Replacement:DEV-12076. The new Beaglebone Black is now available, go check it out! This page is for reference only.
The BeagleBone is a low-cost credit-card-sized Linux computer from BeagleBoard that connects with the Internet and runs software such as Android 4.0 and Ubuntu. It's smaller and lighter than their other boards like the BeagleBoard-xM and while it may not have quite the processing power that their large model does, the BeagleBone is perfect for physical computing and smaller embedded applications. On-chip Ethernet and access to low-level peripherals like analog-to-digital converters give the BeagleBone the upper hand in expansion.
With plenty of I/O and processing power for real-time analysis provided by the TI Sitara™ AM335x ARM® Cortex™-A8 processor, BeagleBone can be complemented with cape plug-in boards which augment BeagleBone’s functionality.They're called capes because Underdog is a beagle and he wears a cape. Makes sense, right?
At over 1.5 million Dhrystone operations per second and vector floating point arithmetic operations, BeagleBone is capable of not just interfacing to all of your robotics motor drivers, location or pressure sensors and 2D or 3D cameras, but also running OpenCV, OpenNI and other image collection and analysis software to recognize the objects around your robot and the gestures you might make to control it. Through HDMI, VGA or LCD expansion boards, it is capable of decoding and displaying multiple video formats utilizing a completely open source software stack and synchronizing playback over Ethernet or USB with other BeagleBoards to create massive video walls. If what you are into is building 3D printers, then BeagleBone has the extensive PWM capabilities, the on-chip Ethernet and the 3D rendering and manipulation capabilities all help you eliminate both your underpowered microcontroller-based controller board as well as that PC from your basement.
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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