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Ultimate Christmas 2021 Shopping Guide: 10 Surprising Gift Ideas for All Budgets

ST announced its acquisition of Exagan and launched other members of its MASTERGAN family.

ST Shopping GiftsShopping for loved ones can be tricky, so here’s our 2021 shopping guide edition. Indeed, Supply chain issues, a global pandemic, and longer shipping delays can put a damper on holiday cheer. Hence, here are a few ideas to brighten your season. Regardless of the celebration or budget, there’ll be a little something for a special someone.

Below $10

Online Course – Embedded Systems Essentials with Arm: Get Practical with Hardware

There are few gifts in this 2021 shopping guide as precious as the gift of learning. In 2021, ST and Arm partnered on an edX course covering the fundamentals of embedded systems using a NUCLEO-F401RE. The class is free to audit and can help anyone wishing to learn more about microcontrollers, sensors, and real-time operating systems, among other things. The course uses practical and real-world examples thanks to a hardware kit (about $70) put together with ST. However, those that only want to audit the course may do so without the hardware kit at first. Hence, while the course is free, the benefits could be priceless in the age of IoT.

LDO Sample Kit

The LDO Sample Kit in a 2021 shopping guide may surprise some until they realize that the development bundle is entirely free. Indeed, as long as users send an application to Future Electronics, they can receive the kit at no cost. ST limited the first set of LDO Sample Kits to 500 units to provide a unique experience to engineers. The purpose of the bundle is thus to offer teams a way to experiment with LDOs while creating relations with manufacturers and distributors. It’s a ticket to the wonderful world of embedded systems. Hence, managers looking to acknowledge their more experienced engineers can use the LDO Sample Kit to gift much more than the included 18 LDOs.

One IOTA

At the time of writing, one IOTA only cost $1.35. However, unlike Bitcoins, the cryptocurrency doesn’t rest on a central ledger. Its purpose is not to facilitate monetary transactions but to simplify machine-to-machine communication for the Internet of Things. Hence, offering one IOTA is a tongue-in-cheek way of introducing a loved one to a completely different cryptocurrency. Indeed, one Bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy as 600 million IOTA transactions, making the latter far more environmentally friendly than the popular coin. ST also offers the X-CUBE-IOTA1 2.1 software package to help developers write their first application using IOTA.

ST Gift Ideas Budgets
Working on embedded systems

Below $100

GaN Charger

2021 was a crucial year for Gallium Nitride as the material penetrated all markets. ST announced its acquisition of Exagan and launched other members of its MASTERGAN family. As a result, we see more and more chargers for smartphones and laptops using ST’s power devices. And while we can’t always say who uses our products, we wholeheartedly recommend the technology in our 2021 shopping guide. A GaN power device vastly increases efficiency and promotes fast charging, which helps the environment. Hence, a GaN charger is a gift to a loved one and the planet.

NFC Tag Bag

Shopping for the geekiest family member can be challenging, but the ST25-TAG-BAG-UB remains a favorite in this 2021 shopping guide. The kit is very affordable ($21) and contains 21 NFC tags to experiment with. There are some Type 5 and Type 4 devices. Some models include tamper-resistant measures, while others look like business cards. To start programming the tags in seconds, users need to download the free ST mobile app. We even have a tutorial for iOS developers looking to create an App Clip.

GaN Charger
A Small GaN charger

Below $1,000

Edukit

Another fun gift for the more technically savvy is the Edukit (STEVAL-EDUKIT01), the first free-swinging pendulum designed to teach a university course on motor control and control system design. The kit is less than $180 and serves as a lab. Moreover, ST offers learning materials around the Edukit for free on our Educational Platforms. We also have an unboxing and assembly video of the kit to start on the right foot. Motor control can be a complex concept to grasp. Offering the Edukit can lead to a far greater understanding of the field and open new professional and personal doors for those looking to explore this field of study.

Phantom by Paco Rabanne

Phantom is the first connected fragrance in the world and one of the trendiest gifts in our 2021 shopping guide. The newest creation by the famous designer Paco Rabanne, the perfume is unique because its bottle contains an ST NFC tag. The device, at the top of the robot’s head, leads users to a world of features. After consumers scan the tag with their phones, they are directed to Paco Rabanne’s dedicated website. The service offers music playlists and social media assets. As a result, users immerse themselves in Phantom’s world and become influencers in their communities.

Cafitesse Excellence Compact Touch Coffee Machine

If a coffee machine is always appreciated, one with a thoughtful graphical user interface can make a world of difference. For instance, the Cafitesse Excellent Compact Touch uses an STM32F767 to display the UI on a 7-inch display (800 x 400). PsiControl, a German company, used TouchGFX to design the main GUI element and offer a foundation on which JDE could quickly build upon. PsiControl even shared how they used the JPEG decoder to load assets faster. The machine may be hard to find, but we thought it still deserved an entry in our 2021 shopping guide.

Raven Remote Flash Controller from Fusion TLC

The Raven from Fusion TLC is a unique wireless flash controller. What makes the device special is its universality and graphical user interface. Compatible with all major flash brands, the Raven used TouchGFX to offer rich graphics and new features that use its 1.4-inch OLED display. For instance, Sync View displays a graph showing when a flash is on compared to when the shutter opens and closes. Professional photographers can thus determine if they are using their flash appropriately.

Cafitesse Excellence Compact Touch Coffee Machine
Cafitesse Excellence Compact Touch Coffee Machine

Above $1,000

Electric Vehicle

As ST celebrated 25 years of Silicon Carbide, we were reminded of the materials’ importance in electric vehicles. Whether we are talking about cars, or scooters, and other forms of micromobility, SiC enables the creation of significantly more efficient traction inverters or DC-DC converters, among others. Additionally, the material also means the advent of more affordable solutions for all sorts of EVs. Hence, as the world slowly reopens from the pandemic, it is more critical than ever in this 2021 shopping guide to be mindful of our trips’ impacts on the environment and others.

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