Viper is a new open hardware project created by a team of developers coming from Fablab Pisa. The term Viper means "Viper Is Python Embedded in Realtime", that's a perfect summary of the project itself. It works replacing the conventional firmware of an open hardware board (Arduino Due, Spark Core or Udoo, at the moment) with a Python virtual machine. This is done directly from the Viper IDE: a simple ROM flashing that lets any Python developer create open hardware projects without learning a new programming language. No more Arduino sketches, just Pyhton scripts.

L'ambiente di sviluppo di Viper

Viper IDE

More in detail, the board firmware is replaced with a real-time embedded operating system (Chibios) running a Python 3 virtual machine. Pyhton scripts are developed for this virtual machine, so they can be used on any "Viperized" board. The Viper IDE comes with a rich set of libraries to natively support the most used hardware and software components: from Wi-Fi shields to network protocols (TCP, UDP, HTTP…), from generic sensors to cloud services for Internet of Things (Paraimpu and Carriots).

One of the most interesting sides of Viper project is not in its core but in two add-ons: the TOI Shield and the Viper App. The TOI Shield is an Arduino- and Spark-compatible shield: natively supported by Viper IDE, it integrates a dozen of widely used actuators and sensors, such as a touch sensor, an IR LED, a microphone, a light sensor and a temperature sensor. Combining the Viper software environment with this board, you get a complete package for a simple Pyhton open hardware project.

Il TOI Shield installato su Arduino Due e Spark Core

The TOI Shield, installed on an Arduino Due (left) and a Spark Core (right) board

The Viper App is a smartphone (Android and iOS) app designed to be the main - and very likely the only - user interface for your Viper-powered board, instead of "real" buttons and LCD displays. The Viper App interface can obviously be customized: the graphic part is an HTML client showing the templates integrated in the Python script of your project.

Viper is now on Kickstarter. The project's main components are virtually completed, funding will be used for the last development steps and to write a comprehensive documentation.


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