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Introducing .NET Gadgeteer!

Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio or Visual Studio Express. .NET Gadgeteer combines the advantages of object-oriented programming, solderless assembly of electronics with a kit of peripherals, and support for quick form-factor construction using computer-aided design. This powerful combination allows embedded and handheld devices to be iteratively designed, built and programmed in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. Here is a video description of the platform -

The .NET Gadgeteer project is an open collaboration between Microsoft, hardware manufactuers, and end users. This website is targeted at those interested in developing .NET Gadgeteer-compatible mainboards and modules. If you are interested in buying and using .NET Gadgeteer compatible hardware, have a look at our website at If you already have hardware and are looking for support or installers, then please visit the hardware vendor's website.

What can I find on this website?

This site is an open source repository for all aspects of the .NET Gadgeteer ecosystem. It is primarily intended to support hardware designers to build and release .NET Gadgeteer-compatible products, though we also expect the site to be useful for advanced end users who want to look at (and suggest changes to!) the core library and hardware sources/documentation.

The site includes source code and binary releases of the core .NET Gadgeteer libraries and templates, and detailed documentation on the hardware interface between mainboards and modules - these are maintained by Microsoft.

There are also software and hardware source files for .NET Gadgeteer compatible hardware modules (under $\Main\Modules in source control) and mainboards (under $\Main\Mainboards). While some of these are examples published by Microsoft (under the "MSR" subdirectory, short for "Microsoft Research"), others (under other subdirectory names) are maintained by individual hardware manufacturers and, except where expressly indicated, the contents of such subdirectories are not owned, maintained or released by Microsoft.

What is the history of this project?

.NET Gadgeteer started out in Microsoft Research Cambridge, where the Sensors and Devices group created it as a way to iterate quickly on device ideas. It quickly generated a great deal of interest from hobbyists, teachers and developers who wanted a platform that enables them to build exciting gadgets in a very short time. In order to get the project out of the lab and into the hands of others, we have set up this open source project to allow different hardware designers to create, build and provide .NET Gadgeteer-compatible mainboards and modules. For more details on the history of the project, check out this article.

Will Microsoft stay involved?

Let's deal with this question directly. It is not unheard of for corporations to open source technology while they walk away from it. This is not the case with .NET Gadgeteer. Just as we continue to make investments in the underlying .NET Micro Framework platform, we are planning continued support and investment in .NET Gadgeteer. In fact, we plan to be very proactive in helping partners get their products to market in the shortest time possible. In addition, we are maintaining the web site to support .NET Gadgeteer and to assist our partners in promoting their products to the user community. We plan to do what we can to develop an active ecosystem for .NET Gadgeteer where a number of companies are making compatible kits and modules for a variety of markets. For example, we will be hosting educational materials (lesson plans, etc) for a variety of ages on this site.

Who can I contact to ask questions about .NET Gadgeteer?

If you are an end user interested in getting .NET Gadgeteer hardware or have questions about existing hardware, please visit our end user website at If you have any questions about building hardware compatible with .NET Gadgeteer or about the Core libraries and templates provided on this website, please either use the our discussion forums to ask any questions, or contact us directly at

Open source license

The software source code available on this site is subject to the Apache License, version 2.0. All other files on this site, including hardware designs/source files and end user documentation, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. The copyright remains the property of the submitter for each file (or portion of a file/patch), and the respective licenses are provided by the copyright owners.

Last edited Apr 19, 2013 at 12:33 PM by JanKuceraMSFT, version 47