The BeagleBone Blue Lets You Make Robots at Home

If you’re really interested in the BeagleBone products, you can take a look at this new single board computer – the BeagleBone Blue. Blue comes at a good time since the BeagleBone boards don’t get too much attention in a world of Zero ($5), C.H.I.P. ($9), and more.

BeagleBone claims to release an “affordable and complete educational robotics controller.” These sounds good, but we must wait at least until February for more details on the board (probably they will also announce the price), and for a review in May when they plan to release the board on the market. Probably the most important part for most users is the price, and like you, I’ll look forward to seeing if Blue will become a potential competitor for Pi and his crowd.

BeagleBone Blue is built around the BeagleBone open hardware computer, so if you’re familiar with Black or any other BeagleBone hardware, the Blue board may also seem familiar to you.

The specifications of Blue are really impressive. It comes with the 1-GHz ARM Cortex-8 processor, 512MB DDR3 RAM, and 4GB on-board flash storage. Also, the board features two 32-bit 200-MHz programmable real-time units (PRUs) and an on-board flash programmed with Linux distribution.

Another interesting section is the wide range of connectors and sensors that comes integrated into the board. First of all, Blue has the duo wireless connectivity – WiFi and Bluetooth. Other connection options are USB, GPS, DSM2 radio, UARTs, SPI, and I2C.

This board is designed for roboticists, so you need to control actuators and a wide range of sensors. The BeagleBone Blue is flexible for servos and DC motors. It has eight outputs for 6V servo motors, and four outputs for DC motors. The IMU and barometer sensors provide nine axes inertial sensing package including three axes for accelerometers, three axes for gyroscopes and three axes for magnetometers.

On the software side, the focus is on Linux distributions. There are many more distros for the Blue but for this feature BeagleBone provides information only for Debian and Ubuntu Snappy. It also has support for libraries and tools such as ROS, Ardupilot, Machinekit, Cloud9 IDE on Node.js and more.

BeagleBone Blue can be a very interesting alternative to Raspberry Pi – so in May we have to try it, experiment with it, and have fun with it!



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