These days the DIY community is grouped by food. We have raspberries (Raspberry Pi), bananas (Banana Pi), and now we’re serving snickerdoodles (Snickerdoodle). Yes, we have to think first at food and then to use one of these single board computers. However, back to the technological side, the Raspberry Pi B+ users have now a new alternative called Snickerdoodle.
The board is not released yet. It can be pre-ordered starting at a price of US $55 plus some bucks for shipping. Nevertheless, to build some nice things with this Pi on steroids, you have to wait until March 2016. Back in 2015, these days the board waiting some support on the Crowd Supply network.
The designers claim that the cookie named board is “the smallest, baddest, most affordable platform for powering everything robots, drones, and computer vision.” Well, taking into consideration the specifications, I can say that I am impressed in a good way. But a great list of features cannot supply a large community, great support, and tons of projects for inspiration.
Reading the description of the board, I see upgrade options, baseboards, wireless control, real-time image and point cloud processing, programmable GPIO pins, Arduino shields compatibility, support for open-source platforms, and an ARM processor with FPGA blocks of gates so that you can program it according to your wishes. The list continues with other features that makes your work easy and lets you build complex robots and smart things.
Let’s take an overview of the GPIO pin headers
You have two options: one option with less power and GPIO pins, and an advanced version with more power and I/O pins. The basic version comes with a 667 MHz Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and a 430K gate FPGA. For this version, you have 154 I/O (100 customizable) and everything you need to get started.
If you want to pay more, you’ll have more. With an additional cost of $60, you can choose the upgraded version with 7020 SoC w/ heat sink able to provide 30% more power. Also, you will have 25 extra GPIO pins (179 GPIO pins in total) and three times more programmable blocks of gates.
In other words, the Snickerdoodle board lets you connect more sensors than the Raspberry Pi B+ for a much higher price.
What you can build with it
In a wireless world, we can control with this board a lot of intelligent things using only a smartphone or a tablet. Also, you can play games or build a wireless Ethernet router. But none of these can beat the self-navigating robots, drones and 3D computer vision systems. In general, you can build almost anything that you can build with Raspberry Pi. Just with less stress and easier considering the built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules.
The open-source support
I love the open-source systems and free stuff. The Snickerdoodle designers seem to know very well how things work and support free and open-source operating systems and libraries. The list includes Linux, ROS, FreeRTOS, ArduPilot, OpenCV, and several other frameworks and software.
The Snickerdoodle ecosystem
I like the compatibility with Arduino shields, but I don’t like that I have to use additional baseboards to build things. Even so, the idea is not bad, but the final price could rise more than more makers could support.
Putting aside the financial aspect, we have an array of baseboards to use the 0.1” pins, Arduino shields, communication, autopilot system, and an industrial SBC featured with all that the board can handle.
Taking into consideration all I said before, the basic version of the board looks quite attractive. The upgraded version is more than most of the makers can support, it’s too expensive for this niche.