The current market offers some solutions to these problems but the situation is still very fragmented and developing an expansion board for a platform often precludes the option of using for others.
In the industrial sector the preferred architecture is the backplane one, where several expansion boards can be installed on a single main bus board.
Today there are many types of industrial backplane buses, from the simpler ones to the most complex ones.
Many Industrial grade backplanes are designed to achieve maximum performances at the expense of extremely complex configuration efforts and very high cost. Several of these are moreover propietary and “closed source” so you cannot develop your boards for these.
Arduino, Raspberry and the others have already showed us that in many scenarios simplicity, lower cost and open source approach win over extreme performance.
YABA is born to offer a mid-range alternative that fits between inexpensive but-hard-to-assembly boards and their expensive industrial big brothers.
The innovation characterizing YABA is the choice of a bus type that offers simplicity, reliability, wide usage, availability of support and last but not least performances: USB.
…. but USB is not exactly “open source”!
Even if the USB protocols is regulated by the respective consortium, the specifications are in the public domain.
If you are an hardware developer and wish to affix the USB logo on your product or want your vendor identifier, you must proceed with a non-trivial certification procedure, but those who don’t need to use the USB logo can do without it.
Moreover, as explained below, on YABA the USB is only one of the possible protocols, you can develop your boards using the I2C bus or high-speed LVDS lane that does not require any license or certifications.
With the latest versions (3.1) the USB bus/connector guarantees all the above features, the “alternative mode” allows the use of additional lanes for different protocols, on the YABA project we plan to use them for high-speed LVDS buses (such as EtherCAT® M- BUS) and I2C bus.
In order to allow those who wish to use the USB logo but do not want to take the road of certification, we plan to acquire the USB license for YABA so the developers who will use our bus interface modules will be able to affix the USB logo in their products, similar to how they can do it with other USB chips manufacturers.