Inspired by the CREATE USB board, the USB Bit Whacker is a cheap, fast, and out-of-control board that is a great way to learn about USB and make little things can talk easily to your Mac or PC.

The design is based on Microchip’s PIC18 USB chips. There are two flavors of the board easily available (from Sparkfun, anyway):

The kit form is slightly cheaper ($20 instead of $25) and has a bit more memory. Both look like fun.

Both are good alternatives to the Arduino.

There are other USB development boards available too.