The Raspberry Pi is great, and is probably the best Linux development platform in its niche of makers and hackers. But dealing with physical devices such as sensors or servos is not the strongest point of the fruit-name board. A shortcut from a powerful Linux development board to a highly flexible embedded system is the RPiSoC. The RPiSoC is a hybrid between Raspberry Pi and Arduino, an embedded system designed as a standalone device, or as an extension board fully compatible with Raspberry Pi and with Arduino shields.
The RPiSoC is engineered to deal with the Raspberry Pi using a simple ribbon cable. The result of this combination is an astonishing embedded system with the power of Pi and the various interfaces of the RPiSoC. The 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller can handle 58 re-configurable GPIO pins (24 pins are PWM channels) and several other interfaces such as SPI, I2C, UART, I2S, CAN, and LIN 2.0.
How RPiSoC Extend the Functionality of the Raspberry Pi
The race for faster, more peripherals and features, it seems, is never-ending. The Raspberry Foundation had released on the market the Model B Plus (you can buy the Pi B Plus from here) with more GPIO pins and USB ports, Arduino together with BeagleBone prepares a single board computer with operating system – the Arduino Tre, while the HummingBoard makes us happy with a dual-core processor and a great support for Linux, Android, and several other operating systems.
With such a great range of powerful prototyping platforms, we’re pushed from the back to build much faster and more compound applications. How? With compatible shields, this is the simplest way, or combining electronics development platform such as RPiSoC with a single board computer.
As you may already know, the Raspberry Pi is a full Linux computer with the OS on an SD memory card and requires what other computers do, but it’s quite a bit poorly equipped for an interaction with physical devices. That’s why a place for innovation and electronics development platform such as RPiSoC is still high. The RPiSoC is engineered to provide RPi several features that expand the board into the world of microcontrollers, and on board peripherals and functionality that is PSoC specific.
Working together, the Raspberry Pi is now accessorized with PWM pins, Opamps, DSP, Pmod and high resolution DACs. More, you can attach and control several Arduino shields. The communication from RPi to the peripherals is in real time over UART, I2C, or SPI. From the development side, the RPiSoC engineers provide Python API to explore all functionality.
Dealing With Programming
The Python fans have at least one more reason to enjoy the RPiSoC. The development board allows you to build complex embedded applications exclusively using Python for control. Dealing with Python and use the API provided by the manufacturer for endless commands, controlling a servo motor or accessing the board through Internet is apparently a simple task.
More than that, the makers behind the RPiSoC promise us tons of documentations, tutorials and projects.
Additional to Python, any user can program the electronics development platform over USB using PSoC Creator. The Creator is a GUI-based design environment for Windows that let the users use graphics and build programs for embedded systems. The program provides graphical representation for a series of components and allows you to experiment application without using the physical board.
Should You Buy It?
Using only the Raspberry Pi in your homemade projects, at a moment you may run out of peripherals. There’s a good chance for you to have a nice-to-have embedded system for your Pi or as a stand-alone system to explore the microcontroller power for physical components.