For Your Robot-Building Needs, $45 BeagleBone Linux PC Goes on Sale
People do not realize it yet but the advent of open hardware, open interfaces and operating systems and cheap sensors will change everything over the next twenty years. Our world will be be techno rocked again, and robotics is just the tip of the iceberg.
The market for cheap single-board computers is becoming one of the most surprisingly competitive spaces in the tech industry. On the heels of the million-selling Raspberry Pi, a variety of companies and small groups started creating their own tiny computers for programmers and hobbyists.
Today we have a new entrant that may provide the best bang for the buck for many types of users. It’s called the BeagleBone Black and it’s the latest in the line of “Beagle” devices that first appeared in 2008, courtesy of Texas Instruments. On sale now for $45, BeagleBone Black sports a 1GHz Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor from Texas Instruments, up from the 720MHz processor used in the previous $90 BeagleBone released in 2011. (Edit: While the purchase link is live, the device may not be available until tomorrow morning. It will also be available at beagleboard.org.)
Beagle’s “open” hardware philosophy means all of the chips and designs are available to the public, so anyone with the right equipment and knowledge could make their own.
Using an ARMv7 processor instead of the Pi’s ARMv6 one, BeagleBone can run Ubuntu or other Linux distributions as well as Android. It also provides more inputs and outputs than the Pi for connecting to sensors and other devices needed to build robots and electronics projects. The BeagleBone Black has more I/O capability than an Arduino Uno, though not quite as much as the newer Arduino Due.