whatever it is that the tutorial is about.
So, we'll go into my example code as you can see, on the right-hand side is our workspace there's a menu in the middle where we select our operations and then there's a virtual Circuit Playground Express on the left with working buttons on it ,so you can you can basically test your code entirely within the browser without ever connecting your Circuit Playground Express to a computer or loading the code on to it and then once you see that it's all working on the computer you can load it onto your board for your project. So, just a quick rundown of how this code works we've got on the left here, a forever loop bracket and this is the button press operation part of the program we have a forever loop Brackett with wild conditions inside so the program will run through this forever loop continuously waiting for a button press and while the buttons pressed the red lights will turn on and you can change the colour of the lights if you want just with this colour wheel interface, so now they all light a pink and then it clear to turn them off when the button is not pressed anymore and on the right over here we have another loop that's continuously waiting for the board to be shaken and then it will show the rainbow animation for two seconds and then turn off and all this is just drag and drop it's really easy, only pieces that fit in the code will work in the blocks, so you can't make mistakes in the code while you're dragging the blocks around.
Another cool feature of it is that it the actual language that you're programming in with these blocks is JavaScript. So, you can click over to see what you've done in JavaScript which I think is a great educational tool to be able to see at the very least the programming language that you're making with the visual interface and you could type in here to write your code as well rather than use the blocks if that's what you wanted to do.
The third way to program the Circuit Playground Express is in Circuit Python so this is an example of the Circuit Python IDE which is where you program Circuit Python to put on your Circuit Playground Express. So, this example program is, making the 10 LEDs on the Circuit Playground Express light up then flash then show a rainbow then do the rainbow cycle effect, it's the same as when we shake the board. So, as you can see riding in Circuit Python is much more involved than the drag-and-drop Make Code interface but, it's more versatile you're capable of doing more things with in-Circuit Python and even though it may look a little intimidating at first it is a pretty good language to use.
So that wraps up my explanation of the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, it is a great tool for educators, it's great for makers there are so many possibilities with all these sensors on one board. If you want to know more check out our tutorials page there'll be more tutorials coming up on Make Code and Circuit Python for this Circuit Playground Express.
Thanks.

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