Memory Stick Datalogger: Robotics Device of the Day

Device of the Day No Comments

Parallax has developed a “Memory Stick Datalogger“.  For $35, this little board takes 5V power and hosts a USB Type A (female) jack on one end and a row of pins providing both SPI and UART interfaces at the other end.  The idea is that you plug in a USB mass storage device, for instance a USB Flash drive, containing a FAT filesystem.  A microcontroller that speaks UART or SPI can then edit files on the USB drive using a DOS-like language.

This lets you write to cheap storage — $8 for a 1GB USB Flash stick these days — and access those same files from Windows or Linux from the filesystem level.  Cheaper devices, for instance Futurlec’s SD/MMC Mini Board ($7), let you read and write Flash memory in SD card form, but they require you to (a) speak the SD card language and (b) implement the FAT filesystem access yourself.  (Note: C libraries are available for both of these purposes.)

Since the USB mass storage language is standardized, you could probably connect a USB hard disk enclosure to the Memory Stick Datalogger to gain access to very large data storage areas.  The product manual is not clear on this point, however, and I haven’t had a chance to test compatibility with hard disks.