A company by the name of ElecFreaks has come up with a great variation on the tried and trued protoboard that many of us work with for DIY and prototype electronics (LED drivers, Arduino based controllers, etc…), but tries to solve a lot of the shortcomings of what exists on the market today. Calling it the Flower Protoboard, ElecFreaks took a novel approach of shaping the solder pads like flowers (hence the name), which does a few things for you.
First, the design puts the pad edges closer together while still retaining the standard 0.1″ hole pitch, which makes life a lot easier when it comes to soldering small surface mount components. Second, the shape of the pad reduces the amount of copper around the hole in the center of the pad (making it still a great choice for through hole parts) to help reduce the amount of solder required to make “traces” from point to point, and also reduces the chance of actually breaking connections to other pads that you have already soldered. The end result is a board that is easier to work with, and less wasteful.
Currently, the boards are only available as Arduino Mega compatible shields, but hopefully more option become available in the near future. With the board being so large, and generally generic (save for the fact that it was designed to plug into an Arduino Mega), it could easily be cut and shaped to whatever size you needed.
ElecFreaks posted an interesting history of the design of the protoboard, showing the various design iterations, and what they learned through the whole process. It’s a worthwhile read for the electronics nerds amongst us.