TI's MSP430 Launchpad: Budget Embedded

I recently ran across an ad for TI’s MSP430 Launchpad 16-bit embedded microcontroller kit. How did I miss this before now? $4.30 for a complete 16-bit microcontroller development kit? Needless to say, I ordered one. I probably should’ve ordered several. ;) Don’t get me wrong, I still love my trusty 8-bit AVRs, but for the price, you can’t go wrong. Surely you can find something to do with another micro?

Obviously, the price has a strong appeal here, but the true draw (pun intended) is the amazing power budget afforded by this micro. TI has posted several Youtube vids demonstrating the device running on things like grapes and potatoes, just to show off. Real-world applications might require more juice than that, but the MSP430 starts to make small-scale energy harvesting look practical. And this is what really starts capturing my imagination.

I’ve only barely begun to play with my Launchpad, having tested the various examples using each of the major toolchains available. So far, I’m impressed. For now, the Launchpad’s in the drawer, waiting for my next low-power / energy-harvesting application. What will it be?