What Next?317In ClosingOtherControllersIf you want something more powerful, a BASIC Stamp is the logical next step after a PICAXE. the BASIC Stamp is so called because it originally looked like a postage stamp. The BASIC Stamp has a larger vocabulary of commands and a bigger range of add-on devices (including displays with graphical capability, and a little keyboard that is specifically designed for use with the controller). The BASIC Stamp is shown in Figure 5-149.On the downside, you’ll find that everything associated with the BASIC Stamp is a bit more expensive than in the PICAXE world, and the download procedure isn’t quite as simple. One of the more recent developments in the world of MCUs is the Arduino, which is both sophisticated and powerful. It does require programming in the C language. This language is a little more difficult to understand, and has only the vaguest similarity to the syntax that is used in the PICAXE and BASIC Stamp. On the other hand, because C dominates the larger world of comput-ing, learning it might not be such a bad idea—and the Arduino offers some truly amazing capabilities. Because it is so popular, there are also many soft-ware tools, documentation, user forums, and many enthusatic hobbyists to help you. Two other Make: Books titles that I mentioned previously, Getting Started with Arduino and Making Things Talk, provide a great introduction.In ClosingI believe that the purpose of an introductory book is to give you a taste of a wide range of possibilities, leaving you to decide for yourself what you want to explore next. Electronics is ideal for those of us who like to do things ourselves, because almost any application—from robotics, to radio-controlled aircraft, to telecommunications, to computing hardware—allows opportunities that we can explore at home, with limited resources. As you delve deeper into the areas of electronics that interest you most, I trust you’ll have a satisfying learning experience. But most of all, I hope you have lots of fun along the way.Figure 5-149. The BASIC Stamp controller consists of surface-mounted compo-nents on a platform that has pins spaced at 1/10-inch intervals, for insertion in a breadboard or perforated board. This component uses a version of BASIC that is similar to the programming language of the PICAXE, but has many more exten-sions. The BASIC Stamp is available for use with a wide range of peripheral devices, including many alphanumeric dot-matrix displays.