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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
So, Edward Snowden has some time on his hands in Russia, and decided to develop a super crypto-protected daughterboard for the Beaglebone Black. OK, the first part’s not true: Edward Snowden doesn’t have time on his hands since he’s very busy looking for an apartment in Moscow.
However, Josh Datko, Sparkfun’s hacker-in-residence and a well-known and respected player in the Beaglebone Black universe, did have time and has actually made what is being called the CryptoCape, a daughterboard which adds a hardware security layer to your BBB.
What does it do beside run robots that write in disappearing ink? Well, for around USD $60.00 it includes many useful and appealing things in these days of 24/7 snoopery:
A trusted platform module (TPM) for RSA encryption/decryption and signing in the hardware
AES-128 encrypted EEPROM
ATSHA204 authentication chip that performs SHA-256 and HMAC-25
ATECC108 that performs the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA)
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.