The class uses an AVR32 microcontroller from Atmel, specifically, the UC3 type controller AT32UC3B1256, mounted on a small development board called copper, developed by StackFoundry.
Development tools are available from https://neuromorphs.net/nm/wiki/2010/usb10/AtmelAVR32 .
The copper board assembly is based on Daniel Fasnacht's SMD course in Telluride https://neuromorphs.net/nm/wiki/2010/smd10/VideosGuide.
To communicate with the copper USB board, we use Python http://python.org/download/ and libusb http://www.libusb.org/. See the python tutorial if you are a new user.