NOTE: This post applies to micro-controller projects using Arduino development boards. See the Arduino page for more info.
As the number of projects start to add up, so can the cost of the hardware. Each Arduino board costs $30 alone, and that does not include any other addon components. To keep costs down, wouldn’t it make sense to build a prototype on your expensive Arduino board, then build the final product using the bare minimum hardware?
The ATtiny84 from Atmel
I just heard about this inexpensive little chip from Atmel. Instead of paying for ALL of the I/O pins, USB functionality, etc in the Arduino (which is still useful for the development/debugging stage), you can directly wire up the interfaces you need to this little chip. I haven’t gotten to this point yet with my own projects, so my knowledge is limited for now. Check out the link below for some more info. As I learn more, I will add content to the Arduino page in my projects section.