Ever wonder what it would be like to have a device that is a cross between an Arduino and a Raspberry Pi (RPi)? Stop wondering because it is already here.
A new micro computer board has arrived called the Beagle Bone Black (BBB). It sports a 1 GHz CPU, GPU, 512 MB Ram, a Linux OS and more GPIO pins than Arduino or RPi combined. The BBB is squarely aimed at the gap between the Arduino and the RPi, and it is a great spot to be in. I had the pleasure of picking one up a few days ago, and I must say, I am very impressed. You see, I was trying to solve a problem where I needed web access to a microcontroller and direct control over the GPIO pins. With Arduino, you need to buy an Ethernet Shield which basically doubles expense and limits the number of pins available. With RPi, I get a nice Linux distro, but the GPIO pins on the RPi are scant and the the web stack on the RPi may looked like it was going to push the RPi too hard. The BBB provides an amazing balance between the simplicity of programming access to the GPIO pins, and a savvy Web capability without the need to a top heavy web services stack. How does the BBB achieve this? The secret is their use of the new and impressive language Node.js.
The BBB has become my new favourite microcontroller board. It’s clear that the Beagle Bone designers have put a lot of thought into the design and capabilities of the BBB. I believe that this board will become the new standard that other microcontroller projects will want to mimic, if not surpass. Linux power with Arduino simplicity, expandibility and super web smarts for just over $50 Canadian. What’s not to like?
Want to know more? Head on over to the Beagle Bone site here.