chipKIT is a great PIC32 based Arduino like development board designed by digilent. They have made quite a bunch of them since last time I have checked. Additionally they are taking care of numerous shields that allow quick and easy interfacing and developing cool things. Embedded-lab has been doing a nice chipKIT tutorial series. This time they are building a pulse meter using several building blocks – chipKIT Uno32, Basic I/O shield and Easy pulse sensor along with their Easy Pulse sensor board.
Everything plugs in nicely while leaving soldering iron cold. Pulse waveform is captured with on Analog input and displayed on I/O shield graphical LCD. Program also calculates Beats Per Minute (BPM) value.