Category Archives: microcomputers

BeagleBone Blue est arrivee! An easy, fast, full-featured robot board at last.

Finally! Bluetooth and Wifi! The Beaglebone.org foundation and developer/roboticist James Strawson officially announce the “blue” version of the Beaglebone (formerly Black). Besides its long-awaited on board wifi (no more dongles…whew) and bluetooth, the board is optimized and designed specifically to make building robots faster and easier. With its battery management, integrated outputs for multiple motors and servos, and inline sensors, it might very well blow past the Raspberry Pi3 as a go-to DIY option for entry-level roboticists.

Source: Meet BeagleBone® Blue. Robots. Fast. – Embedded Computing Design

 

Learn to Cook on the Beaglebone Black

Our new book, Beaglebone Black Cookbook, is finally published!

 

Written for inventors, makers, and budding engineers, the book contains over 60 easy-to-succeed recipes for making cool things with the Beaglebone Black, the popular Linux microcomputer.

 

2929OS_BeagleBone Black Cookbook_0

 

With dozens of how-tos, the book kicks off with basic steps for setting up and running the BeagleBone Black for the first time, from connecting the necessary hardware and using the command line with Linux commands to installing new software and controlling your system remotely. Following these recipes, more advanced examples take you through scripting, debugging, and working with software source files, eventually working with the Linux kernel.

 

Subsequently, you will learn how to exploit the board’s real-time functions, the Programmable Real-time Units, or PRUs. Next, we look at methods for using sound and video with the system before marching forward into an exploration of recipes for building Internet of Things projects. Finally, the book finishes with a dramatic arc into outer space, when you explore ways to build projects for tracking and monitoring satellites.

 

The book is now available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

Beaglebone Black enclosure

IMG_7745_BlueMax_BBB

We call it the “Blue Max” because it’s, well, blue. And for those of you who are cinephiles, you might recall the classic movie about World War One flying ace (played by George Peppard), The Blue Max, who was a rival to the Red Baron. Of course, there is a beagle reference here, namely Snoopy, who probably battled him in the skies with his Sopwith Camel doghouse…

 

OK. Perhaps the reference is a little obsure. And we don’t have Snoopy in the picture because my little boy only had Charlie Brown available for these pictures.

 

But we’re very happy with the look of the new enclosure we designed for the Beaglebone Black. Besides being sexy to look at, it’s eminently practical: PWR, Boot, and Reset buttons are accessible from the top layer. But the best thing of all? GPIOs are clearly labeled! So, no more futzing around with header pin diagrams when wiring up your board.

 

The Blue Max Beaglebone Black enclosure is available for purchase at the Tindie store.

IMG_7625_BlueMax_BBB IMG_7705_BlueMax_BBB IMG_7723_BlueMax_BBB  IMG_7789_BlueMax_BBB

 

Beagleboard X-15 Arrives at the Party

Wrapped, launched and ready for sale (not counting a 3-week lead time), the newest addition to TI’s canine family, the Beagleboard-X15 should excite geeks anxious for their next fix of small board computing platforms.

Beagleboard X15 microcomputer, top and bottom views

Beagleboard X15 microcomputer, top and bottom views

 

With great specs on the beast, the X15 looks to be an exciting piece of engineering:

  • Dual core ARM A-15 running @ 1.5 GHz, 2 GB of SDRAM, hardware acceleration for the graphics engine,
  • 157 pins
  • 4 GB eMMc solid state drive
  • Smallish form factor (4.2 in. x 4 in.)
  • 3x USB ports
  • Audio I/O (hooray!)
  • Camera and LCD expansion ports (another big hooray!)
  • Real time clock (hallelujah)

Meanwhile, Beagleboard.org emphatically says it’s not a replacement for the Beaglebone Black. Of course, how could it be since distributors are showing a price of USD $199.00 ($239.00 MSRP) vs. the Black’s $50.00ish dollars sticker?

 

Which begs the question: for whom exactly are they targeting this board? Perhaps the professional embedded crowd?  At this price, it’s certainly not for makers, neophytes, or students. Hmm. A bit confounding this business decision by the Beagleboard folks.

 

Smallest Arduino with Bluetooth LE and IMU

Femto-ize it! There’s no gender bias with the Femtoduino; it’s just a really small Arduino Leonardo clone.

Ho-hum, another clone you say? Not so. The Femtoduino packs on board Bluetooth (BLE), accelerometer, altimeter and a USB port into a 34.54 mm (1.36 inches) wide PCB. At USD $75.00 a pop, it’s obviously more than the price of an Arduino. Or any super-powered MPU, for that matter.  But with this kind of form factor, there’s no excuse for big ugly prototypes.

Smallest Arduino with Bluetooth LE + IMU – YouTube.

Smallest Arduino with Bluetooth LE + IMU – YouTube.

VoCore, The Tiny Internet Of Things Thing

An Indiegogo wifi-enabled IoT pearl:

With tiny Linux boards popping up like dandelions, it was only a matter of time before someone came out with a really tiny Linux board. This is it:  a tiny board less than an inch on each side with an 802.11n System on Chip running OpenWrt on Linux. The best part? You can pick one up for $20 USD.

20140519155058-vocore

VoCore, The Tiny Internet Of Things Thing.

Global Space High Altitude Balloon Challenge

A wonderful gallery of pix from the recently concluded (April) High-Altitude Balloon competition, with entrants from around the world, from young makers to university students to engineers to old DIYers.

Gallery — Global Space Balloon Challenge via Adafruit.