UDOO is a single board computer that looks like it has all we need to start building things. It’s an embedded system powerful enough to control a robot equipped with sensors and actuators with the ingenious ability to perform autonomous actions. Or you can build an automated system connected to what we call Internet of Things. In other words, in the prototyping culture, UDOO is like a fish in the water that swims all day long and in any direction.
The UDOO board is a project launched in 2013 on the Kickstarter platform by a joint effort of SECO USA and Aidilab with the goal to raise a sum of $27,000 in 60 days. At the end of the campaign, they had 4,172 backers that pledged $641,614, which is much more than they expectations.
When you’re part of the maker’s culture, is good to have different options for the same product. Why? Because you have from where to choose, and you don’t have to use what you don’t need to use.
UDOO is available in three versions at three prices. If the cheapest version hasn’t SATA support or WiFi module, the most featured board have all you need to build robots or connect any project to the Internet of Things.
Dedicated ARM processor for GPIO pins
The GPIO headers of the mini-computer are the link between external components such as sensors, motors, LEDs, etc. and the controller. We don’t have to wonder that all the 76 fully available UDOO GPIO pins are controlled directly from the Linux OS since the board has native support for it.
For me, it’s clear that all engineers involved in the design process of the UDOO board have been thinking and innovation in order to have a flexible platform for a variety of applications.
All the UDOO pins can be controlled from both SAM3X microcontroller and the i.MX6 processor. Having a look over the pins from 22 to 53, all of these are compatible with Arduino DUE pinout and share the same application (not at the same time) between two processors.
3V3 is the new standard
Using a 5V prototyping board can work, but it can also be incompatible with low power electronics. The 5V is a symbol for the latest 30 year on electronics. The current trend in electronics is to have low power consumption and a small size for the device.
From Arduino switches to a large variety of components and sensors, the trend is to use 3.3V.
An alternative to ‘old’ electronics is an adaptor shield able to work on the 5V hardware. This is a promise from the UDOO team since 2013, which I still hope to have it soon.
Compatibility with Arduino
The compatibility with Arduino weighs more in the specifications of any computing platform. UDOO is compatible with Arduino DUE hardware such as shields, sensors and actuators. (Warning: UDOO is compatible only with 3.3V Arduino DUE shields. If you use shields with a higher voltage than 3.3V, you can damage the board.)
More than that, to save more time and benefit from unlimited resources of the Arduino community such as tutorials and guides, UDOO is fully compatible with Arduino sketches.
UDOO must boot from a Micro SD
Insert the memory card, turn on the board and start building robots and automated projects that can interact with people. It is simple, and probably if you work with a Raspberry Pi, you are familiar with this type of booting.
Internet of Things
The Internet is built to connect people. The Internet of Things is a concept built to connect things.
UDOO has an onboard WiFi module to connect people with things. This is a step ahead of its competitors because it allows wireless connectivity without additional components, and the module supports access point mode.
Remember that UDOO is a multiplatform
UDOO is a special board with notable specifications. It has a high flexibility environment because it allows the hackers and makers to explore all possible frontiers that come together with the Internet of Things concept.
Without the option to emulate any operating system, UDOO is featured enough to run Linux, Android or Arduino and Google ADK.
The prototyping board allows you to switch between any operating system in a few second by replacing the memory card and rebooting the system.
Active forum means great support
The Raspberry Pi is a great platform due to its features and a large community that keeps the users focused on projects and less on problems. The UDOO users are far away to have a large community such Pi. So far, we don’t have to compare the UDOO with Raspberry Pi from this perspective. Even so, the UDOO community should be mentioned here because it is active and offer a great support.
The price is not all
Single board computers such as Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black are cheap compared with UDOO. UDOO has a price range between $99 and $135 excluding taxes, VAT and shipping. The price discourages the use of UDOO, but thinking what we can build with this tiny board with better connectivity, powerful processor, and many GPIO pins, the price drops to the second place.
We’re living in an age of robots, Internet of Things and self-driving cars. So why not build the best do-it-yourself robot, gadget or autonomous vehicle that can guide itself around, able to communicate over the Internet and help others learn about how to build autonomous bots? You can build radically better and different things with UDOO.